Warsaw Orchestra Program Sounds Off at School Meeting

Orchestra is a growing program at Warsaw Community Schools that could really benefit from a little more support from the school corporation, the board heard Monday.
Violinists Analiese Helms and James Chan presented on the orchestra program after welcoming everyone to the meeting with a sampling of their repertoire, including pop pieces like the theme to the “Pirates of the Caribbean” series.
They said the program has grown to about 140 players districtwide this year, double the participation four years ago. It’s also highly decorated, winning multiple gold medals for solo and ensemble performances in local and regional Indiana State School Music Association meets.
Helms herself has gold medals for violin solo and Mozart trio, as does Chan. The program has other wins to its name including a Battle of the Bands title.
Membership has grown enough that another director could be added, the two players said, allowing one to focus on the high school and the other on the middle and elementary schools that participate. They said the school also could better protect and preserve the program’s $77,000 worth of instruments, noting that five basses have fallen into disrepair at a $7,000 loss.
They also suggested a few ways the corporation could promote the program, such as participating in First Friday or Symphony of the Lakes, and collaborate with other schools, such as the internationally recognized Indiana University Jacobs School of Music.
Also Monday, the board:
• Heard that the Warsaw Community High School Student Council’s fundraiser for Riley Hospital for Children raised $6,822.
• Accepted donations and grants including a $245,000 Math Science partnership grant for teacher in-service; a $125,000 Early Literacy Grant to be split among the elementary schools; and a $10,000 donation to the high school choral department from a former student.
• Recognized the boys basketball team for earning Class 4A regional champion status this season; and student Audrey Rich for receiving a Lilly Scholarship from the Kosciusko County Community Foundation this year.