Mpls. School Creates Orchestra for 4th and 5th Graders
Students at a Minneapolis Elementary School now have the option to take orchestra.
Lyndale Elementary School already had a band program, but this year fourth and fifth graders can take orchestra.
Fifth grader Corinne Sidebottom plays the fiddle. Her song of choice is the well known folk song, "Turkey in the Straw." She's been playing since second grade. "I really like to do it," she said. Already a band member at her school, she now has a chance to play in the orchestra.
Bill Scripps is Lyndale Community Elementary's band teacher. He said he noticed a number of students interested in orchestra music, so he decided it was time to start one. "Between fourth and fifth grade we have about 150 students. And about 125 of them signed-up."
Scripps brought the idea to Principal Renee James. She made it a priority to find the funding to start the orchestra and buy instruments. Some of the money came from positions that were not filled after school workers either retired or changed jobs.
"The initial cost was about $12,000 for instruments and then we also had to add about $8,700 to increase time for the band director," James said.
Scripps says it was a smart buy. Along with the other instruments they already own, they now have 27 string instruments. She says with three other students, including Sidebottom, own their own violins, so they're starting out with a string group of 30.
Scripps says, it's a win-win for the students. They get to open their minds to new music and learn how to play an instrument.
5 EYEWITNESS NEWS checked in with a few schools and learned having an orchestra varies depending on the district.
St. Paul only offers orchestra in three out of 40 of its elementary schools during the day, while five others have it after school.
Rosemount-Apple Valley-Eagan has no orchestra, but does have band. Lakeville has no orchestra program. Minnetonka offers orchestra in grades fourth through twelfth.