In Part I and Part II, I examined the circumstances under which the Richmond County Orchestra (RCO) was expanded with the addition of a Chamber Orchestra, comprised of the top 20 students in the program. In my own voice, I discussed how it was conceived by Trent Henderson and Philip Rhodes and how they, along with the current Symphony Orchestra Director Amy Ellington, shaped the program over the years. Now I will step aside and allow the members of the orchestra themselves to explain how being a part of it made a difference, if any, in their lives after high school. In a sort of round-table discussion (thank goodness for the internet, as these young adults and I cover at least three cities in two states), I asked them to be completely honest with me about their experiences. On a personal note, I was thrilled to hear from these former students of mine and am delighted to share their observations with you. Read the rest of this entry »

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