Changing Tune: Orchestra 2016


Holly Murphy

Bop. Tap. Bop. Tap. Another day, another cycle of metronomes and Mr. Keda’s fingers tapping to the beat of the orchestra. Another sigh. Another blood rush. Another hour drilling the same few lines and another student gone. This year was unlike no other. 

Jonathan Lane had retired, and Adam Keda was establishing his role as the new teacher. After a few had dropped orchestra, the rest were moving on. While in the past Lane held higher expectations for the students, Keda understood that they were still learning and were not going to be perfect. What kept the orchestra team together was their passion for music, and their unwillingness to give up when the game plan flipped entirely on them. 

The concerts hadn’t seemed the same as previous years. Even junior Dante Stokes admitted that the spark he once saw was gone. The question was why. Seniors Yashi Wang and Ben Robinson agreed that something was off this year, but whether it was the new teacher or the students themselves was debatable. 

“In the first place, we already had a small class and also people have left,” Wang said. “We took a double hit.”  

According to Wang, the orchestra spent the last few years in the class of 2016’s shadow. With a new teacher and the loss of their leaders, the musicians struggled with entering their performances confident and prepared. 

“Every year we do have our weaknesses but we’re always able to overcome it and play college level music,” Stokes said. “This year it seems like not only are we playing easier music but we can’t complete that easy music on even a high school level in my opinion.”

The seniors were always presumed the leaders, but with a class of 12, some juniors were filling the gaps, and some gaps were left unfilled. The orchestra worked on adapting to the more “play by the books” method Keda used, but when their concert’s rolled along, Lane’s loss of presence as a conductor was still palpable.  

Although the orchestra lost a strong conductor, they gained a teacher who walked them through the music every step of the way, even if some wished he didn’t. 

It was a process. The spark wasn’t going to appear after just a few pep talks, but Keda had years to build up to the legacy that Lane created, and only after a few months, student’s had faith that he would.