High school revives symphony

By JENELLE JOHNSON
Family Living Editor

Register/Jenelle Johnson
Skylar Strickler and Alexa Fawson are two of 10 students enrolled in Iola High School’s stringed ensemble class. This school year is the first in nearly 40 years that IHS has provided a class for students interested in play the violin, viola, cello and bass.

It has been nearly 40 years since Iola High School students have had the opportunity to learn to play stringed instruments.
This year, a smaller version of a symphony is being organized by music instructor Greta Adams.
The idea started with violin lessons being offered during the open seminar block in students’ schedules. Ten students signed up immediately.
“I was amazed at how many students wanted to take the class,” said Adams.
In order to accommodate the class, Adams omitted one of her choir classes to provide a time for the stringed ensemble.
Adams began her musical journey in the third grade when she began cello lessons. Although she is vocal music instructor for IHS, she has kept up her avocation as a cellist.
Several of the students come to the class with prior experience having taken private violin lessons for a number of years. With the formation of the class, they are able to compete in Kansas State High School Activity Association events.
“It fills me with joy to see how my students are progressing. I’ve even had some ask if they could take an instrument home to practice,” she said.
Unfortunately the instruments, unless owned by the student, have to remain at the Bowlus.
The school district doesn’t have any wiggle room in its budget to purchase stringed instruments for the students. Several local citizens have been gracious enough to loan their violins, violas, cellos and string bass for the students’ use.
The teachers are now looking to area residents who would be willing to donate for a tax deduction their stringed instruments to help the fledgling string class get off the ground and be sustained for years to come, said Adams.
The stringed ensemble will perform with the Iola Area Symphony Orchestra at its 3 p.m. Nov. 15 performance at the Bowlus Fine Arts Center. The ensemble will also perform during the winter program in December at the Bowlus.