Students’ Enthusiasm Rejuvenates Program

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Posted Tue, Mar 1, 2016

Accattivante String Quartet

Accattivante String Quartet [Photo: Katherine Doak.]

THORNTON, Colo. – Good teachers leave a lasting impression, but great teachers leave a legacy and that’s exactly what Sebastian Adams is looking to do.

In his first three years teaching for Thornton High School, Adams has doubled the number of students in band, and is working toward doing the same for the orchestra. This amount of growth needs an equal amount of support, which is why on Feb. 27, the Thornton High School Instrumental Music Program held a pancake breakfast fundraiser at Applebee’s. From performances to serving, the instrumental musicians eagerly volunteered to be involved as much as possible in the experience.

This is just one example of how dedicated these teenagers are to bringing new life to the instrumental music program.

“I definitely want to see the band grow,” said Courtney Caudill, a junior at Thornton High School.

Thornton High School Instrumental Music Director Sebastian Adams (left) and Principal Jennifer Skrobela.

Thornton High School Instrumental Music Director Sebastian Adams (left) and Principal Jennifer Skrobela[Photo: Rhiannon Goodrich.]

Caudill plays clarinet for one of the jazz bands and in a student-run wind ensemble called The Mile High Chamber Winds. She said she most enjoys the group learning environment of The Mile High Chamber Winds, though her favorite part of band is probably the friendships. This passion is shared amongst many of the instrumental musicians including Thornton High School marching band Drum Major Olivia Noakes.

Noakes’ favorite part of leading the marching band is being able to see individual growth in others, especially when they’re starting from the ground up.

“Being able to see that excitement in others that I have is really incredible,” Noakes said. Noakes began playing the piano in second grade, but decided in sixth grade to begin an instrument she could play more socially, so she picked up the flute. Since then Noakes has also begun playing the euphonium, a brass horn which closely resembles a baritone.

Unlike Noakes, the members of the student-run Accattivante String Quartet stick to one instrument each, but boy do they live up to their name and captivate their audience.

Tianna Escobedo, a senior, plays viola; Brittney Geurink, a junior, plays cello; Luis Gallegos, a junior, plays first violin; and Max Wilkins, a junior, plays second violin. The four formed the quartet for fun three years ago after a band performance and were first contacted to perform at an Academic Award Ceremony.

Practice time has been hard to come by recently, with all four students at least partially enrolled in the International Baccalaureate program at Thornton High School.

“We found a way to keep it going,” in spite of school getting in the way, Geurink said.

Escobedo added, “We practice every chance we get.”

Though they still find time to socialize and hang out, as most high school students do.

“In a six hour rehearsal, it would be one to two hours of actual work,” Gallegos said.

These students do not feel as though they’ve accomplished all of this alone, they attribute much of their success to Adams’ enthusiasm for the program and for the success of the students.

“Since Mr. Adams has taken over the instrumental music program, he’s done nothing but good,” Wilkins said. “He just really gets on the students’ level.”

See the Accattivante String Quartet perform for the Easter Sunday masses at Saints Peter and Paul Catholic Church in Wheat Ridge at 7 a.m., 9 a.m., and 11 a.m.

 

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About Rhiannon Goodrich

Rhiannon Goodrich is a Denver-area journalist and freelance writer

View all posts by Rhiannon Goodrich

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