The Williamsport Area High School continues with its renovation project, which includes a new orchestra room. For the past 23 years, the orchestra studio has been placed on the stage in the auditorium and the students have not had a regular space to practice.
"We've never had a space to call our own," Matthew Radspinner, orchestra director, said.
When the auditorium stage is needed for concerts, musicals, holidays, dance companies and other productions, the orchestra students lose their practice space, or they have to set up all their equipment and take it down before and after they practice every day. This takes away a lot a valuable instructional and planning time away from the students and Radspinner.
KRISTEN WRIGHT/ Sun-Gazette
Williamsport Area High School orchestra students have practiced on the stage in the auditorium for the past 23 years, as shown above, due to the lack of an orchestra studio. Soon, the students will be able to practice in a space of their own, following the completion of a renovation project now in progress at the school, which includes a new orchestra room.
With the new renovations, the orchestra studio will be placed where the former band room was. The band room has been moved to a newly remodeled room where the former Black Box Theatre use to be, and the Black Box Theatre has moved to a new location in the T-Wing of the school.
New storages space has been included with the renovations to provide more security for the valuable instruments and equipment.
In 2005 the Williamsport Area School District received an anonymous gift of $100,000. Over the past nine years that gift has turned into about $122,000 from the interest earned on it, Greg Hayes, director of public relations, said.
The gift is being used to fund the much needed orchestra room for the 150 students involved in the orchestra program.
"The donation helped to rework the entire music and drama department locations," Hayes said.
The orchestra studio is scheduled to be completed this coming fall, but Radspinner has been told that he may be able to move in his equipment sometime this summer.
"We will literally gain hours of a year, days even, of rehearsal time from time lost having to tear down and set up," Radspinner said.
After years of waiting the orchestra students will soon have a place to call their own.
"The orchestra is state-wide recognized as one of the best in the state, yet we don't have a space," said Radspinner, "It is really great that we are getting a space, its almost like something we have earned."