Fairfax Chamber Players Teacher Orchestra to Perform May 21

School News
May 15, 2019

The Fairfax Chamber Players, an orchestra comprised of FCPS orchestra and band directors, will present a free concert at Lanier Middle on Tuesday, May 21, at 7 p.m., performing works by Dvorak, Haydn, Rosauro, and Smetana.  The orchestra started seven years ago when Michelle Keenan, an elementary strings teacher, asked a colleague (Katie LaBrie) if she’d be interested in co-directing a string orchestra with Fairfax County orchestra directors.  Over the years, the participants have discussed instructional ideas, repertoire that students especially enjoyed, strategies for score study, and performance techniques.  The group now includes woodwinds, brass, and percussion—with each musician being a Fairfax County orchestra, band, or general music teacher. During their Tuesday evening rehearsals, they have enjoyed talking shop, fine-tuning their playing skills, and making music with their colleagues. In the words of violinist Joe Sipzner, “The Fairfax Chamber Players is a profound opportunity for FCPS teachers to make music together.  It helps remind us of our basic love of music, and what made us practice our instruments in the first place many years ago.  There is nothing like the comradery of a musical ensemble working towards a public performance.” Currently, the Fairfax Chamber Players is directed by Max Oppenheimer (violist and director of the Oakton High orchestras) and Diana Chou (cellist and strings teacher at Sangster Elementary and White Oaks Elementary).  Chou organized a concerto competition for students; in the fall, she sent out a list of requirements for hopeful soloists.  Competitors had to submit a video of themselves playing one movement of a concerto and answer questions about their background:  instrument, school, teacher, current involvement, and musical goals.  The videos were reviewed by a panel of judges and five were selected for a live audition in January.  Of the five, two contestants were chosen to rehearse and perform with the orchestra at the concert on May 21.  The winners are Joshua Park, a 13-year-old Fairfax percussionist on marimba, and Benjamin D’Haiti, a 16-year-old trumpeter who lives in Oakton, performing the Haydn Trumpet Concerto.  Contact Ruth Donahue at 703-964-7654 or rcdonahue@fcps.edu.