Orchestra continues to grow, despite not having a room

The Cedar Shoals orchestra program has grown since Mrs. Rebecca Floyd became the teacher five years ago, but there is one apparent problem: the orchestra still doesn’t have its own room, currently sharing space with the band and storing instruments in the chorus room.

Mrs. Floyd tries to make the best of the situation, but problems arise.

“I’m not mad about not having room. Although, there are some practical problems. The main problem that arises is when we have Fine Arts Night,” said Floyd.

On nights like Fine Arts Night, it is difficult for orchestra to find a time to rehearse when band and chorus have to rehearse as well.

“This year we set it up so that orchestra and band would be in the band room to warm up. We staggered the time, so when orchestra was warming up, the band students were sent to the theater to watch the performances. It took a lot of planning but it worked out,” said Dr. Zandra Bell-McRoy, fine arts department chair.

Although orchestra was able to warm up, there were some problems.

“It was kind of chaotic during Fine Arts Night. There was band stuff out like the percussion, and we were kind of cramped when we were warming up. There were also students coming in and out. I did see some of the band students leave the band room to let us warm up though,” said Anna Simms, 9th grade.

“I’m just glad Dr. Bell came in and corrected band students by telling them to step outside the band room. Everything was solved at the end though,” said David Tate, 10th grade.

Another problem that students mentioned was setting up chairs. 3rd period orchestra has to set up chairs for the next band class.

“I’m kind of irritated that we have to set up chairs for a high school class that acts like they’re incapable of setting up their own chairs,” said Tate.

“A problem that I personally don’t like is that we have to set up chairs. It’s annoying that we have to do it for another class,” said Luis Garcia-Burgos, 10th grade.

Floyd believes that asking her students to set up the chairs for the band teaches them an important lesson.

“Our class sets up chairs differently from band. That’s why we go ahead and set up the chairs for her. I know some students were grumpy about setting up chairs last year. One difference I noticed is that the band kids kind of take orders. If Dr. Bell tells them to stack up the chairs, they’ll do it. I feel like this teaches the students to follow directions and be good peers by setting up the chairs,” said Floyd.

The lack of her own space also creates classroom management issues for Floyd. Toward the end of the period, Mrs. Floyd has to carefully watch the time. If she dismisses the students too early to put away their instruments in the chorus room, it could cause a distraction to chorus. If she dismisses the student later, they could be tardy to class.

“I always have to be mindful of the time I tell students to pack up. I don’t want to cause a distraction to the chorus class. I think that this causes us to lose some time at the end of class,” said Floyd.  

Chorus Director Mrs. Kathryn Pierce understands the problems and tries to work cooperatively with Floyd to minimize the distractions.

“Sometimes we have students who are coming in to grab their instrument because they’re late. Sometimes the orchestra will come in at the end of class to put away their instruments while chorus is still rehearsing. This is definitely a distraction to chorus. However, Mrs. Floyd and I are always working together to make sure there isn’t any big problems,” said Pierce.

Orchestra has to move their instruments to the band room and back to the chorus room everyday. Mrs. Floyd also has to move shoulder rests, tuners, and other things that orchestra needs for class.

Students moving their instruments from the band room to the chorus room.

“I wish the band room had more storage. That way orchestra could store their instruments in the band room so they won’t have to go back and forth everyday,” said Dr. Bell.

Tate also worries about the security of the instruments.

“Yes, the door is locked but there is a possibility that it is not locked. In the morning when students want to drop off their instrument the door is most of the time locked. This causes students to leave their instruments outside the chorus room, where it could easily be taken,” said Tate.

Ultimately, Mrs. Floyd believes that students have dealt well with not having a room. What she wants is for people to be more aware of the orchestra program at Cedar.

“I think that the room mainly kind of hurts our feelings. Students don’t feel good about not having a room. However, by making more people aware of orchestra through our performances and promoting Cedar orchestra with the t-shirts and hoodies, we make people aware. We can deal with the problems that not having a room causes. What I think we should focus on now, is making more people aware of the orchestra program at Cedar,” said Floyd.