Holaway brings love of music to her young Lorain County students

 

BY MICHELE MURPHY

WESTSHORE – Katie Holaway remembers going to her first Cleveland Orchestra concert and being “entranced” by the sounds of the ensemble. “I could not take my eyes off of the string section,” claims the Lakewood native.

She enrolled in Lakewood Public School’s instrumental music program in fifth grade, and has been playing music ever since. This passion led her to major in cello performance in college, earning bachelor’s and master’s degrees. Then she took it a step further and earned a second master’s degree in teaching in order to teach music to young students.

She has just joined the staff of Northern Ohio Youth Orchestra (NOYO), located in Oberlin. “I am very excited to be joining the NOYO staff this fall as the conductor of Amati Strings,” says Holaway.

In addition, she teaches orchestra for the Avon Lake City Schools, working with students in fifth and sixth grades at Troy Intermediate School and seventh graders at Learwood Middle School.

Holaway explains that NOYO’s Amati Strings is one of the organization’s newer ensembles and is open to students primarily in grades four through six. She says most students have been playing an instrument for just a short time, often alone, so her goal is to work with students on musicianship skills while reinforcing playing technique. She adds, “We will be playing a lot of fun and interesting ensemble music as well,” because participating in an ensemble adds “a whole new dimension to their musical studies.”

While Holaway started with cello, she has learned to play all orchestral string instruments – violin, viola, and even bass. She says she believes it is necessary to be able to play and demonstrate each of the string instruments when working with beginning musicians. “When I am in front of the classroom, most of the time I play the violin. It is easier to walk around the classroom with a violin, rather than a cello!” she quips.

On NOYO staff with Holaway is Avon Local School’s Peggie Willett who directs the district’s elementary and middle school orchestras. Willett is conductor for NOYO’s Sinfonietta Strings, a strings-only ensemble for intermediate-level musicians primarily in grades six to nine. She also directs Summer Symphony, a weeklong day camp for intermediate-level string players primarily from grades four to nine.

Spaces for Summer Symphony, running in early August, are still available. In addition, NOYO is holding auditions for its 2017-18 season. Auditions, which are a requirement of participating in most NOYO programs, will be held Thurs., Aug. 3, from noon-4 p.m. in the orchestral room at Elyria High School and on Sat., Aug 26, from noon-4 p.m. at the Oberlin Conservatory, (see related story “Auditions.”) NOYO accepts student from across Lorain County and the western suburbs of Cuyahoga County

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