The students of ZCHS are no strangers to possessing musical talent. Our bands and show choirs put on professional-grade concerts, and individual students have started their own musical careers. But, outside of school, musical students are finding other opportunities than just the ones provided at school. For nearly 30 years, the Indianapolis Symphony Orchestra has hosted “Side-by-Side”, an opportunity for orchestra students to play alongside professional musicians.
“This experience has helped me as a musician,” said Sheridan Eggers, sophomore. “I get to make connections with other musicians my age and professionals alike.”
Eggers, who participated last year, is third chair cello for this year’s concert. But, not everyone participating is a Side-by-Side veteran.
“I heard about [Side-by-Side] from people who were in it last year,” said Sarah Richardson, junior. “It’s a great experience. You get the chance to play more advanced music alongside professional musicians.”
Besides the opportunity to play alongside professional musicians, participants in the Side-by-Side program are also gaining valuable lessons about the music industry. Specifically, auditioning.
“We arrived at Hilbert Circle Theatre,” said Eggers. “We waited in the musician’s lounge and tuned our instruments. From there, we were called down to warm up for 10 minutes, and then we were ready for the audition. An ISO member-Austin Huntington, in my case-watched the audition and gave us feedback.”
For students like Richardson and Eggers, both of which are interested in pursuing a career in music, experiences like this can be life-changing.
“It showed me a possible career path I could pursue in music,” Eggers said. “It’s always good to receive advice from the coaches before I go to college.”
The repertoire for this year’s Side-by-Side concert includes “Symphonic Dances” by Russian composer Sergei Rachmaninoff and “En Saga” by Finnish composer Jean Sibelius. Both Eggers and Richardson admit that the music is challenging, but that it is fun to learn and rewarding to play. However, because of the challenging music, a heavy number of rehearsals are needed to ensure that the students can perform to the best of their ability. Once a week, participants meet at Hilbert Circle Theater in Downtown Indianapolis for rehearsal from 4:30 to 6:30.
Despite the loaded schedule on top of schoolwork, Richardson and Eggers wouldn’t change anything.
“I’m just so passionate about Side-by-Side,” Eggers said. “It’s been an honor to have been selected to perform alongside these musicians the past two seasons.”