Young ALHS String Orchestra Earns 'Superior' Rating
Orchestra is under the direction of Dawn Kulikowski.
The Avon Lake High School String Orchestra earned its first Superior Rating at the OMEA (Ohio Music Educators Association) State Contest at the end of February, a notable achievement for a fairly young orchestra program surrounded by a district of seasoned musical programs.
The orchestra is under the direction of Dawn Kulikowski.
Kulikowski was hired by the district in 2006 when the orchestra program was still extracurricular. At the time, students in grades 7 – 12 practiced before and after school.
“Now orchestra is a class during the school day at all grade levels,” Kulikowksi, who currently teaches fifth and eighth-grade and high school orchestra. “Every day I travel between Troy, Learwood, and the high school and I love it.”
Currently, there are 48 students in the orchestra. Kulikowksi expects that number to increase to 60 in the next school year.
“When I started seven years ago, there were only about 12 students in the group, so seeing the program grow so much in a fairly short time has been so exciting,” she said.
The orchestra program was started in 2002 by Rebecca Bain with a grant from the Avon Lake City Schools Foundation. It was open to students in grades 5-8, meeting before school. Several years later the high school orchestra program was started.
This year marked the orchestra’s second year to the OMEA State Orchestra Contest for the ALHS String Orchestra.
“We performed in class C and received a II (excellent) rating,” Kulikowski said. “This was our second trip and we received a I, also in class C. It's been a goal of mine for many years to take a group to contest, and last year I thought the students were ready.”
Getting to the state contest was a goal, but earning a Superior rating was the icing on the cake.
“I couldn't be happier about our rating,” Kulikowski said. “I was thrilled with how the students performed that day and regardless of the rating, I was already so proud of them. Then to receive a superior rating was like the icing on the cake. We also received a ‘I’ for the sight reading portion of the event, which we worked hard all year to prepare for and is very difficult.”
Avon Lake Schools music instructor Mike Lisi said the rating was a considerable achievement for the program and district.
“This is a huge thing for our fairly young orchestra program,” Lisi, who sits on the OMEA Adjudicated Events, said.
Harry Pfingsten, the former director of bands at Avon Lake High School was one of the judges.