A chamber of strings

On a quiet winter morning in December, a half-hour before the school day begins, 11 students willingly gather in the darkness of the Performing Arts Center to create magic. Musical magic and, in this case, Chamber String magic.


At the beginning of the school year, Mr. Robert Shaubach, orchestra director, decided to form a small ensemble of talented musicians. All with the simple purpose of creating music. 
Although Mr. Shaubach directs the ensemble, the musicians
contribute much to the rehearsal process

“We wanted to have a group like the Madrigals, except for orchestra,” Mr. Shaubach states.

And so, after seat assignment auditions for concert orchestra were held, Shaubach invited 11 students on board to pioneer the L-S Chamber Strings in October.


The Chamber Strings’ members are: Melissa Long, Lauren Torres, Lauren Mast, Kelly Harnish, Ivy McComsey, Hannah Hess, Nathan Tobler, Sarah Mills, Mackenzie Malcolm, Esther Landis, and Kristen Mast. In total, the instrument breakdown is six violins, two violas, two celli, and a string bass.

Chamber Strings is different than concert orchestra, members report. 

“It is closer knit and we can discuss [music and even topics beyond that],” says Ivy McComsey, a freshman.

So besides the size, what really makes this group different from the concert orchestra? Many members chimed in that, “We sight read a lot.” Sight reading is not an easy skill. It takes vulnerability within the small semi-circle of musicians to play boldly each rehearsal. 

In addition to sight reading, the musicians are also more in control of the music they make together. While Mr. Shaubach is there to direct, he also, immediately after playing through a song, asked the musicians, “Is there anything you guys want to rehearse?” In short, all 11 members contribute to the music that later becomes the final product.
The inaugural ensemble of the Pioneer Chamber Strings
After a good number of Tuesday morning rehearsals, the Chamber Strings began performing.  In the month of December, the ensemble performed for the Southern Lancaster Chamber of Commerce and the School Board Reorganization dinner. The Chamber Strings plan to perform at the High School Holiday program at the school on Friday. The ensemble’s repertoire consists of four Christmas songs: Greensleeves, Highland Holiday, For Unto Us, and We Three Kings.

In the end, though their size is small, their sound is anything but. With just 11 string players filling the stillness of the auditorium with a section of "We Three Kings", a mellifluous sound emerged as a small group of musicians poured emotion into something they loved. Even amidst all the hustle and bustle of Christmas, they find contentment in something so simple. And that is magical.

--Mackenzie Miller, LSNews.org Senior Staff Writer

Edited: BP

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