Unspoken Rivalry Between Band and Orchestra

By Hailey B.


Duxbury Public Schools is home to one of the strongest music programs in the state. However, it also holds a long-standing rivalry between Band and Orchestra Students. As DHS students return from the Disney trip, tensions are running high.

The names of these brave souls have been kept anonymous for the protection of their beliefs and their safety.

It is clear how the rivalry formed.

“Band kids are jealous orchestra kids don’t have to march in the [Memorial Day] parade,” stated an anonymous band kid.

“I’m jealous orchestra kids don’t have to do anything,” said another anonymous source from the band room, who referred to the various events and festivals one has to attend as a band student. Exclusively to DHS Dragon Flyer, she confirmed that band does more work outside of school. For example, Wind Ensemble had to participate in an exchange concert this past month.

Duxbury Music Groups sometimes win competitions or are given the opportunity to perform

The most heated rivalry is between String Ensemble and Wind Ensemble.

“I don’t know if there’s a rivalry, but there’s some tension because I feel like the groups are so different,” confessed an Anonymous first chair oboe player in the Wind Ensemble.

Ms. Noerenberg, band teacher, Mr. Tatarka, orchestra teacher, and Mr. Schmetterer, jack of all trades, deny a rivalry. “I think it is invented by the students,” expressed an anonymous teacher.

The two groups spend more time together than the others because of the field trips on which they travel. Four years ago, String Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, and Chamber Singers performed at Carnegie Hall in New York City. The two years after, they traveled to D.C and Boston. Just last week, all of the music groups in the high school traveled to Disney World for performances and workshops. The Florida weather isn’t the only thing that heats up the trip.

Most issues stem from Concert Performances, held at the Duxbury PAC.

Last year, Wind Ensemble famously played a huge chunk of “Rhapsody in Blue” with no breaks. Said Chamber Singer and inside source, “I wanted to die.” String Ensemble students were unsettled that the piece took longer than their entire orchestra set.\

“I definitely think that some groups play songs that are too long… people like the concerts to be short and sweet. But [Rhapsody in Blue] definitely was a good performance,” said a Chamber Singer who begged to keep her name private.

An anonymous orchestra teacher pointed out, “The [String Ensemble] played Thomas Tallis at some point, which was about seventeen minutes.”

A note written on the board in the Orchestra Room

On the other hand, orchestra usually plays unrecognizable sets. “I feel like orchestra just has this general pretty sound, but we never hear exciting pieces- which I’m sure is hard because there are only like four instruments,” said a student. At this year’s Holiday Ensemble concert, String Ensemble played “A Moment for Peace” by Brian Balmages. Audience Members had no idea why they chose the piece.

Band has a repertoire of more likable music. Every year Wind Ensemble wows the crowd with “Sleigh Ride” at the winter assembly. And in years passed, the Wind Ensemble plays last. “It’s rigged,” a chorus member said as she rolled her eyes.

“Wind ensemble always goes last. It’s not fair. The orchestra’s really good.” said a band member. Trouble in paradise?

This year, the String Ensemble made an attempted coup by playing “All I Want for Christmas is You”. It did not have the same effect.

Orchestra kids poke fun at Band Parties. After a concert, groups can celebrate with an in-class party. Band groups have a general rule of buying generic brand snacks. Orchestra students struggle to understand this.

“It’s cheaper”, defended a Symphonic flute player.

“The food is just A1,” gloated a senior and chamber orchestra officer. “In orchestra, we thoughtfully plan all of our parties. The food is always a big hit, whereas in a huge band, I think it’s harder to have that same quality.”

If this rivalry was a war, Chorus could be labeled as Switzerland. Somehow, the Chorus students are excluded from this tension.  “We’re our own thing,” said one of them.

At the head of this love-hate relationship is a lack of understanding.

After all, Band students learn how to play their instruments in flat keys, while string players play in a sharp key.

Maybe the KEY to moving forward is an appreciation for differences.


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