Something new is happening to Killeen – a youth orchestra.
This orchestra is sponsored by New Horizon Music Studio, 1205 E. Central Texas Expressway in Killeen. James Clarkson, owner of New Horizon, is organizing the business to meet a need for students who otherwise would have no outlet for their game.
Currently, there is an orchestral program at Harker Heights High School, but not at Killeen Ellison, Shoemaker, or Killeen High School. Students participating in college orchestral programs at Union Grove, Nolan Middle School, Liberty Hill, and Eastern Hills must obtain school district approval to attend Harker Heights High School in order to play in the orchestra, and it is the responsibility of the parents to transport them to and from the school.
As a result, many of these students may not continue to play their instruments in high school.
Clarkson said it has acquired stringed instruments that will be made available to students who need them. The instruments were donated by Susan Pascale of Pasadena, California. He made a trip to California in June to retrieve the instruments.
Pascale contacted Clarkson in March to procure the instruments after announcing her retirement as director of the Los Angeles Area Youth Orchestra.
The cost of participation in the orchestra is $ 65 per month. For those who can pay for the entire semester, the cost is $ 245. Mr. Clarkson is also in the process of creating a scholarship fund for students who cannot afford tuition. Clarkson said he didn’t want the cost to bar students from participating in the set.
“As long as the student can get to the rehearsals, they’re good to go,” he said.
Clarkson said the program will begin with auditions in early September.
Rehearsals will be held in the Liberty Hill Middle School Orchestra Hall on Tuesdays from 6 to 7:30 p.m. Additional sections may be held on Thursdays.
Clarkson began teaching strings at Liberty Hills and Eastern Hills Colleges in 2005. He recently left his position as Assistant String Teacher at Harker Heights High School to found New Horizon Music Studio.
Clarkson said one of his goals is to take the youth orchestra to New York in 2023 to perform at Carnegie Hall. Its most immediate goal is to create a unique musical experience for students.
“I have to create something different,” Clarkson said. “The experience cannot replicate the experience of their school orchestra.”