Tracking school access to orchestras in one California county

Posted on: June 16, 2016

In Friday’s (6/10) Ventura County Star (Calif.), Jean Moore writes that in California’s Ventura County, “Six local school districts have strings programs in at least one of their high schools, most of them on the more affluent east end of the county. Three local districts have none…. The districts that already have programs … are Conejo Valley, Las Virgenes, Moorpark, Simi Valley, Ojai and Ventura. The Fillmore and Santa Paula districts don’t have orchestras in their high schools.… High school strings programs need two things to thrive: adequate funding and a steady stream of students coming in from middle school programs. Conejo Valley has both…. But the district has another key source of funding—parents,” who, says Anna Sobrino, orchestra director at Thousand Oaks High School, are “ ‘helping to pay for instruments, outside trips.’ … Oak Park will start its strings program this fall with 16 students.… Moorpark … expanded its strings program from the middle schools to the high school in 2010. At first, Moorpark High incorporated a string section into its wind symphony. Then, as more students arrived already playing a string instrument, Moorpark created a separate strings orchestra, said music director John Theisen. ‘That’s the model of success around the country,’ Theisen said.”

Posted June 16, 2016

Pictured: Music teacher Anna Sobrino leads the Thousand Oaks High School chamber orchestra in rehearsal. Photo by Anthony Plascencia / Ventura County Star