What to know for incoming families to the GHS Orchestra Program
Welcome to our new families to the Garfield Orchestra program! You and your musician student are joining a long history of music excellence as part of the Garfield Music Program, and we are very excited to welcome you all. Last year marked a transition year for Garfield Orchestra as we pivoted from a challenging COVID affected year to one where we welcomed students back into school and limited live in-person performances and community and regional events. As we look forward to the 2022-23 school year, we anticipate a full return of the orchestra program and events we have long held. Staying informed will be key so please be sure to go to provide your contact information in addition to following us on Facebook and Instagram. Please review the introductory information as we warmly welcome you to the Garfield Orchestra program and community!
Our Conductor – Bryan Kolk
Bryan Kolk is a music educator, conductor, and bassist from Michigan. He received a Bachelor of Music Education and Master in Double Bass performance from the University of Michigan. After graduating he moved to Seattle where he served as Assistant Conductor to the Everett and Bainbridge Island Youth Symphonies, taught orchestra in the Lake Washington School District, performed as principal bass of the Northwest Symphony and the Seattle Metropolitan Chamber Orchestra, coached the Seattle Youth Symphony Orchestras and the Endangered Instrument Program, directed the JazzEd Introductory Ensemble, and managed the international Marrowstone Music Festival.
Garfield has a long and nationally recognized music program celebrated through the years. In 1985 under the leadership of Marcus Tsutakawa, Garfield Orchestra was born with just 19 students. 35+ years later, Bryan Kolk leads the Garfield Orchestra program with more than 150+ students and with 3 high caliber performance ensembles representing a diverse student population celebrating the rich history of music in central Seattle.
|9th Grade Orchestra (9O)||Ensemble for all 9th Graders who play violin, viola, cello, and bass. Students develop skills in tone production, phrasing, rhythmic and aural acuity, and the advancement of technical skills such as shifting, vibrato, bow control, and posture.||Strings Only|
|Concert Orchestra (CO)||For intermediate to advanced students of String instruments. Students develop skills in tone production, phrasing, rhythmic and aural acuity, and the advancement of technical skills.||Continuation from 9th Grade Orch|
Open to 10th, 11th, 12th
|Symphony Orchestra (SO)||This year-long performing ensemble is for advanced students of String, Wind, Brass, and Percussion instruments. Students develop advanced skills in tone production, phrasing, rhythmic and aural acuity, and the advancement of technical skills.||Audition Only|
Open to 10th, 11th, 12th
Concert Attire – What to Wear?
In all orchestras, all musicians wear a mid-calf or longer black skirt or black slacks, a black dress shirt or top with sleeves, and black shoes with hose or black socks. Symphony Orchestra musicians may also choose to wear a black suit or tux with white shirt, a black bowtie, black socks, and black dress shoes. Ensure that shoulders and ankles are covered – the dress code is formal and uniform so that we convey a sense of the special nature of our performance as well as the collaboration and teamwork intrinsic to the music we are making.
Special Events, Music Festivals & Trips
In addition to the free evening concerts during the school year held at the Quincy Jones Performing Arts Center, some orchestras may also participate and perform in community & fundraiser events supported by ticket fees. Orchestra groups also travel to local regional festivals and upper-level ensembles may have the opportunity to travel and perform out of state. Our trips are built on student learning, performance opportunities, and cultural immersion. An additional fee per student as well as parent chaperone volunteers will be requested to support participation of the ensemble for each class trip. The fee covers transportation, lodging (if applicable) and festival registration costs and will be communicated by Mr. Kolk and FOGO representatives upon selection of festivals for the year.
Program Activity Donation
At the beginning of the school year, we ask families to contribute a minimum activity donation so we can support the orchestra program and our students. The requested contribution is $100 per student per year. The school district does not provide any additional funding for music programs beyond the teacher and the use of existing instruments.Through the parent support group, Friends of Garfield Orchestra (FOGO), we work to provide access to an excellent music education for all Garfield students, regardless of their level of experience or resources. With your support, the Orchestra program can purchase and repair instruments, provide coaching and group lessons, invite guest artists, purchase original music, technical equipment, and provide scholarships for festivals fees & trips. We appreciate any extra donation amount that you may be willing to contribute. Likewise, we understand that this request may be a burden to some. Please contribute what you can. Contributions are fully tax deductible and may be matched by available employer programs.
Parent Volunteer Support
Friends of Garfield Orchestra (FOGO) is the parent organization that provides continuous volunteer and financial support for our orchestra director, student musicians, and the numerous orchestra activities. Our mission is to set a standard of excellence in classical music education and ensure all students of diverse backgrounds can participate and excel. More than providing financial support, FOGO also provides a wonderful parent community to connect and support each other throughout your student’s high school life. Participation creates a wonderful camaraderie and common experience as parents (and students) navigate high school and beyond. We have many opportunities for parent involvement throughout the year. FOGO meets monthly on the 1st Wednesday of each month, and all are welcome! Throughout the school year, we ask parents to volunteer in the following areas. Please contact email@example.com to sign up for volunteer opportunities.
|Concerts||Setup & Cleanup, Food/Bake Sales & Coordination, Program Development & Print|
|Special Event Concerts||Ticket Sales, Setup & Cleanup, Food/Bake Sales & Coordination, Program Development & Print|
|Regional Festivals||Transportation Coordinator, Chaperones|
|Out-of-State Trips||Transportation Coordinator, Lodging Coordinator, Chaperones|
|FOGO Board Roles & Coordinators||Serve in leadership roles managing and executing the mission of supporting the Garfield Orchestra program.|
Sample Orchestra Concert Calendar
Below is a sample calendar of typical concerts, events held during the school calendar year for all orchestra programs.
9O – 9th Grade Orchestra, CO – Concert Orchestra, SO – Symphony Orchestra (QJ – Quincy Jones Perf. Arts Ctr)
|Aug||FOGO Summer Planning Retreat – FOGO Board & Volunteers to work with Director to discuss, prioritize, finalize calendar events, volunteer needs, and budget for the upcoming school year.||FOGO||TBD|
|Mid-Sep||Orchestra Family Night/Potluck – Meet & Greet for returning & new families.||All||TBD|
|Late Sep||Orchestra (All 3) Wknd Retreat – Weekend retreat for all orchestra students for opportunity to perform, play, practice & build friendships, and camaraderie.||All||TBD|
|Late Oct||FALL CONCERT||All||Quincy Jones|
|Mid Dec||Placeholder for Community Concert – traditionally served as classical sing-along of Handel’s “Messiah” and now re-imagined celebrating Seattle’s Central area music history.||TBD||TBD|
|Mid Dec||WINTER CONCERT||All||Quincy Jones|
|Mid Jan MLK Jr Wknd||Winter Waltz – Annual community event & fundraiser to show off your waltzing moves on the dance floor and accompanied by the music of Garfield orchestra students.||All||Benaroya Hall|
|Early March||SPRING CONCERT||All||Quincy Jones|
|Mid March||Western WA Festival – Annual orchestra festival held at WWU campus to perform and be adjudicated by educators.||All||WWU campus|
|Late March||Symphony Orchestra Spring Trip – Opportunity to travel out-of-state and perform in orchestra festival (ie. LA, NYC)||SO||TBD|
|Early Apr||Pops Concert – Recruitment concert with Garfield feeder MS (TOPS, Meany, Washington)||All||Quincy Jones|
|Mid May||Concerto Concert – Senior Showcase Performances, accompanied by Symphony Orchestra.||SO||TBD (Offsite)|
|Early June||Graduation Concert – Final concert of the school year showcasing all 3 orchestras and announcing yearly awards.||All||Quincy Jones|
Friends of Garfield Orchestra (FOGO)
Friends of Garfield Orchestra (FOGO) is a 501c(3) non-profit organization serving to support the Garfield Orchestra program. Our mailing address: PO Box 22749 | Seattle, WA 98122-0749 | www.garfieldorchestra.org