Orchestra in Mesa Public Schools

Mesa Public Schools has a strong commitment to a total music education program. Therefore, it is not surprising that the MPS orchestra component is recognized as one of our nation's finest. Approximately forty-five outstanding string educators service over 6600 string students throughout the district. MPS orchestra classes consist of string and full symphony orchestras, as well as numerous chamber and specialty ensembles.

Students can start their string education on violin, viola, cello or bass beginning in fourth grade. Students may use district-owned instruments free of charge. Approximately 5000 students enroll in fourth, fifth and sixth grade orchestra classes each year. Students meet twice weekly for thirty minutes in mixed groups with a string teacher.

Each year, district-sponsored Performance Evaluations provide elementary orchestra members and teachers an opportunity to receive valuable and helpful feedback from a clinician and from their peers.

Some schools form honor groups, which are designed to expand students' musical possibilities. Such groups often perform for community functions and state conferences. An all-elementary district honor orchestra performs in the spring each year.

Each of the district's thirteen junior high schools (grades 7 - 9) has three or more orchestras that are grouped by ability. Classes meet daily for a fifty-minute period during the school day. Approximately 1200 students participate in the junior high orchestra program each year. The orchestras perform at a high level, receiving highest honors at both state and local festivals. The district sponsors Performance Evaluations for junior high orchestras and teachers. In addition, special ensembles such as fiddle groups and strolling strings are formed to add novelty and enrichment to the musical landscape. A district junior high festival orchestra performs each spring.

High school (grades 10 - 12) orchestras meet as ability-based groups each day for fifty minutes. Each of the six high schools offer three or more ability-based orchestras. Full symphony orchestra is offered at some schools. More than five hundred students are enrolled in the high school orchestra program. These orchestras consistently receive highest honors in state, regional, and national events.

Mesa Public Schools District Orchestra Specialist is Richard Chelpka. You can
contact Richard at (480) 308-7387 or rlchelpk@mpsaz.org.