The month of December is a busy one for USD 443 music students at all levels.

The month of December is a busy one for USD 443 music students at all levels.
Fourteen concerts will feature musicians from kindergarten through high school on the calendar.
The first concert of the season, which takes place tonight, is the middle school sixth grade orchestra concert.
Two groups will perform: the sixth grade orchestras from Dodge City Middle School and Comanche Middle School.
"We've changed our plans a little," said Whitney Van Der Kamp, assistant orchestra director. "Although the calendar says the concert will be at Dodge City Middle School it will be at Comanche Middle School."
Each orchestra will have four selections on the program.
The Dodge City Middle School orchestra opens the evening with the Surprise Symphony Theme by Franz Joseph Haydn.
They'll follow that with String Royale by Joseph Compello, Burgundian Carol by Deborah Baker Monday and Cripple Creek by Edmund J. Siennicki.
The Comanche Middle School orchestra, under the direction of Wendy Mickey, will begin with Rite at Stonehenge by Elliot Del Borgo, followed by The Russian Music Box by Soon Hee Newbold, Tribal Dance by Brian Balmages and Eagle's Pride by Susan Day.
There are 41 young musicians in the DCMS orchestra and 37 in the CMS group.
Orchestra students attend a 41-minute class daily.
Students at the middle schools are given the option of choosing either band, orchestra or choir when they enroll. Those who do not choose to join a performance group are offered general music classes, ensuring that every middle school student experiences music in some way.
Students didn't spend the entire semester working on concert pieces.
"If you just work on the concert pieces for the whole time, it gets boring," Van Der Kamp said.
"So we're only been working on these pieces for about a month — and they just got one of the pieces last week," she said.
String playing is a challenge — getting the right finger on the correct string at the exact point to produce the perfect pitch can be difficult for beginning players.
"But every once in awhile they'll have a light bulb moment where everything makes sense," Van Der Kamp said.
"And they're excited about the concert. They're proud of what they've accomplished and they're anxious to play for an audience."
For a complete listing of December concerts on the USD 443 schedule, watch the Globe's "A Thing Or Two To Do" calendar or visit the district's Web site at

What: 6th grade orchestra concert
When: 7 p.m. today
Where: Comanche Middle School auditorium