Skip To Main Content

SGASD Celebrates 50 Years of Orchestra Music

SGASD Celebrates 50 Years of Orchestra Music

On Saturday, May 20, 2023, the Spring Grove Area School District Strings Orchestra program celebrated its 50th Anniversary with an extraordinary concert. Students in grades three through twelve in the orchestra program and alumni performed for our Rocket community. The concert included guest solo performances from alums Maison Shearer ('17) and Rayce Leib ('09) and a commissioned piece from Brian Balmages, who is a world-renowned composer and conductor. 

During the concert, Beverly Hilt, Mayor of the Borough of Spring Grove, made a proclamation recognizing and commending the alumni and current Spring Grove Area School District string orchestra members and directors and proclaimed Saturday, May 20, 2023, as Spring Grove Area School District String Orchestra Day.

A special thank you to strings teacher, Mrs. Susan Gross, for organizing and planning the concert and to all our music teachers for making the SGASD music program top-notch! 

View pictures from the concert on our Facebook page.

History of the SGASD Strings Orchestra Program

In the 1972-1973 school year, then department chairman, Mr. Lee Sands, and string teacher, Mrs. Beverly Mohatt, started the string program in the third grade. The first performance, called the “Elementary Schools Instrumental Music Festival,” was held on Saturday, May 12, 1973, in the Spring Grove High School auditorium. Pieces performed by this Inaugural performance were: "Mary Had a Little Lamb,” “May Song,” “This Old Man,” “Lullaby,” “Lightly Row,” “Allegro,” “French Folk Song,” and “Twinkle, Twinkle, Little Star.”  There were approximately 40 student performers at this first performance.  

Throughout its 50-year history, the SGASD String Program students and directors have demonstrated a strong commitment to studying, loving, and appreciating orchestral music. The many students who have participated in the SGASD String Program have successfully auditioned and/or were selected for various high-quality and rigorous ensembles, including York Junior Symphony, York Youth Symphony, SGASD Orchestra Special Ensembles, District Orchestra, Regional Orchestra, State Orchestra, District 7 String Fest, Pigeon Hills String Invitational, Hanover Symphony Orchestra, Honors Performance Series Royal Festival Hall Honors Junior Instrumental Ensemble in London, England, and others.

The SGASD String Program students and directors have demonstrated a strong commitment to the community through performances here and abroad, including being selected to perform at Music In Our Schools Month performances at the PA State Capitol in Harrisburg, Windy Hills Senior Center, the Brethren Home, Columbia Cottage, Utz Terrace, Small World Day Care Center, Spring Grove Library, Cherry Lane, North Hanover Mall, Gettysburg Outlets, Knoebels Amusement Park, Boston, Massachusetts, Cleveland, Ohio, Nashville, Tennessee, Disney World, London, England, and many other performance venues.

SGASD string members and directors had the opportunity to perform with world-class musicians such as the Air Force String Quartet from Washington DC, and Mark Wood, founding member of the Trans- Siberian Orchestra.