Friday, November 10, was a busy night on the Conway High School campus.
In the opening round of the 7A state football playoffs, the Wampus Cats handily defeated Rogers by a score of 41-14 to advance on in the bracket.
I had double duty that evening, shuffling between John McConnell Stadium and Buzz Bolding Arena. That night, the gym hosted the annual "La Fiesta Orquesta" benefit for the Conway Public Schools’ Orchestras. This is the annual fundraiser for the district’s orchestra program, and it was a great event.
My sixth-grade daughter is a beginning violinist, so most of the family, from grandparents on down, was in attendance. But my 15-year-old son was not going to miss the football game, and I was in charge of him.
The night started at 5 p.m. with a taco supper in the high school cafeteria as part of the orchestra activities. The music started in the gym at 6 p.m. There were four different performances, from the middle school beginners to the seasoned veteran high schoolers.
Reflecting the high tech world in which we live, those dining late in the cafeteria could watch the live performances streamed in on a big screen so that they would not miss anything.
After we ate early, our family went to the arena, joining hundreds of others there to watch the show. Between the four different performances by various grade levels six though 12, there were about to 200 musicians. You can do the quick math in your head as to how many parents, grandparents and siblings were there to enjoy the music.
But we also had a football game to get to. The timing was pretty good for us, as kickoff was at 7, but my daughter’s group did not play until 7:30. So I walked my son across the parking lot from the arena to the stadium, and I went inside with him for the kickoff.
The Cats opening drive stalled, and I had to get back for the music, so I left my son in the student section.
The orchestra performances were all wonderful. After weeks of hearing my little girl practice at home, it was great to hear her in concert. This beginner production was all four middle schools coming together to play as one, and despite not being on the same campus to rehearse together on a regular basis, they sounded amazing.
When my daughter’s group was done, I found her and gave her a quick hug before walking back across the parking lot back to the football game. By the time I got there, Conway was up by three touchdowns.
I am thankful that we live in a city with such a great public school district. One that offers lots of opportunities for lots of kids with lots of different interests.