Nine of Conway’s finest high school string players earned seats in the 2014 Arkansas All-State Orchestras. Entrance to the annual event is highly competitive; string players from all over Arkansas vied for seats at the state’s highest honor for high school musicians. To qualify, a student must be a 10th, 11th or 12th grader and successfully audition at both the region and state levels.

The top half of the string section made up the Arkansas All-State Chamber Orchestra, which also includes the top two wind, brass and percussion players from the All-State Wind Symphony. These students spent all day Wednesday in rehearsals and performed a concert Thursday evening under the direction of Dr. Blake Richardson from the University of Alabama. Five Conway students had the honor to perform with this ensemble: violinists Kyle Ward and Rachel Lance; violist Madison Moline (who earned first chair in the state); cellist Ryan Plemmons; and bassist Caleb Smith.

All of the students who earned seats in the All-State String Orchestra spent Thursday through Saturday morning in rehearsals to prepare for that ensemble’s concert program. Guest conductor Winifred Crock, orchestra director at Parkway Central High School in suburban St. Louis, served as this year’s clinician for the string-only group. Conway had a strong showing in the String Orchestra, with nine of the sixty chairs held by Conway students. Violinist Michael Ward; violist Alex Barber; and cellists David Addison and Allison Dombek joined the musicians of the Chamber Orchestra (Kyle Ward, Rachel Lance, Madison Moline, Ryan Plemmons, and Caleb Smith) as members of this ensemble from Conway.