Ignoring the smells of lunch filling Homer Middle School’s hallways, nine students gather daily around Tia Pietsch and keep their focus on the task at hand — becoming skilled violin and cello musicians and shaping themselves into the Homer Youth String Orchestra Club. With instruction from Pietsch, support from Homer Foundation, encouragement of Homer Middle School personnel and the commitment of the students’ parents, they are doing just that.
“These kids are amazing and fantastic to work with,” Pietsch said. “Everybody goes, ‘Oh, junior highers.’ But they’re great. They have great attitudes. Definitely, if we can give them these opportunities, they’ll be fantastic string players. And they like it. They obviously like it.”
The nine members of the orchestra club, all middle school-age, have been studying music for two to five years in spite of having had no consistent string instructor in the area and little hope of having it taught through the school district.