Nobody said it was too early for holiday music! For Jingle Strings, that meant learning how to play songs such as Pat a Pan and Chanukah, as early as October. As an extracurricular for orchestra, Jingle Strings provides an opportunity for students to develop their passion and skills for orchestra, while spreading festive spirit through music. The environment is fun, comfortable, and lively, with a relaxed and easy atmosphere. Anyone in Orchestra is qualified to join, regardless of whether you are in Symphonic, Concert, or Chamber. The music is fairly difficulty; it is never boring, but can be easily learned by anyone given some practice.
For the past couple of weeks, Jingle Strings, under the guidance of RHS orchestra teacher Ms. Geronimo, had been preparing to play at Downtown Ridgewood and Valley Hospital. After a couple of after-school rehearsals, they were ready to perform! In Downtown Ridgewood on December 6th, students will spread festive cheer by playing their holiday music in town, performing in small ensembles at select locations. Two days later, on December 8th, they will go to Valley Hospital and spread festive cheer to those who need it. This program is the perfect opportunity to do good for others, interact with the Ridgewood community, and gain volunteer service hours, all while having fun playing an instrument!
If you’re an orchestra student, consider the chance to join this amazing program! It provides a welcoming atmosphere to all who wish to enjoy the holiday season, through the art of music. Jingle Strings is not a pressing or “overly serious” ensemble. Attendance to every practice is not mandatory, and the environment is comfortable and casual; Mrs. Geronimo occasionally brings food for the orchestra players to enjoy. As someone who is a member of Jingle Strings, my original intent was to have some holiday music in my repertoire, as well as meet new people since I was new to RHS. However, Jingle Strings has exceeded my expectations, and I learned how to play my favorite Christmas songs and make new friends. With the opportunities this program has provided me with, I was able to learn many crucial skills that have helped me in my orchestral endeavors.
I asked a few students who partake in Jingle Strings about how they felt about the extracurricular. One of them said, “Jingle Strings is what I look forward to everyday on Tuesday. It feels so nice to just be there after a school day, to relax, to laugh with friends, and to decompress and just forget about all the stress and pressure of school.” Another student added, “Jingle Strings is my favorite club, and it is my only club. It’s fun to not have to stress about Duffy’s Cut and fail at Vibrato. I love Jingle Strings, and it changed my life forever!” We have fun and laugh as a group, and rather than being a school-like rigid schedule, and restrictive in nature it is more comparable to a fun orchestral session with your friends. For me, Jingle Strings was an opportunity I took to grow, not only as an orchestra player, but also as a person in a community, and an environment that cared and loved the holiday season.
Music and winter have always gone hand in hand. It has also been shown that music has been clinically proven to boost happiness and stimulate memories. The holiday season is a perfect time for joy and to reflect on fond memories of the year. For many it is a truly reflecting time where happiness and joy are many people’s first priorities. Holiday music truly encapsulates everything the season reflects – a time of happiness, a time of thankfulness, and a time for joy. Music is the quintessential medium for connecting with others, and it could make someone’s holiday just that much better.
Graphic: Jiah Lee