Spring warms up with members of the Symphonic Orchestra before practice
Spring warms up with members of the Symphonic Orchestra before practice

Orchestra welcomes Spring as latest edition to performing arts department

The York Performing Arts Department has brought a new face in to lead the school’s string players for the first time in over 27 years. Julie Spring has made her first impressions for performers in all three levels of York Orchestra while she learns the ropes to being one of the leading personalities in York music and art as a whole. 

“I taught in Downers Grove District 58 at O’Neill Middle School and three elementary schools affiliated with it, so I had a lot of traveling with it, [class] size-wise York has been a bit smaller” Spring said.

Teaching and performing at a variety of levels, she has used the skills she has learned in the professional world to guide her teaching methods at York.

“[Adapting] is going well, I play on a professional level, so I know what to demand of who and how to demand it,” Spring said. “It’s collaborative in nature, which I think is appreciated from a student side of things as well as from mine.”

Apart from making the adjustments for the size of her performing groups, Spring has had to make the jump between the skill levels of elementary and middle school players all the way to York Symphonic Orchestra members who have been playing for almost a decade or more.

“I’ve noticed that we kind of have more conscientious behavior here, which I appreciate,” Spring said. “The maturity too, I can demand more of the students, which I appreciate as well. Obviously when you’re in younger grades then you don’t know quite as much and you’re not playing as developed as you would be in high school, so I appreciate being able to conduct more complex music.”

Her changes to the program have not gone unnoticed either, even the smallest adjustments to the curriculum and the way the ensemble practices has earned high accolades from her students, including senior & symphonic cellist Brandon Cello.

“I feel like the overall class pace feels a bit different,” Cello said. “Before with Mr. Ostwald we would have more time in class where we wouldn’t be playing, and he would talk about what we just performed or played and he gave a lot more feedback, but with Ms. Spring I’d say we’re playing more often during class, which makes it feel like it’s going by a lot faster.”

Along with Cello, sophomore symphonic bassist Luca Hohf has high praise for Spring as a teacher and conductor, with emphasis on how the difficulty of pieces has transferred over the faculty change.

“The pieces are a bit more challenging when it comes to Ms. Spring,” Hohf said. “The warmups and practices she has us playing are going to help a lot in the long run, especially with us being able to play more complicated pieces without all of the frustration that came with it before.”

Overall, Spring is a well needed changeup for both new and returning performers for the department who have had the same conductor for nearly three decades, and in a year that almost everything seems to be changing, Spring is getting used to the tight-knit community.

“I think I’m doing at least okay, I like all the team elements,” Spring said. “Elmhurst works together, which is one of the main drawing points for this job, the student body is very positive and affirming. Its just such a strong teaching team to be a part of.”

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