PMHS Orchestra raises $3,000 during Art-on-Music auction at concert (with slideshow)

By Gabby Ahitow, News Editor

Ten instruments painted by students in a Pelham Memorial High School art class were auctioned off at the PMHS Orchestra’s spring concert June 4, raising $3,000 that will in part fund travel by the orchestra to Europe and around the United States.

Four years ago, the high school orchestra won gold with distinction at the New York State School Music Association (NYSSMA) Major Ensemble and has been winning gold with distinction every year after. The orchestra has since been asked to travel. Before the spring concert, Michele Zanky, director of the orchestra program at the high school, decided at the last minute to hold the auction to help fund one of the trips.

The idea for the auction dates back two years when Zanky met art teacher Jane Wals while looking for scraps of art supplies. The two got talking, and Zanky gave Wals a few of her old instruments. Though Wals had one of her art classes paint the instruments, they sat in her classroom for two years. This year, Zanky thought it was time to pull them out and sell them off.

For some pieces in the spring concert, the players learned the music in just a few days. Adam Wisniewski-Jensen, a senior, played a solo violin part in the Concerto in C Major, op. 48 by Kabalevsky. In “Romance”  (from Tales of Hoffman) by Offenbach, Athena Woodfin sang soprano. Daniella Cherner played wood blocks and Matyas Spunberg played the claves on the song “Guantanamera” by Acuna. The performance included 10 songs, and the students put effort into every song.

The money from the auction will be split between the art class and the orchestra. Two cellos, one bass, and seven violins found winning bidders during the concert.