Meet the Director - Orchestra
Director of Orchestra
Ballard High School
Ballard High School Performing Arts is thrilled to welcome Elizabeth Fortune as the new Director of Orchestras!
Elizabeth Fortune has been the Director of Orchestras and Eclectic Strings at Seattle’s Washington Middle School since 2002 and is the Director of the award nominated educational programming at the Wintergrass Music Festival. Over her tenure, Fortune has been striving to bridge the gap between classical and roots music in the educational setting. She has built the strings program at Washington Middle School into a comprehensive four-tiered curriculum for string players of all levels, including two roots music ensembles. Her string ensembles regularly perform with noted guest artists and compete annually in regional and national classical and jazz festivals.
In 2018, Fortune was a recipient of the Country Music Association’s Music Teachers of Excellence distinction. In 2015, Fortune was one of 25 semi-finalists out of 7,000 nominations for the Grammy Music Educator Award. Fortune received her Bachelors and Masters of Music degrees with an emphasis on Music Education and violin performance from the University of Montana. She is an active contributor to the Washington Music Educators’ Association, the National Association for Music Education, The Jazz Education Network, The American String Teachers Association, and the International Bluegrass Music Association.
A string orchestra comprised of students who play violin, viola, cello, or bass. All incoming freshmen begin in this group unless they choose to audition for Symphonic or Chamber Orchestra. This class is also open to beginners. This class will focus on nuts and bolts skills review, will perform a variety of music for string orchestra and will perform at our Fall, Winter, and Spring Concerts. Concert Orchestra members will attend the fall retreat with Symphonic and Chamber Orchestra members.
An auditioned string orchestra comprised of students who play violin, viola, cello, or bass. This is an intermediate level group that will perform a wide array of string orchestra literature, ranging from Baroque to contemporary. Symphonic Orchestra combines with members of the band and choir for a winter masterwork performance, participates in chamber technique instruction, and performs at the Fall, Winter, and Spring Concerts. Symphonic Orchestra will attend the fall retreat with Concert and Chamber Orchestras and compete at regional festivals. Seating and section leader auditions will take place at the beginning of each school year. There may be regional or national a spring trip scheduled, depending on the year.
n auditioned chamber orchestra comprised of students who play violin, viola, cello, or bass. This is a highly selective and motivated group of string players. Chamber Orchestra performs a rigorous array of string orchestra literature ranging from Baroque to contemporary. Chamber Orchestra combines with members of the band and choir for a winter masterwork performance, participates in chamber technique instruction/ coaching from local experts, and performs at the Fall,Winter, and Spring Concerts. ChamberOrchestra will attend the fall retreat with Concert and Symphonic Orchestras and compete at regional festivals. Over the course of the year, students will form small ensembles (trios, quartets, etc.) for various gig performance opportunities. There may be a regional, national, or international spring trip scheduled, depending on the year. Seating and section leader auditions will take place at the beginning of each school year.
Ballard High Fiddlers
This ensemble is comprised of students who play violin, viola, cello, bass, guitar and mandolin. This ensemble works to refine their improvisational skills, learn music in an aural tradition, and perform authentic American roots music. The Fiddle Ensemble performs at school concerts and special events, which in past years have included performances at Folklife Festival and Western Washington Orchestra Festival, for which they were awarded first place in the Eclectic Strings Division for 2015 and 2018. The group has been directed by fiddler Lee Callender, from the bluegrass band the Warren G. Hardings, since Fall 2017, and Jimmy Hall. It was started by former Ballard High School Orchestra Director Brittany Newell in 2013.
The Fiddlers will meet from 6:30-8:00 PM every Tuesday with a new instructor, Matt Hopper. All students playing bowed or strummed string instruments are welcome as are drums and keyboards. Find information about the virtual meeting in the Oct. 6th Newsletter.