On Monday, Oct. 3, Keegan Lammers led the orchestras at Hayes High School in their first concert of the school year.
A Hayes graduate, Lammers became the orchestra director over the summer after the former director, Stacy Lemke, retired at the end of last school year.
Lammers said she was excited to return to the school to lead the orchestras, which are the Hayes Players, Symphony Orchestra and Concert Orchestra. She added Monday’s performance was something to be proud of.
“It was one of those rare moments as a musician where I feel like the best time we had played those pieces was on stage,” Lammers said. “Personally, I feel like you would practice, and practice, and practice, and then not play your best on stage, but these students definitely brought their best to the stage. They did such a fantastic job.”
Lammers said she thinks students felt proud following their performance.
“They got nervous the first time they practiced on stage,” she said. “I think for them to go and really feel that sense of accomplishment and mastery, and performing their best on stage, was rewarding for them and made them smile and made their families smile.”
Lammers said conducting the orchestra after spending so many years playing in it was “surreal.”
“I got a little choked up introducing myself as director,” she said. “I hadn’t thought of that moment until I was on stage talking to the families. The auditorium was absolutely packed. There were a ton of people there. We definitely felt the energy from the audience.”
Lemke attended the concert and said Friday she’s proud of Lammers and the orchestras.
“Each of the orchestras performed at a high level,” Lemke said. “It was so rewarding to see a former student on the podium conducting so beautifully. I am so thankful that the orchestra program is in Ms. Lammers’ very competent hands.”
Lammers said Thursday the orchestras are already practicing for their next concert on Dec. 12, including practicing their traditional “Hallelujah” chorus. Lammers said she’s enjoying being part of traditions that she participated in as a student.
“You feel like you know the piece because you’ve played it. … Learning to conduct it and teach it has been a fun challenge for me,” Lammers said. “It’s definitely been a transition. It’s been fun for me to share those traditions with the students. All the way through college, when we’d talk about performance experience that you love the most, a lot of those happened at Hayes for me, and the ‘Hallelujah’ chorus was one of them. It’s fun to think about what those experiences meant to me and to think that my students are now getting to experience those, too.”
Lammers said she’s thankful for the support she’s received as director, including from Superintendent Heidi Kegley and Hayes Principal Dr. Ric Stranges.
“The students are so great, and the community support is unbelievable. I’m really thankful for that,” Lammers said. “It’s a lot of work, a lot of extra time, but I really enjoy it. We’re really looking forward to the concert on the 12th.”
Lammers said the Hayes Players will also participate in the choir concert on Dec. 5.