The Sherman High School Chamber Orchestra kicked off its holiday gigs with a performance at the Service Center Lobby after school Thursday. The Admin Holiday Serenade was attended by parents and SISD staff. SISD Superintendent David Hicks even played the cowbell with the orchestra during one of the songs.

Each year the SHS Orchestra and Piner Middle School Orchestra play holiday music at hospitals and assisted-living facilities in an effort to spread holiday cheer. SHS Orchestra Director Melba Avila said the idea for holiday gigs began as a way for the orchestra students to give back to the community.

“We like that our parents can make it to all of these places as well,” Avila said. “It is the season of giving and it’s the season of wonderful music and joy. It’s also a great way for the music to come to our citizens who cannot get out to a concert.”

The SHS Chamber Orchestra will perform at five assisted-living facilities Friday. On Tuesday, they will perform in the lobby of Wilson N. Jones Regional Medical Center at 4:30 p.m. and at Texoma Medical Center at 5:30 p.m. On Wednesday, the PMS Orchestra will perform at four different locations.

SHS senior and violin player Haley Jones said it is exciting to play for people who aren’t able to experience live music very often.

“It’s a great experience sharing things that people don’t always get,” Jones. “A lot of people don’t experience the orchestra. It’s really good to share it with them. Christmastime is all about sharing the love.”

Avila said another positive aspect of the holiday gigs is that it provides an opportunity for students with rental instruments to play outside of school.

“Our school district has instruments that are available for rental for some of our students who cannot afford to buy their own,” Avila said. “This is a way also for them to share their talent out there. We like that we can offer up these little concerts rather than having one huge concert in our auditorium.”

SHS junior violin player Brendan Smith said his favorite part about playing an instrument is getting to play for other people.

“It brings so much pride for me to know that I’m playing for these people,” Brendan said. “I love playing for them because it lets them listen to something beautiful. I want to play for people not for me. Music was made to play for someone.”

Avila explained the gigs are much more intimate than large concerts.

“They have the chance to perform many times,” Avila said. “That acclimates them in the actual act of performing. The main thing that I see is that the students get really lit up for performing for these people who are incredibly appreciative. They are up close and personal. It’s a very moving and touching experience for our students to see that. It’s a lot of fun.”