Symphonic Orchestra Continues “Serenade Your Sweetheart”

Yearly tradition during Valentine’s weekend brings joy to people, groups in Lawrence


Orchestra players perform at the “Serenade your Sweetheart” event last year on Friday, Feb. 13, 2015. Photo by Ian Jones

By Kira Auchenbach

On Valentine’s Day weekend, members of the Symphonic Orchestra will tune their instruments and hit the city to play for Valentine sweethearts. On Friday, February 12th, eight groups of students will serenade couples, groups and individuals across Lawrence, in an annual tradition called “Serenade Your Sweetheart.”

“The funnest part is walking in and having everyone be totally confused, and they have no idea what’s going on, and then you just randomly start playing and everyone really enjoys it,” junior Michael McFadden said.

Students will be sent all over Lawrence to places like nursing homes, schools and businesses. The orchestra asks those who want the serenade to give a $30 donation. They also offer to bring a rose to the performance for $5, orchestra director Rachel Dirks said.

“I believe that music is one of the best ways to connect people,” Dirks said. “A familiar tune can bring back memories of fun times, love or relationships.”

Chamber Orchestra has been included in “Serenade Your Sweetheart” in the past, but this year only Symphonic Orchestra will participate. Those participating are called out of school for either the morning, afternoon, or all day. Teachers, orchestra parents and administrators use the school vans or chauffeur the students to each performance.

Popular serenading locations include preschool classrooms, car dealerships, retirement communities and grocery stores. Students like pulling out their instruments and traveling for this special occasion because of the joy it creates.

“It brings a brightness to their day knowing that someone cares about them, and someone wants them to enjoy something nice,” senior Maya Roth said.

“Serenade your Sweetheart” is a lively tradition continuing this year. The tradition spreads happiness for its listeners as well as provides donations and experience for the orchestra.

“I hope that my students will bring joy to people in their community through their music,” Dirks said.