DHS Counseling Department
The mission of the Dexter High School counseling department is to provide high quality, comprehensive school counseling services to all students. Our program, as guided by the ASCA National Model, is designed to help all students develop and enhance their academic, career, and personal/social strengths in order to become responsible and productive citizens. There is a commitment to individual uniqueness and the maximum development of human potential. Through the skillful use of strategic, timely, and personal interventions, counselors customize educational experiences in order to enhance capabilities, close achievement gaps among high and low performing groups and support positive choices.
Read more about our guiding principles, services, standards, and focus areas in our School Counseling Mission Statement.
Dexter HS Orchestra Commissions Piece by University of Michigan Composer Michael Hopkins
by Melanie McIntyre
In a first for Dexter Community Schools, the DHS Orchestra program has commissioned a piece of music which will debut to the public at the All-Orchestra Concert in March 2020. Michael Hopkins, Associate Professor and Chair of Music Education at the University of Michigan, has been engaged to compose an orchestral work for the DHS Chamber Orchestra, which is comprised of the top musicians at Dexter Schools. Hopkins has composed and arranged over 70 published works for orchestra, and has guest conducted over 100 orchestra festivals and clinics throughout the United States.
DHS Orchestra Director, Matt Deloria, and the Chamber students had the unique opportunity to work closely with Hopkins on the specifics of the piece. Hopkins sat down with the ensemble in late September to discuss what they might like to see in the music. The hour-long discussion covered details such as desired keys, major vs. minor tonality, lyrical or technical playing and how long it should be. Deloria asked that the piece be 4-6 minutes long and feature contrasting themes; students requested fast runs and position shifting. The viola section also asked to be featured, as they are not often highlighted in orchestral works.
“I found it very helpful to ask the students what music they like to listen to and play,” Hopkins says of the collaborative meeting. “I had sketched out some of the thematic ideas over the summer, and combined with the input from Matt and the students, it was all able to come together.”
The piece itself is almost complete; the first draft was completed at the end of October and Hopkins says he is in the editing process right now. “I put most of it together in September and October, and it’s always good to step back for a while before making final edits,” he says.
In addition to composing the piece, Hopkins will also conduct the premier at the March 17, 2020 All-Orchestra Concert. He plans to come to Dexter a few times to work with the Chamber Orchestra in January and February after they have learned it.
“That is the beauty of a commissioned work like this,” he says. “Instead of just handing a finished piece to a publisher, I can work with the ensemble to see if everything is working as intended. Composers want their music to sound as good as possible; if something isn’t right, I can change it before performance, which results in a much better piece.”
And it’s not only the Chamber Orchestra students who will benefit from the rare learning experience of working directly with a composer. The Concert Orchestra will perform one of Hopkins’ earlier compositions at the March concert, also under his direction.
“We are thrilled to be working with Michael on this commissioned piece,” says Deloria. “I’ve wanted to do this for a long time, and now we have the financial backing to do it.” The commission is generously funded by the Dexter Orchestra Boosters, the parent organization which supports the orchestra programs at Creekside Intermediate, Mill Creek Middle School and DHS.
“This piece will give our orchestra program the prestige of which it is worthy,” Deloria continues. “It will be dedicated to the 2019-2020 Dexter High School Chamber Orchestra, and we are working to create a title that will be reflective of our community.”
The All-Orchestra Concert is scheduled for March 17, 2020 at 7:00 p.m. in the DHS Center for the Performing Arts. Tickets are $5 per person, and will go on sale at the beginning of March.
For a fun and free holiday experience, the DHS Orchestras will be performing with the Dexter Community Orchestra and the newly formed Dexter Community Choir on Sunday, December 15th at 4:00 p.m. in the DHS Center for Performing Arts.