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Manchester Symphony Has Seven Members With MPS Ties

Susan Kohanski is proud to be a member of the Manchester Symphony Orchestra, and prouder still to be one of seven people with MPS ties  to be part of the volunteer organization.

“Having seven teachers in the orchestra is pretty good,” said Kohanski. “I think it’s good for the school district, and good for the community.”

Kohanski is the orchestra teacher at MHS, having come aboard this year after teaching at East Lyme Middle School of the past 25 years.

Others from MPS in the symphony orchestra are:

  • Denise Kish, a general music and guitar teacher at Illing

  • Katie Morin, a music teacher at Washington

  • Stephanie Peterson, a special education teacher at Illing

  • Sarah Jordan, an elementary school string teacher

  • Marie Mieses, a grade 9 school counselor at MHS

  • Carol Maas, who -- after 29 years in the district -- retired last year as the orchestra teacher at MHS (and was replaced by Kohanski).

The first of their five concerts this season is scheduled for Friday, Nov. 13 at 7:30 p.m. at

Manchester Community College.

Kish, who just moved to Manchester, said that joining the symphony has been “a great opportunity for me to meet and work with other teachers and musicians in the community.” She added: “I'm really enjoying this experience so far.”

The Symphony is actually part of the larger Manchester Symphony Orchestra and Chorale, an organization that has been around for more than 50 years.

Maas noted that the symphony orchestra and chorale are considered "in residence" at Manchester High School and rehearse there every Monday night.

“Both performing groups welcome students from Manchester High School into their ensembles,” Maas said, adding that  the MHS Chamber Orchestra has had the opportunity to play in several "side by side" concerts with the Manchester Symphony where each high school student is paired up with an adult for rehearsals and the performance to provide a very unique musical experience for both.

Added Morin: "Playing in the orchestra reminds me that we are all working toward the same goal. This is refreshing, though tiring, on a Monday night after a full day of teaching. It helps to reset me for the week ahead."

Kohanski noted that fliers promoting Friday’s concert say that anyone under 18 gets in free, but added that any MPS students get in free even if they are 18 or older.

She said that she tells her students that she is a member of the symphony.

"I let them know that every Monday night I am in their seats on the other side of the podium,” she said, “trying my best to follow the conductor, and play all the correct notes and rhythms as musically as I can."

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