Bittersweet Symphony

As I’m writing this, I’m aware that many of you will likely not be reading it. I know that school has just let out, and orchestra is probably the last thing on your minds. I had been meaning to keep a blog throughout the year; to keep track of everything we’ve had going on, and to just stay in touch. But, the growing pains of our orchestra and graduate school often got in the way. In any case, it's better late than never. I’ll try to do better next year.

I’m absolutely astounded at the year we’ve had, and I couldn’t be prouder of our orchestra's hard work and growth. The orchestra at Riverdale High School is stronger than it’s ever been, and it’s thanks to all of you.

I wanted to say thank you.

Many of you are graduating this year. It’s been bittersweet because we’ve done so much. But, you seniors that are leaving will be deeply and truly missed by the people you’re leaving behind. Some of you, I’ve had the honor of knowing for half a decade or more. Seniors, many of your friends have been saddened by the fact that the orchestra will never be the same without you. But the orchestra will never be the same as it was before you left your mark either.

All of you, every single one of you students who have given pieces of yourselves to what we do here have left a permanent trace of yourself on this orchestra: a trace that will never be erased. Every one of you who have sat on my couch, or had an impromptu dance party, or played your hearts out, or broke a bow hair, or really gave your all to be your best self have left your fingerprint on this place. This orchestra program belongs to you, even after you’re gone.

The new freshmen and new seniors will leave their mark too. At the end of next year, the orchestra will change and evolve, and (again) never quite be the same. But, the traces all of you have left will never go away.

This year wraps up my 7th year as an orchestra director. I couldn’t be more proud of all of you. Here’s to another great year next year. I’ll see you in August.

We’re just getting started…

- McDaniel I feel...

Week of August 7th

I’m always a bit taken aback at how happy I am to see students when they come back. This past Thursday at the open house had the pleasure of meeting some new students we will be welcoming into our orchestra, but I also saw students from years before who came back to say hello. Brandon Butler (class of ’16) stopped by to say hello. Jayla Johnson (class of ’17) came by to let me know she was about to move to Athens for her first semester at UGA! Very exciting stuff. We have some quite exciting things happening this year as well… The orchestra room (along with the band and choir room) has been completely renovated. And, although they are still not completely done the new space looks wonderful!


Everyone make sure you’re ready to jump back in right away. We will have no time to waste. Our fall masterworks concert has some very challenging (and very exciting music).

Here’s the rehearsal order for the first week:


Concert Orchestra

  • Mon – None
  • Tue – Tchaikovsky Top – 7
  • Wed – Tchaikovsky 8 – 14
  • Thu – Silva: Main Melody (wherever it occurs)
  • Fri – Review of all passages of the week.


Chamber Orchestra

  • Mon – None
  • Tue – Rossini Top – 25
  • Wed – Rossini 26 – 34
  • Thu – Rossini 34 – 45
  • Fri – Review of all passages
See you Monday!
- McDaniel


Hello visitors, and welcome to the Riverdale High School Orchestra's brand new website! If you explore the navigation menu you can find many things, including a full event schedule for the 2017 - 2018 season, resources to help musicians at concerts, places to find supplies, opportunities for outside performance, and much more.

I hope you all are enjoying your summer, and I'm very excited about the 2017 - 2018 school year! If you would like practice copies for any of the upcoming music to practice over the summer, please email me at to have this arranged. The website is just getting off the ground, and there is much more to come. Check this page for updates and announcements.

- McDaniel