Program History

In 1975 the orchestra program was added to the already fine choral and band programs in Spartanburg District Six. Pam Tellejohn-Hayes and Mary Ada Phillips Poole organized and taught the first program with the encouragement and support of L.E. Gable, the superintendent at the time. String classes were begun in the 6th grade and a small group of existing string students comprised the high school program. Currently, the program is one of the largest in the state.
Our current teachers cover nine elementary schools, three middle schools, a ninth-grade school, and a high school. There are approximately 650 students in the district orchestra program with over 200 at the high school level.

The Freshman Orchestra is a combined orchestra of the three middle schools. Additional performing groups at the freshman campus include an honor quartet and a chamber group. Dorman High has three performing orchestras, the Concert Orchestra, the Philharmonic Orchestra, and the award-winning Dorman Symphony. The Symphony performs both string and full orchestra literature at a musical grade level of V to professional. The Philharmonic is a string orchestra that meets daily and performs a musical grade level of III to IV. The Concert Orchestra is a single-semester class that performs grade II to III literature. Symphony students also perform locally for weddings, receptions, and community events as quartets and quintets. The Dorman Symphony was chosen to perform in 2007 and 2010 in the SCMEA In-Service Conference in Charleston. They also performed and competed in festivals in Atlanta, New Orleans, Williamsburg, and Kentucky. The Symphony was chosen to perform at Disney in 2009, 2012, and 2015. The symphony was awarded second place in the National Orchestra Cup, winning best string section and soloist in 2011. In 2013 the Symphony competed in Washington, DC, and were awarded the Heritage Gold Performance award as well as the Adjudicators award. Again in 2014 they traveled to NY to compete in the National Orchestra Festival and were awarded third place and top soloist. In 2016 the symphony competed in Washington, DC achieving the gold award.  In 2017 they placed in the National Orchestra Cup in NYC.  2018 will take the symphony to Nashville.

All orchestra students are encouraged to audition and participate in the SC Region Orchestra, the SC All-State Orchestra, and the SC Solo and Ensemble Festival. District Six Orchestra students comprise over half of the Region 1 Orchestras. Approximately 15-20 district orchestra students are chosen each year for the All-State Orchestras.