The string orchestra program at Chesapeake Public Schools began under the direction of Mildred Berryman in 1985 at the Chesapeake Demonstration School, Chittum Elementary School, Southwestern Elementary, and Western Branch Elementary School. The program expanded to Western Branch Junior High school in 1986 and to Western Branch High School in 1988. Martin Glasco became the director of orchestras at Western Branch High School in 1989. Mildred Berryman retired in 1992 and Alice Glasco became the director of orchestras at Western Branch Junior High. In 2001, Jolliff Middle School was opened with Patricia Rice as the director of orchestras. In 2011, Patricia Rice retired and Leah Katz Rosenberg became director of orchestras at Jolliff Middle School.
The program has grown over the years to be one of the largest string orchestra programs in the Commonwealth of Virginia. Today’s program includes over 900 string orchestra students in the 5 schools in the Western Branch section of the city and has been recognized nationally for its excellence. The Western Branch High School orchestra program has received numerous awards from music festivals and competitions across the country. The WBHS Bruin Sinfonia has received an overall “Superior” rating at every District Orchestra Festival since 1990 and has won Grand Champion or overall Instrumental Champion in competition over 15 times in the last 25 years. Alice Glasco (2000) Martin Glasco (2002), and Pat Rice (2004) have all been honored as “Teacher of the Year” from their respective schools. The string orchestra program in the Western Branch section of Chesapeake has established a standard of excellence and continues to be a source of pride.
WESTERN BRANCH ORCHESTRAS
Encompassing all of the Western Branch Schools