Groves orchestra offers a musical good time with 5K run

By: Brendan Losinski | Birmingham - Bloomfield Eagle | Published May 17, 2017

BEVERLY HILLS — When most people go running, they just use headphones.

It’s not every day that they can listen to an actual orchestra while getting some cardio.

However, that’s the idea behind the Groves High School Forte 5K Fun Run. The event raises money for the school’s orchestra program, and while runners are out on the course, members of the music program will serenade them.

“This is our fifth year hosting the run,” said Paul Shawver, who has been the director of orchestras at Groves for 15 years.

“It came about through a meeting with our orchestra boosters. This is something other schools’ programs have done. This was something community-based, good for the environment and not based around selling products.”

The run will take place at 9 a.m. Sunday, May 21, at Beverly Park in Beverly Hills. The students will be playing mostly a variety of popular music. Several also will be running in the event alongside members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, which has several members helping to support the run.

“We play music during the race that mostly comes from our electronic ensemble, so it has a lot of pop music. We’ll play ‘Can’t Stop the Feeling,’ by Justin Timberlake, and ‘Poker Face,’ by Lady Gaga, for instance,” explained junior Stephanie Green, who plays the violin. “We have a little competition that if any of our members can beat one of the DSO members running, the DSO will donate more money to the program.”

Money raised from the event will benefit the school orchestras by helping fund trips and programs the students will take part in during the next year.

“It benefits the orchestra camp we have the third week of September on the weekend,” said Shawver. “We have rehearsals there, work with members of the Detroit Symphony Orchestra, as well as doing things like team-building activities. Then on Sunday, there is a performance for the parents. This fundraiser allows the students to attend regardless of financial situation.”

Many of the students in the orchestras say this supports a great program at the school that has changed their lives for the better and helps make their school and community a better place.

“Orchestra was one of the driving forces in my life for the last couple years,” said Green. “It gives you that close, sports team feel with the other members because you attend a lot of events together, like spring break trips and orchestra camp in the fall. It’s such a passionate, fun group in the school.”

“For me, orchestra was something I started in middle school, but I wasn’t so sure about joining symphony in high school; but then I met Mr. Shawver and he got me really interested, and I can tell you that my high school experience would be totally different without it,” added junior Grace Anne Hiitakka, who also plays the violin.

The fun run typically raises between $6,000 and $7,000, although Shawver is hoping for a higher total this year since the orchestras have now grown to include more than 120 musicians. He also said he and the band boosters liked this idea for a fundraiser because it involves the community without trying to sell them something they may or may not want.

“It’s going to be a wonderful community run,” said Shawver. “We looked for fundraisers for our program to be both green and something that involves the community without pushing them to buy things all the time. I think people have really responded well based on previous years.”