Rachel Schulte, a violinist from Milbank, performed in the 2021 J. Laiten Weed Honors Orchestra at the Rapid City High School Historic Theater from February 18-20. Selection to the orchestra is the state’s highest honor for high school string players.
Each year, the chamber orchestra consists of 22 string students who achieved top scores in the South Dakota All-State Orchestra auditions held the previous fall. Rachel earned third chair, first violin. Most of the other musicians were from Rapid City or Sioux Falls. Aberdeen and Brookings were each also represented by one student. Luis Viquez, orchestra director at USD, served as the conductor. J. Laiten Weed (1917-1989) started the orchestra 34 years ago, and the name continues to honor his legacy. Dr. Weed was one of the first professional string teachers in South Dakota. He was the Director of the Yankton College Conservatory of Music and a charter member of the South Dakota String Teachers Association. Rachel’s mother and violin teacher, Elizabeth (Lundin) Schulte, was a member of the first J, Laiten Weed Honors Orchestra when she was a sophomore in high school.
In recent years, the honors orchestra has been held in conjunction with the South Dakota String Teacher’s Symposium and the South Dakota Middle School All-State Orchestra. Those events were canceled this year.
photo: Rachel and Luis Viquez, orchestra director