Home Lakeland Schools LPS Orchestra Director Paula Turner Says Farewell

LPS Orchestra Director Paula Turner Says Farewell

Paula Turner, LPS Orchestra Director is retiring. Photo credit: NW Media.

by Wesley Wright

It was a finale, years in the making, and a program that was a result of months of planning with even some heartwarming surprises. On May 15, 2023, a vibrant array of music was on display for the hundreds in attendance, the largest crowd to date for an LPS Orchestra program. Six years ago, Mrs. Turner was asked to come out of retirement to become a Lion and build a program at the middle school. You may have heard the story of how teaching retirement functions, but in short, she could not work more than half a day. She built a program for six years, in year six with 90 students – beginning, concert and chamber orchestras and a quartet with much more coming into the 2023-2024 school year. Orchestra was not relegated to be the struggling entity inside the arts department you may see elsewhere, it was a mighty force.

The concert began with students narrating the history of the LPS orchestra program describing the humble beginnings into what they have now which is a top-notch facility. The intermission came early where I was able to present Mrs. Turner two presents from the Booster Club and the 6th graders. More presents and flowers ensued the remainder of the evening. That was only the first third of the program, what followed were a host of musical pieces from many periods of music, and the introduction of the new director Robyn Greene. Mrs. Turner closed out the concert with a beautiful Japanese folk song that would have been the perfect ending, but some students along with Mr. Hopper and Mr. Hansen surprised her with a performance Colors of Home. The moment could not have been sweeter an ending and the reception that followed a better time to thank Mrs. Turner for a job well done with friends and family.