Honor Band & Orchestra Concert Reflections Part I: Celebrating Excellence

Last night was my district’s Honor Band and Orchestra concert. In another post, I have written about the audition process.

During the concert, I was struck by the importance of events like this. In the introduction and welcome, our district music coordinator spoke highly of the students and faculty for all their hard work. He introduced a few dignitaries from the district and the local music community. Each of them spoke proudly of our music program, offering kind words about the accomplishments of various students and teachers.

In the day to day grind, we all face difficulties, distractions, interruptions, discipline issues, and disappointment about lack of student progress. Sometimes we might even wonder if all our energy is misspent or fruitless. But events like honor concerts give everyone a reminder that our efforts are not in vain. True, not every student with an instrument gets to participate, and the musical selections might be challenging even to those who pass the audition. But isn’t that the point?

Events like this allow us to focus on the accomplishments of students who actually do practice, take private lessons, invest in quality instruments, and generally take music seriously. Honor groups allow us to correct the instrumentation flaws which might exist in our schools. They allow us to combine the best musicians from one school with the best musicians from another school and create something better than any one teacher could produce alone. They give us the opportunity to bring in guest conductors or even performers who we might not otherwise be able to have work with our groups. And most importantly, we give our students the opportunity to create music as part of an exceptional ensemble, where each musician is as dedicated as they are to striving for excellence.

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