BY ROBIN ACKER BUSH
Whidbey Life Magazine Guest Contributor
April 21, 2014
What do Paul Allen, billionaire co-founder of Microsoft; Alan Greenspan, former Chairman of the Federal Reserve; Chuck Todd, NBC Chief White House Correspondent; and James D. Wofensohn, former World Bank President, all have in common? They are all highly accomplished or professional musicians who strongly associate their musical training with their professional achievements.
Mr. Greenspan and others explore this connection in an article in the NY Times from Oct. 12, 2013. For full article click: here. Paul Allen suggests that music, “reinforces your confidence in the ability to create.” Chuck Todd believes practice and competition is behind the “drive for perfection.” Steve Hayden, legendary copywriter and retired Vice Chairman at Ogilvy advertising company says, “ensemble playing trains you, quite literally, to play well with others, to know when to solo and when to follow.”
Music teaches collaboration, creativity, perseverance, independence, responsibility, accountability, and self-motivation. This is the vital mission for the musical education program at South Whidbey High School under the Direction of Chris Harshman. His drive for excellence, his passion for teaching, and his contagious excitement has propelled bands from South Whidbey into the spotlight. The Jazz Ensemble placed first at Lionel Hampton International Jazz festival every year since 1999, and has performed at festivals throughout the Northwest, California and New York City. The Wind Ensemble will compete in Vancouver, Canada, later this month with a challenging professional program.
This program exists, in spite of financial cutbacks in education budgets, thanks to the generosity of our south island community, people who understand that this band instills in students the skills they require to be the leaders of tomorrow. A new financial support program is launching this month, “Be Instrumental in Excellence.” Tiered annual contribution levels provide benefits to donors.
The funds raised will be used to repair and replace aging instruments, expand musical opportunities for students, provide music and endow scholarships for music lessons and college. The goal is to raise $50,000 each year in funds and in-kind donations. Generous contributions from the community have recently included a baby grand piano and funds to cover extensive repair to a magnificent 1920’s string bass. The program is coordinated by SWHS Performing Arts Boosters a 501(c)(3) not for profit organization. Contributions are tax deductible.
Be Instrumental in Excellence. Please contact 360-321-2874 for further details or mail your contribution of $25, $50, $125, $500, $1,000 or $5,000 made out to SWHS PAB to: SWHS Performing Arts Boosters 5675 Maxwelton Rd. Langley, WA 98260.
May 23 All Island Jazz Festival at SWHS
May 27 Wind Ensemble at SWHS
May 30 Jazz Ensemble at Festival of the Arts at SWHS
Photo at the top: Mara Bush, Heidi Klein, Conor Workman and Kris Watson from SWHS Jazz Band (photo by Gavin Imes)
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