Be Instrumental in Excellence: Notes on the Score of Success

Posted in More Stories, Music

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.

South Whidbey High School Wind Ensemble (photo by Robin Bush)

South Whidbey High School Wind Ensemble (photo by Robin Bush)

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.

Evan Mellish, Liam Twomey and Tesla Dussault from SWHS Jazz Band (photo  by Gavin Imes)

Evan Mellish, Liam Twomey and Tesla Dussault from SWHS Jazz Band (photo by Gavin Imes)

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.

South Whidbey High School Jazz Ensemble performing at annual Sweetheart Ball (photo by Robin Bush)

South Whidbey High School Jazz Ensemble performing at annual Sweetheart Ball (photo by Robin Bush)

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.

Upcoming performances:

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)

CLICK HERE to read more entertaining and informative WLM stories and blogs.

WLM stories and blogs are copyrighted and all rights are reserved. Linking is permitted. To request permission to use or reprint content from this site, email info@whidbeylifemagazine.org.

 

Like this article? Please share it.

Leave a Reply