Ah, I still remember performing for Midwest auditions in both my middle and high school bands. Always been some of my most exciting (and nerve wracking) memories from band! Can't wait to see some of the videos of the invited concert bands once they come out in December!
Post by californiadreams on Nov 29, 2021 8:33:35 GMT -6
As someone who has attended Midwest in years past it is an incredible experience. I remember very vividly getting to see a middle school concert band and thinking, what are they feeding these kids? It’s insane.
Post by LeanderMomma on Dec 19, 2021 20:51:20 GMT -6
I just had to share what composer John Mackey said about Vandegrift and Leander after their Midwest performances this past week. ♥️♥️
Mike Howard and Robert Selaiden are transforming what high school bands can be. The stereotype of "Texas Bands" for years was "wow, that intonation was amazing! And... well, at least that." When I write a piece, I depend on music software, so I'm hearing essentially a robot performance while I work. I don't want that same experience from the humans. I've heard plenty of bands that can play clean. Everything is together, the intonation is flawless, and the kids seem to be playing exactly what they've been programmed to do. And nobody is smiling other than the face on the tuning app.
I've also heard some bands that play musically. They may be more rough around the edges technically, but I'd prefer a musical performance over a robotic performance. Very few bands at this age - some of these players are barely 15! - can do both. I don't know that I've ever heard high school bands that play this well technically (shout-out to the private lesson teachers, and the funding that makes that possible), and at this level of true mature musicianship, AND - and this was my favorite element! - also plays with the amount of viscerally contagious JOY that I experienced on Friday night from Vandegrift, and on Thursday afternoon from Leander. These kids are taught brilliantly, but they're not pushed in a way that causes them to lose any of they joy for what they're doing. They were all just SO DAMNED EXCITED to be there, to show what they could do. And HOLY CHRIST CAN THEY DO IT.
Texas bands have been the pinnacle of the profession as long as I can remember, but they're somehow getting BETTER. Leander and Vandegrift didn't play "high school band concerts." They gave us the kind of artistic and fun and beautiful and heart-wrenching and exciting and deeply-joyful performances that if you heard ONE of them on a subscription series at Carnegie Hall, you'd feel like it was worth the cost of the whole season. And we just got to hear TWO concerts like that, from two schools within a few miles of each other in the Austin suburbs.
I'm honored and humbled to have been part of each of these concerts, and to get to work in person with these students and teachers leading up to their performances. Their joy is contagious, and I left Midwest on a cloud of smiles. YES I SAID A CLOUD OF SMILES.