The “Year-End Band Concert” by the outstanding four bands from Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle on 12 June brought the audience to its feet for two standing ovations, as the director, Mr. Daniel Rowe, made the stunning announcement that he would be retiring after 35 years of teaching music in public schools. But four days later, after the weekend, he said he had re-thought his plans and announced that he would teach another two years—whew!–the band students and parents must have heaved a huge sigh of relief.
No doubt, three other people did, too: Cindy Waters, HIMS Principal; Angela Babbitt, Director, Beginning Band; and Zari Magness. President, FOMAHI (Friends of Music at Hamilton International), the booster club. They all participated in the concert, held at Lincoln High School Auditorium in the Wallingford neighborhood.
The 49-member Beginning Band played five pieces, including the crowd-pleasing “Slidin’ and Glidin’,” featuring the trombone section. The 93-member Cadet Band played four pieces, concluding with “Fiero.” And the 91-member Concert Band played three pieces, “Into the Storm,” “Shenandoah,” and “Highlights from ‘Frozen.'”
The Symphonic Band began its four-piece set with “Bugler’s Holiday,” by Leroy Anderson, featuring a trio of double-tonguing trumpeters. [Recall from my post of 21 June that a trumpet trio from the Wind Ensemble from Inglemoor High School had played the same piece just one week earlier. And I recall that I'd played it in a college band concert long ago.]
Mr. Rowe has each band vote for three annual awards: Most Inspirational, Most Improved, and Outstanding Musician of the Year. Two trumpeters won such awards: in the Cadet Band, Corinna Sanger was voted Most Inspriational, and in the Symphonic Band, Colin Ovens was voted Outstanding Musician.
After Mr. Rowe made his shocking announcement, he led the band in what he had planned to be his final concert piece–the “Overture to Candide” by Leonard Bernstein, arranged by Clare Grundman. Later, I asked him about the signicance of this music to him. He said that during his first year at HIMS, he’d had his Symphonic Band play it. That was five years ago, and the band had 41 members. He wanted to conclude his career by having his current 88-member band play it, too. Whoever succeeds him in 2016, will inherit a very strong band program.
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