On 14 June, the Senior Ensembles Spring Concert by Washington Middle School (WMS) drew an enthusiastic, standing-room only crowd at the Quincy Jones Performance Center at Garfield High School in Seattle. It took about two and a half hours, but the enthusiasm never waned, and the concert ended with the grateful audience giving a standing ovation to the outgoing Director of Bands and Jazz, Kelly Barr-Clingan.
In the past 8 years, I’ve attended many school concerts at numerous places in the Greater Seattle area, and for me, this concert format was unique. In between the major choir, orchestra, and band performances, different student ensembles played and/or sang. Each one was called a “Jazz/Fidd Cornerstone Group,” apparently playing music of its choice. What a unique way of getting lots of students personally involved and willing to perform for the public! Imagine the many more practice sessions they would have, compared to the lesser amount of practice they would do for a more conventional concert. Imagine the friendships that develop from working together in small groups. Fun!
Another unique feature of this concert was the involvement of Banda Vagos, playing music from Mexico with the combined choir, band and orchestra early in the program. Please see https://www.facebook.com/BANDA.VAGOS.
How did I know about this concert? Why did I go? Because one of the 12 trumpet players in the Concert Band takes private lessons from me. I posted a story about him on 13 April 2016.
WMS’s enrollment is exceeds 1,100 students, and “more than half of the school’s population is enrolled in a music ensemble.” To learn more about the music program, please see:
The new Director of Bands and Jazz is Jared Sessink, a trumpeter of renown. He was the only American finalist in the 2013 International Trumpet Guild Solo Competition. Elizabeth Fortune is Director of Orchestras and Eclectic Strings. Blake Saunders is Director of Choirs.
Please click on any photo to enlarge it.