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Exceptional “Winter All Bands Concert” by Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle

Posted by glennled on December 24, 2012

Symphonic Band, Hamilton International Middle School, Seattle

Symphonic Band, Hamilton International Middle School, Seattle

“The music program at Hamilton is thriving,” said Daniel Rowe, Music Director of Bands, “and we’re making beautiful music!” The standing-room only audience responded in loud applause as the Symphonic Band from Hamilton International Middle School (HIMS) prepared to play the concluding, ever-popular piece, “Sleigh Ride,” by Leroy Anderson. The two-hour Winter All Bands Concert was held on 13 December in Lincoln High School Auditorium in Wallingford in Seattle.

The Finale: Leroy Anderson's "Sleigh Ride"

Concert Finale: Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride”

The total membership of the four bands at Hamilton is 295 student musicians: the Beginning Band has 58 members, Cadet (86), Concert (75) and Symphonic (76). That’s almost one-third of the entire student body of about 1,000. The growth that’s underway is exceptional. Mr. Rowe recalled that the Concert Band had 31 members only three years ago. Some 600 students are involved in the bands, orchestras, jazz ensembles, and choir. The music program is supported by the non-profit organization, The Friends of Music at Hamilton International (FOMAHI)—see www.fomahi.org, which coordinated arrangements for this concert. This year, Hamilton musicians will perform in almost 40 concerts.  Before Mr. Rowe came to Hamilton, he taught in the highly successful music program at Eckstein Middle School (see my post of 14 December 2011).

Six trumpeters in the Cadet Band, HIMS

Six trumpeters in the Cadet Band, HIMS

I went to hear one of my trumpet students, a 6th grader, perform in the Cadet Band. On top of that, I got an unexpected surprise—my very first cornet student also performed in the Symphonic Band (see my post of 14 August 2009). He’s now an 7th grader, and he switched to tuba last year. Both these students had made the Seattle Public Schools’ All-City Honors Elementary Band (see my posts of 10 April 2011 and 2 April 2012). It was a thrill to me to see and hear them both perform on the same stage on the same night! Both come from great families, and it was fun to see the relatives there, too.

Each band had its highlights, and I’ll mention only a few. The Cadet Band featured its 15 trumpeters in “Trumpets of Symphony Hall” by Don Brubaker. Among the four pieces played by the Concert Band, “The Hunger Games,” arranged by Jay Bocook, was very impressive. The clarinet soloist, Sadie Morriss, accompanied by the Symphonic Band, drew a standing ovation for her performance of “Viktor’s Tale” by John Williams. And the Symphonic Band demonstrated its high skill level by performing the superb “My Neighbor Totoro” by Joe Hisaishi, arranged by Yo Goto.

Please click on any photo to enlarge it.

4 Responses to “Exceptional “Winter All Bands Concert” by Hamilton International Middle School in Seattle”

  1. karadl said

    Nice post and great pictures, Glenn! It was a wonderful surprise to see you at the concert. You really got B. (student #1) off to a great start – helping him learn to read music and master the basics. Oh, one note: B is a 7th grader this year so he’ll be in Symphonic Band again next year. So if you visit again, let’s make sure to connect! K

    • glennled said

      Hi, K – yes, it was a joy to find you there and see B again! And yes, I’ll certainly be back again for more band concerts to see my two students. Merry Christmas!

  2. Dan Rowe said

    Thanks, Glenn, for the review of the concert! It’s a pleasure to teach at Hamilton with so many motivated and talented students. The Fomahi parent group also does an outstanding job of supporting music at Hamilton and allows me and the other two directors, Mika Armaly and Lary Barilleau, to focus on teaching the students. I’m looking forward to what the rest of the year will bring.

    • glennled said

      The growth of the music program at HIMS in the past few years testifies as to the high quality of the directors and the students and the high level of parental support through Fomahi. And I hope to be there for your spring concert to see and hear what the rest of the year has brought. Happy New Year!

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