|Band members learn valuable life lessons at ISU|
|Written by Alyssa Siegele, Daily Vidette Editor in Chief|
|Tuesday, 29 June 2010 19:01|
A resounding, humming “O” vibrated the ground of Braden Auditorium. The overhead lights dimmed. The red and blue lights lit up the stage and the band walked on.
Hundreds of visiting high school musicians all packed into the seats, cheering for Jon McLaughlin, at a concert as part of the 35th Music for All Summer Symposium on Thursday.
He played his Oscar-nominated song, “So Close,” along with various other originals and covers, like “Come Together” by The Beatles, to which the crowd helped sing every lyric.
McLaughlin and his band kept the crowd excited and frequently changed the tempo, first with faster paced songs and then to solo songs with McLaughlin on piano.
The unity and closeness of the group of hundreds was evident in their demeanor and the ways they clapped in patterns, chanted throughout the concert, put their arms around each other and swayed to the music.
McLaughlin stopped to address the crowd about the challenges of high school halfway through the show and played a song about stationary relationships and crushes and the hurt they can cause. He said the students had probably found plenty of crushes already during the symposium.
“Two days left at this camp?” McLaughlin asked. “You’ll have a couple more crushes yet.”
At the end of the concert, the visiting students once again raised their arms to form circles and all together resounded the “O” for McLaughlin’s standing ovation, to which he answered with “Walking in Memphis” to more uproarious applause.
All throughout last week high school musicians attended classes about everything from leadership to master classes to speakers, and each day concluded with a nightly concert.
“Thursday [was] probably our most commercial concert; Jon McLaughlin…he was an Academy Award nominee for his song that appeared in the Disney movie ‘Enchanted,’” Beth DeHoff, community relations officer for Music for All, said.
According to DeHoff, anyone could register for the event and participate in the rehearsals and concerts; most were free to the public.
“We have almost a thousand students and we also teach teachers, and we have staff and clinicians. Between all of those we have about 1,400 people on campus,” she added.
The clinicians come from all over the world and bring with them a wide range of musical talent, DeHoff commented they are some of the most talented musicians in the world. They teach most of the symposium’s classes for directors and students, and many tracks were available, including percussion, jazz band, marching band and concert band.
The purpose of the event was twofold: to teach the students music and to teach the students about leadership, even if they are not in a leadership position within their high school band.
“Clearly one of the key things is to help students expand their repertoire and improve musically…A lot of the students want to be a drum major or section leader and we try to get students to understand that leadership is more than just a title; you can be a leader no matter what your position in a band or in life is,” DeHoff said.
Gary Doherty, the Band Director at Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis, Indiana, brought many students from his high school and surrounding ones near his to learn, but also came to teach himself.
“Why do I come? Because it is a great synergistic place to be in the summer,” he said. Doherty has participated, in one form or another, in the Music for All Summer Symposium the past 35 years since it’s beginning.
“Band directors are pretty crazy; we get time off, and what do we do? We go learn about being band directors. I’m in the director’s track, which means I’m going to the classes because there are some things I’ve wanted to recharge. Then I’ll step out and put a different hat on and go to work tomorrow and teach the sessions,” he added.
DeHoff added her input on the most enjoyable parts of the event.
“The best part for me is to see these kids come in – some of them are a little shy, some are nervous, some are acting really cool because they’re nervous. A lot of them either don’t know where to fit in because they came by themselves or are glued to the people they came with, and you see the difference from that to Saturday.
“You will see those kids hanging out with people they’ve never met before; you’ll see them yelling the same cheers together – when they’re excited and want to applaud someone they all stand up with an “O” for a standing ovation,” she added.