With March named “Music In the Schools Month” by the National Association of Music Educators, Amy Christianson and her band of musicians are taking it seriously. Just how seriously, the public will get to see — or hear, as the case may be — at a 6 p.m. public concert at Mariner Theatre on March 5.
“All band students in grades five through 12 are participating,” said Christianson, the music teacher coordinating the joint effort between Homer High School, Homer Middle School, and West Homer and McNeil Canyon elementary schools that includes more than 100 students.
The individual school bands will have a turn in the spotlight by playing one or two pieces on their own, beginning with the youngest bands and continuing through high school.
“The last piece of the evening will be ‘Winged Victory,’ which is written in three different levels, allowing all of the students to play together,” said Christianson.
Performing that piece also has been opened to community members, with more than a dozen playing with the students, “including some who have students in the bands and may not have played since their own school days,” said Christianson.
This is the first time Christianson has attempted to organize this multi-school event. The students have been practicing their pieces since the semester began and focusing on “Winged Victory” for more than a month. To make it to all the rehearsals, the teacher carefully divides her responsibilities by the hours of the day.
“I teach jazz band at HHS from 7:30-8:30 a.m., and then my drama class. The middle of the day is at middle school, teaching seventh- and eighth-grade bands. After lunch, I either go to West Homer or McNeil for band, depending on the day, and then end up back at the high school for symphonic band at the end of the day,” she said.
Donations will be accepted at the concert and used to put more instruments in the hands of more students. Donations of used instruments also will be accepted. Forms for tax-deductible donations are available at participating schools.
“We’re in need of lots of instruments, but especially the small ones: flutes, clarinets, trumpets,” said Christianson. “We have a decent number of larger instruments, but could always use more.”
Adult musicians interested in performing with the students can email Christianson at AChristianson@kpbsd.k12.ak.us or call 235-4667. There also will be a rehearsal in the high school band room at 3 p.m. March 3.
McKibben Jackinsky can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org