What a fantastic year of music making. The IA music students & families have a lot to be proud of with this year. Fantastic first concerts in new locations from Birmingham Seaholm to Kirk of The Hills, the performances thrived in so many unique spaces. Incredible performances at festivals from all our performing ensembles. We were fortunate to have so many individual accomplishments from musicians performing at the state Solo & Ensemble festivals to individuals being selected for All State Choir, Orchestra and Band and even award winning compositions of IB music students. The pride that our musicians and teachers feel in a great performance provides energy to grow even more to challenge our musicianship for future shows.

We hope the final concerts will provided the energy to work over the summer to prepare for a great start to the 2014-15 school year. The choirs’ performance at the last concert was stunning and powerful, the bands’ performing an IB Music student composition along with an amazing baritone solo, to the energetic string orchestra and the concertos and compositions of members of the senior class, this was an incredible year. As a final assignment, we as music teachers ask all students to reflect on the year of music making. The responses are incredibly powerful and insightful on the growth and maturity of music students. Here are just a few samples of what our students say at the end of a year with the IA music program:

‘The biggest improvement this year is becoming a leader. I found that as good as you play, as well in tune you are, as perfect your rhythms are; if you aren’t playing together, then the piece is ruined. For this reason I learned to cue everyone else in my section and move together. This makes the section sound like ONE instrument rather than a bunch of instruments. This also means to be a good counter and watching the conductor. This is what I hope to focus on next year. I want to improve my counting and make sure I’m watching the conductor. I also need to listen to other sections in the ensemble which will help with counting….All in all, I’m really proud of my improvements this year. This year’s improvements inspired me to keep working and practicing to become the best musician I can be.’

‘I think the whole idea of IA was very intimidating to my quiet little self, and that contributed to my shy playing because I was scared to play out, and to be heard. This year I can definitely say that I have grown in confidence, and I am now much more willing to play for people (previously, playing a solo piece for an audience sounded nightmarish!!) I also think that I have developed a greater sense of musicality this year. I used to think that I was great at playing musically, but I realized that there is a lot more to it than I thought. It is much more than just hearing the music; its cuing, listening to chord progressions and moving rhythms, and looking up and around. What it means to be a team player in an ensemble was also a major lesson that I learned. Listening to the players around me, in my section and outside of my section, is a huge part of playing well as an ensemble. ‘

‘When I entered the ensemble at the beginning of this year I knew almost nothing about what makes music “good”; I didn’t even consider myself a singer. I certainly wasn’t dying to enter the top group. My group has not only taught me about things like breath control, tone, and posture, but it also made me appreciate music. I, like many, began taking music as an escape from harder Group 6 classes, and will now leave it as an entrance to a great new community and opportunity. Freshman year has taught me as much about technique as my entire school life has about any other subject, and I look forward to more opportunities in music next year.’

‘When asked, I bet that at least 90% of all people will say that they “like” or “love” music. I am one of those people. But, this year taught me a few things about “loving music”. Loving music is not just listening to it, or just playing it. It is not just that music “pleases” you. Loving music is feeling it in your heart. Loving music is playing it with passion. Loving music is being thankful for the people who put their life into it. And where did I learn this? Where else would fuel my passion for the art of creating, playing, listening, FEELING, music… But the IA.’

The last work of the final orchestra concert was the ‘Overture to the Opera, Zampa’ by Herold. Composers use Overtures to set the stage for the excitement to follow in the development of the opera. It tries to capture the highs and lows, the magic or mystery, the joy and pain of the characters in the show and prepares the listener to get ready for the great things to follow. Playing an overture as the last work of a concert also has significance as a metaphor for the musicians of IA. For our returning musicians, it creates a buzz, that tingle down the spine of excitement for the next concert season and new possibilities for another year at the IA. For our departing seniors, the overture symbolizes the journey ahead as they take the next path through life. The joyful journey into the unknown world, foreshadowed by the four years in the IA with excitement and only partly aware of the ensuing magic and mystery that will be revealed over course of time.

On behalf of Mr. LaNoue, The IA Music Boosters and the IA Staff, thank you!
Have a wonderful summer and keep music in your heart.

Scott Wolf