It’s finally here! Your first benchmark on the path from your elementary strings program through high school strings.
You’ve already had your elementary students create invitations for their very first concert and hopefully many parents will be able to see their children’s first musical performance. It’s a milestone for parents as well as students, so encourage family members, before the performance begins, to take a photo by stepping away from the podium for an opportunity for a group photo. Be sure to include that photo in the local papers, social media, and websites!
Use the moment to inform the audience that this concert is the first step on an exciting path that really never ends. Tell them about the audition in February called the “Arch of Bows,“ another milestone when your high school strings players will audition the elementary group as an ensemble and welcome them into the “strings family”. Let them know the date (February 14th, Love Day!) and time of the ensemble audition.
Remind the parents that practice is essential for the group to progress. And remind the parents that the rewards of their child’s hard work are numerous, including opportunities for travel. If you have traveled with your older ensembles, tell the audience of their accomplishments and let them know that those opportunities were created from this very moment.
Let the audience know when your monthly Parent Support Meeting takes place. If you have a Parent Support President or Board member, have them speak for one minute about the need for parent support.
In short, performances are moments where the director can inform the parents and teachers about where the students are on the path, and what moments of discovery lie ahead. Good luck!
Next month’s topic: Preparing for The Arch of Bows Induction Ceremony
About the Author
Ward Dilmore is a recently retired music teacher from Wilmington High School, MA where he grew his string orchestra from 12 students to over 450, in large part due to his incorporation of foreign travel into the program. Ward initially traveled with other companies, but once he found Encore, he never looked back. He has taken his ‘Strings Attached’ orchestra overseas with Encore 7 times, in total taking over 1,200 students abroad during his years at Wilmington.More Content by Ward Dilmore