Midwest Clinic. Texas Music Educators. Music For All.
It's all sweet music to the ears of Dr. Russell Sanders, director of fine arts for the Mansfield School District.
"There's a fair amount of research, a growing amount of evidence that people going into a profession have had some experience in fine arts," Sanders said. "The largest single group of kids applying to med school are pre-med. The second largest are music students.
"People in the professional field understand the discipline involved. Parents are thinking, 'I want my kid to be a part of that.'"
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And indeed their kids are involved, in a big way. While it's nothing new for the district to enjoy musical success, the 2017-18 school year is another strong one for the department.
The most recent honor was an invitation to the Mansfield Legacy High School Wind Symphony to perform on the featured stage at the 2018 Music For All National Festival in Indianapolis, Indiana March 15-17. This is one of the nation's largest and most influential organizations advocating in support of music education. It showcases the finest music ensembles and student musicians in America.
Which the MISD has proven it has numerous times.
"All of our children were in band through high school. I believe that each student can benefit immensely from music education as mine did," said Raul Gonzalez, MISD board president. "The quality programs that MISD offers from elementary through high school allow students to learn the discipline it takes to be part of an ensemble or perform a solo be that in orchestra, choir or band.
"There is a place for each and every student in an MISD music program, and I am proud to be in a district that supports these opportunities."
Recently, the MISD had not one, but two bands perform at the prestigious Midwest Clinic in Chicago in December, T.A. Howard Middle School and Summit High. It's the district's first time to be represented at the invitational-only event that has showcased some of the finest talent around the globe since 1946.
The Foundation for Music Education also honored four MISD bands of late:
▪ The Lake Ridge High School Wind Symphony, directed by Brad Bonebrake, was selected as a National Winner. The group was also named winners in the New Music Division.
▪ The Summit High School Wind Symphony, directed by Chris Kanicki, was selected as a National Winner.
▪ The T.A. Howard Middle School Honor Band, directed by Nathaniel Neugent, was selected as a National Winner.
▪ The Timberview High School Wind Symphony, directed by Eric Mullins, was selected as a Commended Winner.
Also, the T.A. Howard Honor Band placed second in the TMEA Honor Band competition, advancing to the elite meet for the fifth time in 10 years.
It's not only those who can play an instrument who are making a joyful noise for the music department in the MISD. Chorale students have had their share of prominence, such as the Summit choir performing at Bass Hall with the Fort Worth Symphony and MISD show choirs performing with Amos Lee in a recent holiday concert. The Mansfield High School tenor-based choir will make its debut appearance at the Texas Music Educators Association Clinic/Convention in San Antonio Feb. 14-17. They are the only choir invited to the event.
"That's quite the honor," Sanders said. "Another of many reasons to be proud of our kids."