This morning I got to work with the Okemos HS Freshman Band on ALCATRAZ. What a fantastic ensemble! I was completely blown away by their musicianship, professionalism and maturity. HUGE kudos to Mark Stice and Kevin Culling for preparing these musicians, they absolutely nailed the piece. I also had the pleasure of hearing the OHS Wind Ensemble rehearse Bernstein's "SLAVA!", Whitacre's "Lux Arumque", and Mackey's "Xerxes." They crushed them all. I had a hard time believing that these students were actually high school students at some point. Technical chops abound.
I haven't been back to Okemos since I student taught with Jim Barry in 2002. Some things have obviously changed but the commitment to outstanding music education hasn't. Visiting other ensembles and getting to work with musicians from around the state/country/planet is part of what makes being a music educator and composer so fulfilling.