The Music Advocacy Group’s school music benefit concert on March 6 saw almost 250 people fill the high school gym, joining 100 musicians to show their support for keeping Orcas kids learning music, singing and playing instruments in school.
The Orcas Choral Society, the Island Sinfonia and Community Band put on performances that showcased the wealth of local music talent and proved, resoundingly, that music is a lifelong sport. Their performances set a fine example for the students they support. In turn, the middle and high school strings groups and the high school band displayed growing confidence and virtuosity on stage, to cheers of approval from the audience.
High school seniors Paris Wilson and Tim Jenson, both award-winning music students, spoke on the podium about how they have benefited from the music program. Greg White, school board president, injected a sweet note of humor as he addressed the crowd about the value of music education.
“So much talent, goodwill and hope, and so many generous teachers in that room!” noted Jim Bredouw, Master of Ceremonies.
The most touching moment was when Victoria Parker introduced long-time school music advocate Catherine Pederson with the words: “School music has always mattered to Catherine Pederson.”
A dedicated school music advocate and former MAG board member herself, Parker gave a heartwarming tribute, noting that Pederson has cultivated the love of music, beginning with her own family, and extended that passion and knowledge to countless children and adults on Orcas in her many roles as teacher, piano teacher, music director and board member.
Pederson has worked in the school district and been involved with organizations like MAG, Orcas Choral Society, Orcas Center and the Orcas Island Chamber Music Festival, among others. With her children and grandchildren looking on, a visibly touched Pederson accepted a MAG resolution, recognizing her as Founding Member Emeritus.
The afternoon ended with a reception in the school cafeteria. To learn more about music advocacy on Orcas, visit OIMAG.org. Volunteer, or donate online or via check to MAG at P.O. Box 1171, Eastsound, WA 98245.