Letters

Music Advocacy Group (MAG) Spring Benefit ‘Concert’ Surprise

by Music Advocacy Group board

Margie Bangs, Madeline Danielson, Jan Ehrlichman, Sharon Ho, Doug McTavish, Sarah Ogmundson, Annette van Dongen and Miriam Ziegler

On the first Sunday of March, for 23 years, come snow or rain, the Music Advocacy Group has hosted a Spring Benefit concert to support the music education program of Orcas Island School District. This joyful celebration showcased OISD String and Band groups, who shared the stage with beloved community music groups like Orcas Choral Society, Orcas Island Community Band, and Island Sinfonia, bringing together over 100 musicians sharing music for a great cause, MAG’s annual fundraiser. Donations by generous individuals have helped us provide up to half of our public school’s budget for K-12 music education each year!

While we are disappointed to have to cancel the 24th MAG concert this March due to Covid19, we are excited to share what the music students and their teachers, Pamela Wright and Darren Dix, have achieved during these challenging times. The public school music program that we have worked so hard to grow and sustain has continued providing music education in a virtual school format. Thanks to the flexibility of our music teachers, who created virtual classrooms and utilized innovative, online music learning applications, like Essential Elements and SmartMusic, OISD music students have persevered throughout the school closure. Students have met with their music teachers and fellow musicians once or twice a week in virtual classrooms. As elementary students return to school in person, singing is still not an option, but teachers are introducing rhythm lessons and bucket drumming, while Beginning Band and String students will continue playing their instruments.

We are so incredibly proud of them all and want to share with you — our music-loving community — what they have achieved! The OISD music teachers are putting together a short compilation of student pieces that MAG will present in a special video later this Spring—a special treat for the parents and community members who champion school music.

Please watch for our video presentation announcement. Especially in these months of isolation, School Music Matters, and we are very grateful for your continued support. For more information about what we do, please visit OIMAG.org.