Orcas Island School District music program inspires local youth

Submitted by the Music Advocacy Group.

The Orcas Island School District music program is moving to a quick beat. A schedule adjustment has meant that high school band and strings groups are meeting at 8:30 AM four days a week instead of at zero hour (7:15 a.m.) every day. This change was welcomed by students and has made high school music education accessible to those who rely on school bus transport.

In October, high school musicians entertained family and community in the annual Costume/Pops Concert, and the high school Pep Band marched and played at Homecoming festivities on the Village Green. On Nov. 9, the 5th-12th grade band and elementary choir performed at the annual Veteran’s Day Celebration.

Additionally, several band and strings students attended the Senior Honors Festival on Nov. 10 at WWU. Traveling off-island for competitions, honors festivals, and performances is crucial for music students in a small, rural school music program. The rising cost of transportation and lodging (for some trips) has become a pressing funding need for the program.

Music Advocacy Group Benefit Concert returns March 3

The MAG Benefit Concert returns this spring with performances by local musical groups and Orcas Island High School (OIHS) band and strings musicians. This benefit for the public school music program will be held March 3, at 3 p.m., at the high school gym and is open to the public.

WATCH: School Music Through the Eyes of a Student

As part of his senior project, 2023 OIHS graduate Ryan Krisch-Derr’s video takes us into the music rooms, showing us why school music matters from the perspective of Orcas Island students. Watch the video at www.OIMAG.org.

OIHS graduate joins UW Husky Marching Band

Congratulations to 2023 graduate Paxton White, who has joined the UW Husky Marching Band, a deciding factor in his acceptance to the university. White played tuba throughout his time at OIHS.

Orcas Youth Chorus & JOY Chorus in full swing

The JOY Chorus (2nd-5th grade) and Orcas Youth Chorus (6th-12th grade) are wrapping up their fall session. All island youth are welcome to join the spring 2024 season. Sign up at www.orcasparkandrec.org.

MAG contributes more than $31,000 in the 2022/2023 school year

Thanks to the incredible generosity of school music supporters, MAG contributed over $31,000 toward music education on Orcas Island. Funds were used to:

• Double the annual Orcas Island School District music program budget

• Purchase a full set of timpani through the OICF Give Orcas Holiday campaign

• Cover expenses for the OIHS band to attend the PLU Band Invitational

• Co-fund the Orcas Youth Chorus and JOY Chorus with the Orcas Choral Society

• Fund annual subscription fees for music practice software used by OIHS students

• Fund grants for students traveling to events like the Western International Band Clinic, PLU Honor Band and WMEA All-State Honor Band Ensemble

Celebrate the holidays with upcoming winter concerts

• Dec. 7, 5th-8th Grade Winter Concert, OIHS gym

• Dec. 14, HS Band & Strings Winter Concert, OIHS gym

The Music Advocacy Group champions and sustains music education in our public schools with the support of music lovers on Orcas Island.