Since Allan and I began MYA with a small group of families 18 years ago, I have spent a lot of time on the front lines of MYA operations. This year, we decided to redirect my energy toward community relations and development. These two areas have much in common: both benefit from effective communication and both have a longer timeline than that of the day-to-day operations. I have been enjoying this chance to reflect on some bigger picture issues that affect MYA, young musicians, their families and our country.
In an effort to raise some of these ideas, I thought it would be productive and fun to start a blog so MYA families have a chance to look “inside” MYA. When MYA first started, a number of people asked Allan what he did during the week. It was obvious what he did on Saturdays, but what he did to get ready for that day was not. Our families see and experience great concerts like our Jazz in January concert last Sunday, but not necessarily what goes on getting there or how we evaluate the experience afterward.
What a good choice! It was obvious that Steve Davis really loved what he was doing! And I think the word Chris used to describe him was “gracious.” The thesaurus defines gracious as kind and giving. Synonyms are: accommodating, amiable, approachable, big-hearted, charitable, compassionate, congenial, and considerate. Not only did our students work with a great performer and teacher, but how great that they could see a gracious person as a role model!
We had good attendance despite the Bears v. Packers game, but we lost audience after intermission so many students in the younger bands didn’t learn from listening to the Big Band. Chris, Jarrard, Allan and Will decided it might be a good idea to shorten the concert next year by just featuring the Big Bands on the Sunday concert. The guest artist would still work with the combos on Saturday and the combos would play in a jazz club on Saturday night.
Besides shortening the concert, do you have any ideas for how we can get the students to stay for the whole event?