I am so grateful that I was able to be a chaperone for the Helfrich Park STEM Academy Band on their recent trip to the IMEA Conference in Fort Wayne. It really was an honor to be a part of this once in a lifetime experience for the both the kids and their teachers.

Here's a quick reminder of what happened. Middle school bands from all over the state submitted audio for the chance to perform at the annual conference for the Indiana Music Educators Association. Helfrich Park was chosen over ALL other middle school bands in the state. So we loaded up and headed north!

Along the way we stopped at Ball State University (Mr. Goodwin's alma mater), where the kids got to see the beautiful new school of music. The students also got to take part in a special clinic with Dr. Caroline Hand, the Associate Director of Bands at Ball State. Very cool!

Once we arrived in Fort Wayne, the kiddos got to burn off a whole bunch of energy and wear themselves out playing video games and lazer tag at LAZER X.

The next day we headed to the convention center where we got to see the US Air Force's Shades of Blue Jazz Ensemble perform and visit the wide variety of vendor booths at the conference. Then is was time for the moment of truth. Our performance was sandwiched between the Purdue Philharmonic Orchestra and the Warren Central Symphony Orchestra - not bad company at all!

I tried to capture some pictures along the way...you can see them below. What the pictures didn't capture is how amazing these kids were. They were so well behaved in every environment we encountered. They were given several chances to be knucklehead middle schoolers, but for the most part they acted like respectful young adults. I'll be honest, I was surprised and impressed. I really thought I would have to crack the proverbial whip more often. Ha!

 

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