We finally performed our first concert on June 28, 2021, at Oak Park High School in North Kansas City. It was decently attended by a very enthusiastic audience. It was not without errors, some surprising, but overall, the band played very well. I am sure it would have been a ONE at a state music performance assessment event. There has been a clear uptick in interest, especially among people who have had band experience. We welcome with open arms all support, either through attendance at concerts, patronage, sharing information with media contacts or just a nice email. This effort will positively affect the whole profession if it comes to pass. I am pursuing the project for a number of reasons. I will list only one today. Our schools of music and conservatories, along with departments of music, are preparing graduate-level instrumental students for careers in music performance with the implication that if they earn such a degree, they might expect to be able to spend a career performing music for a living wage. Although I used two conditioning words in the previous sentence, what those players are hearing is a rather large falsehood . . . a big lie. When my son auditioned for Pershing’s Own Army Band, he had to compete with over a hundred applicants. It was narrowed down to six, and he was awarded the open chair. What happened to the player who came in second? Where did they go to realize their dream? The formation of 12 professional bands in America would create the establishment of many new chairs for exceptional instrumentals: 48 flutes, 36 oboes, 36 bassoons, 84 clarinets, 36 low clarinets, 72 trumpets, 60 horns, 48 trombones, 24 euphoniums, 24 tubas, 72 percussion, 6 double bass, 6 piano for a total of 552 more chairs for deserving players.
The HOAW Board of Directors is committed to providing a model for the establishment of a high-level professional band from the ground floor. We will share this information, along with by-laws and other organizational documents, to any other group founded in a location that could support an effort to form a pro band. This is by no means a selfish effort. It is an ecumenical (representing the interests of all bands) effort to do something that should be done for the enhanced future of art music being written for band at all levels, for the welfare of the players who wish to have a playing career, and for the entire scope of the band medium. From this will grow an positively enhanced opinion about the band medium, its worth, and its artistic viability. John Carmichael, July 6, 2021