2017 SBO Scholarship Essay Contest Winners

Mike Lawson • News • May 9, 2017

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“A Note To My Parents, I Love My School Music Program Because…” was the theme of SCHOOL BAND AND ORCHESTRA’S 17TH annual scholarship essay contest. Several thousand entries were submitted as students competed for ten, $1,000 scholarships.

The awards were given to five students grades 4 to 8 and five students grades 9 to 12. Their respective school music programs received a matching award of music products from co-sponsors NAMM, Alfred Music Publishing, EPN Travel Services, Sabian Ltd., Woodwind & Brasswind and Yamaha Corporation of America. Since its inception the scholarship program has awarded $340,000 in funds and matching music products to the student winners and their schools. Three students from the Indianapolis area were selected, two from the same school. The music directors from the winning schools were a husband and wife, Candi and Rick Granlund. For the second straight year a student was chosen from the Floyd Middle Magnet School, Montgomery, AL. Other states represented were California, Colorado, Connecticut, Massachusetts, Texas and Wisconsin. The music students received their scholarship awards from local music dealers representing NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants), a major co-sponsor of the program. Participating music dealers were Art’s Music Shop, Montgomery, AL; Sam Ash Music, Canoga Park, CA; Guitars Etc.; Longmont, CO; Paige’s Music, Indianapolis, IN; Falcetti Music, Springfield MA; Alamo Music Center, San Antonio, TX and White House of Music, Waukesha, WI.

The winning students and their music directors are Isabella Woodham, Floyd Middle Magnet School, Mongtomery, Al and music director Coleman Woodson; Laurent Chang, William Howard Taft Charter School, Woodland Hills, CA and music director Daniel Gruber; Ty Mortensen, Longmont High School, Longmont, CO and music director David Merrill; Rhea Bhatia and Georgia Bott, Sycamore School, Indianapolis, IN and music director Candi Grandlund; Kathryn Peterson, North Central High School, Indianapolis, IN and music director Rick Granlund; Skyler Acconcio, Minnechaug Regional High School, Wilbraham,MA and music director Margaret Reidy; Samuel Garcia-Rodriguez, Pleasanton High School, Pleasanton TX and music director Ralph Unger; isabelle Kramar, Lake Shore Middle School, Mequon, WI and music director Kirsten Ertl.

Check this page September 1, 2017 for the 18th Annual SBO Essay Scholarship Topic and entry form.

Grade 9 to 12 2017 SBO Essay Winners

Dear Mom,

Remember when I was in third grade, learning to play the recorder? I’ll never forget the time you told me to stop playing, but I still persisted. It was a dark, snowy winter evening..and when I wouldn’t stop practicing the recorder, you threw it out into the snow for me to find! I think that you could tell by then that I had a love for music: one that was fostered through my school’s music program.

Fast forward to now, and I am a senior in high school. Throughout my education, I’ve worked with amazing teachers that have driven me to be the best musician possible. As an All-State vocalist and singer within the community, my mentors inspire me to perform at my best,and get even better with each performance afterwards.

Mom, I am going to be like them. I’m going to major in music education, and inspire another third grader to play the recorder at the top of their lungs (with the discretion of a parent, of course). I’ll encourage a seventh grader to hit that high note at the end of her solo in choir. And perhaps, one day, I’ll be coaching a student to write her very own scholarship essay about how the music program at her high school has affected her.

I am destined to inspire the next generation, but I couldn’t have known that without the help of my music educators. I can’t wait to see where this journey leads.

Skyler Acconcio
Grade 12
Age 17
Minnechaung Regional High school
Wilbraham, MA 01095
SBO Essay Scholarship Presentation at Spring Concert. Anita Cooper, Minnechaug Regional High School Choir Director; Tony Falcetti, Falcetti Music, Springfield MA and Skyler Acconcio, 12th grade student winner.

As the drumline captain of the Taft High School Marching Band, music allows me to reach out to those who my feel isolated. Through my marching band and the non-profit organization Music Heals SoCal that I started while a freshman at Taft, my band Mates and I help to organize music events where senior citizen Groups and children with autism can develop motor skills and Hand-eye coordination by playing drums or other percussion Instruments.

We came up with the idea after playing the drums with my cousin Who has autism. I played a simple bet. He copied the beat.

I played another one, and he copied it again. I thought,this works For us it could also work for more people. The responses I have Received from parents has motivated me to keep doing more. One parent whose autistic son participated in one of our Events came to us in tears. She said it was the first time her Son has ever been engaged in an activity for more than five minutes in the last ten years.

I believe everyone has some sort of rhythm inside of them. Pulling that out and getting everyone to come together and Play together is very important. Through my school and Through Music Heals SoCal, I have been able to create a love For music in other students and music lovers. My hope is to Grow my orchestra and reach out to an even larger special Needs and elderly audience.

Laurent Chang
Age 15
Grade 10
William Howard Taft Charter High School
Woodland Hills, CA 91364
Daniel Gruber, essay winner Laurent Chang, William Howard Taft charter High School, Woodland Hills,CA and TJ Milian, Sam Ash Music , Canoga Park, CA

Dear Mom and Dad,

The first time I picked up a trumpet at age ten, I blasted a note and was hooked! I appreciate you supporting my efforts in marching, concert and jazz bands throughout middle and high school. Although I didn’t like the early morning practice sessions or marching in icy parades. I learned discipline and hard work. My music classes have been way for me to refocus, release stress maintain balance in my life, and form lasting friendships. improvising in jazz band challenged my creativity and built my confidence, and I was eager to perform. It was a highlight of my music career to solo with the Metropolitan Jazz Orchestra and taught me that I can achieve challenging goals.

I wanted younger students to enjoy similar experiences, but I realized many students at my former middle school could not afford to rent or buy an instrument. (Nearly three-fourths of the student population qualifies for free or reduced lunch.) I spearheaded a successful instrument donation drive. During the process I learned the importance of thoughtful planning, communications, and adapting to unexpected changes.it was exciting to attend the first concert when students played the donated instruments, and I was humbled as my former band director recognized me with the “Inspired Leadership” award. It was an honor to give back to the community that has given me so much!

Thank you for encouraging me to be actively involved in music. Not only have I learned notes and scales, I’ve improved my character.

Ty Mortensen
Grade 12
Age 17
Longmont High School
Longmont, CO 80501
Longmont CO High School music teachers Daryl Abrahamson and David Merrill flank Ty Mortenson, SBO student scholarship winner and Todd Skaw, Guitars Etc., Longmont music dealer who made the check presentation.

Dear Mom and Dad,

My love for music began in our household as I listened to Dad play his saxophone, danced to the Beatles, or sang along in the car with Mom. My school music program has been the perfect way to continue the love of music that has been fostered at home and encouraged by you both.

My school music program has not only increased both my love and knowledge for music, but it has taught me the value of a strong work ethic. From the rehearsals, auditions, performances, and contests, I have learned the value of hard work and patience in my practicing and rehearsals. First hand, I learned the patience required to practice efficiently, whether it be slowing down the metronome to practice a technical part or focusing on several out of tune notes.

The focus required to rehearse was not only encouraged by my band director, but my peers as well. My school music program has placed me in an environment of students with common goals and a similar work ethic. The program has taught me that goals will not be achieved without role models or leaders. I now aspire to not only improve my skills on my saxophone, but to be a role model to a fellow music lover in my program.

The support I have received from you has allowed me to not only grow as a musician, but as a focused student and leader in my school music program.

Kathryn Petersen
Grade 12
Age 18
North Central High School
Indianapolis, IN 46240
(left to right) Rick Granlund, Director of Bands at North Central High School, Tim Dawson, Paige’s Music Indianapolis,IN, Kathryn Peterson Essay Winner, Andy Brinkman, Assistant Director of Bands, Mike Akers, Assistant Principal at North Central High School.

Dear Mom,

I love my school’s music program because it challengers and reinforces my passion for music and my creativity for this form of expression. Pleasanton High School’s music program has empowered, molded, and expanded my mind and has broadened my horizon in many ways. Growing up in a small town, we are often judged prematurely and underestimated. I am proud to be a part of my schools band program because we are not typical students. When we perform we often blow away our audience with our unexpected skill and talent. But that is not the only reason I take pride in my band.

Unlike other classes that just teach lessons out of a book, band teaches us real world lessons that you don’t learn in any other class. When we go out to public places one of the first things we are complimented on, besides our playing, is our behavior and attitude. We are constantly told how “well behaved” and “mature” we are which is something we take great pride in.

Being an only child of a single parent, I have always been shy and introverted. However, being in the music program, I have learned how to be more outgoing and confident in my abilities as a musician and as an academic student.

Thank you Mom for allowing and supporting me as a member of my school’s music program. I have evolved so much and am a greater individual for it.

Samuel Garcia-Rodriguez
Grade 10
Age 16
Pleasanton High School
Pleasanton, TX 78064
.Adriana Flores, Alamo Music, San Antonio; Samuel Garcia-Rodriguez, 10’th grade scholarship winner at Pleasanton High School, Pleasanton, TX and Band Director Ralph Unger.

Grade 4 to 8 Grade 2017 SBO Essay Winners

A note to my parents, I love my school music program Because…

Music is a way to express yourself
In more ways than you’d ever think
It helps with your pride of oneself
Once you started you’ll never want to rethink!

Music increases your memory
You could memorize the whole telephone directory!
Music boosts your social skills
You might be able to get away without paying the dinner bill.

Music helps your concentration
So much, you could take over the nation.
Music teaches discipline of all sorts
You could be a lawyer at different courts.

Music reduces stage fright
I can’t promise about those horror movies you watch at night.
Music helps your math ability
It’ll make your counting have a bit more credibility!

Music represents the different periods
It lets you learn about the different times experienced.
Music is a way of life
I know it’s a bit cliché but it’s right!

Last but not least music is very fun to play
It may even be your ticket to Broadway

So that’s why I’m thankful and love that I’m in my school music Program

I could go on and on, but by the time I would have finished you Would be in Birmingham.

Rhea Bhatia
Grade 7
Age 12
Sycamore School
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Candi Granlund, Director of Bands at Sycamore School, Indianapolis with scholarship winner Rhea Bhatia and Tim Dawson, Paige’s Music, Indianapolis

Dear Parents,

I love my school music program because it introduced me to my Best friend, music. She calms my mind, fills me with joy, and Helps me relax. Whenever I want a friend, I pick up my Saxophone. I love to practice at home because our dog sings Along! When I play music, I am never alone. There is always the Melody in my head. As soon as I play rhe first few notes, my mind Is already keeping time. My lungs build up the oxygen to play as My toes start to tap. Our whole bodies work together to create a Single beautiful sound! Band class is my favorite part of the day. There I can hear how my sound blends with everyone else’s. It is Fun to play alone, but it is the best when we all get to play Together. Instruments are just like ingredients, making a perfect meal. The low and mellow notes from the low voices give a great base. The brassy notes of the trumpets add a little flavor. Sprinkle in the French horns to make the meal have a mild kick. The flutes are next, their light taste can be hard to find, but has a vital role. The clarinets are like a sauce, one of the final touches, but they Make everything more pleasing. And lastly, the best of them all If I do say so myself, are the saxophones. They are the umami, that Makes us want more.

Georgia Bott
Grade 6
Age 12
Sycamore School
Indianapolis, IN 46260
Candi Granlund, Director of Bands at Sycamore School, Indianapolis, Georgia Bott, student winner, Tim Dawson, Paige’s Music, Indianapolis.

I Love My School Music Program

Have you ever had a special teacher, one who touched your heart and enhanced your life in so many ways? That teacher for me is Mrs. Nelson, the most special musician and band teacher ever. She is what I love about my school music program and why I love music to the intense degree I do. I am entering this contest to say thanks for all she has done for me. I play the harp, an unusual school band instrument, and strive to be a professional musician someday. Mrs Nelson works hard to help me learn and reach my goal, as she does for all students. I can still learn from her, even though I am more advanced than my peers.( I have been playing longer and taking private lessons) She works very hard to let me play in the band. For example, she uses persona; resources to obtain real harp parts to play. She is really committed to teaching and to her students, and I know I am lucky to know her. I wouldn’t be where I am without Mrs. Nelson, who means so much to me. When I can’t look back, and when it is hard to look forward, I can look at my side and count on Mrs. Nelson being there help me. Having a teacher as supportive as Mrs. Nelson is what I love most about my school music program.

Lindsay Haukom
Age 13
Grade 8
Plainfield Central Middle School
Plainfield, CT 06374
L to R: Scholarship winner Lindsay Haukom, Plainfield Central Middle School, Plainfield CT.; Music & Arts Educational Sales Representative Clyde Proch and Music Director Megan Nelson

A scary thought came to my head
As I propped myself up from the bed
What if, four years ago when I was about to start
Our school music program had fallen apart

The cello and I would not have met
And learning it would not have been my best bet
The cello would not have been my new start
Nor would it be part of my heart.

The friends that I made
The community concerts I have played
The experience of working together
Truly made my life better

I learned to act upon the joy I could bring
Playing this simple and wonderful thing
Not for the prize, or for the fame
But for the audience’s gain

These skills that I was taught were so unique
It was learning the language of music and how to speak
I was taught how to play and express my soul
But if the program concluded, I would instead have a deep, dark Black hole

Although a piece of wood some may see
That’s not at all what the cello is to me
I learned a wonderful thing
Passion and effort is what makes the cello sing.

This scary thought that had come to my head, it was bad
Mom, Dad
I love my school music program because of the skills and joys I can share
Without the school music program my life would be in great

Isabelle Kramar
Grade 8
Age 14
Lake Shore Middle School
Mequon, WI 53092
Kirsten Ertl, Music Director Lake Show Middle School with 8th grade SBO essay winner Isabelle Kramar. The check presentation was made by Chris White, White House of Music, Waukesha, WI.

A note to my parents, I love my music program because I get to learn about and enjoy all types of music. In band I have been introduced to jazz music which I really like. I have also been taught how to play flute and have learned about music techniques and theory.

I enjoy hearing all the different instruments playing various songs. All the different instruments playing together create a wonderful harmony. Whether it is high or low sounding, smooth or jazzy, all the different instruments bringing the sound together.

I love the days when we get to band class and we receive new music. It is challenging to learn new music but it is also enjoyable because I also love all types of music. In band class I was introduced to jazz music and have found I really like that style of music. I love the smooth, swinging beat of jazz, especially the various instruments that are used in jazz music.

The biggest reason I love my music program is my teacher. He is a nice and caring person but has so much knowledge about music that he shares with the class. He has taught the class how to play various instruments and techniques to play better.

I am very fortunate to be in this music program and to learn under such a fine teacher. I feel my school music program is the best in my city. Thank you for giving me this opportunity to play and enjoy music.

Isabella Woodham
Grade 7
Age 13
Floyd Middle Magnet School
Montgomery. AL 36111
Matt King-Art’s Music Shop, Isabella Woodham-Contest Winner, Coleman Woodson-Band Director.


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