2009 Essay Scholarship Winners

Mike Lawson • Features • February 9, 2011

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SUBJECT: “How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?”

The following ten students are recipients of the 2008 essay scholarship, “”How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?””

Each student will receive a $1,000 scholarship award from SCHOOL BAND AND ORCHESTRA and co-sponsors, Alfred Publishing, SupportMusic.com, Hershey Fund Raising, National Association of Music Merchants, Yamaha Corporation of American, Music For All and Avedis Zildjian Co.

Check this web-site September 1, 2009 for a new essay scholarship. To the many thousands of students who entered the essay contest, and to their music directors, we thank you.

SCHOOL BAND AND ORCHESTRA. Sidney Davis [email protected] Group Publisher

Symphony Publishing School Band and Orchestra

21 Highland Circle, Suite 1 Needham MA 02494. Tel: 800-964-5150 Extension 13 Fax: 781-453-9389

2008 Essay Scholarship Winners

Timothy Anderson Franklin High School 900 North Resler El Paso, TX 79912 Age 17 Grade 12 Music Director: Bruce Beach

Allison Wrenn Thomas Cesk Zadeja Music High School Ferizaj, Republic of Kosovo Age 18 Grade 12 Music Director: Lindita Isufi

Lilian Chou Wheaton Warrensville South High 1993 Tiger Tail Wheaton, IL 60189 Age 16 Grade 11 Music Director: Krista Halvorson

Enrique Garcia Lincoln High School 4777 Imperial Avenue San Diego, CA 92113 Age 17 Grade 11 Music Director: Deborah Nevin

Jonathan Ho Andrew High School 3200 Senter Road San Jose, CA 95121 Age 17 Grade 12 Music Director: Tom Eschenfelder

Alexis Sell Pulaski Middle School 911 South St. Augustine Street Pulaski, WI 54162 Age 14 Grade 8 Music Director:Timothy Kolovsky

Paola Batarseh School No. 1 32 Stevens Avenue Little Falls, NJ 07424 Age 12 Grade 7 Music Director: Jonathan Kruzel

Steven Gonzalez Michael Fossum Middle School 7800 North Ware Road McAllen, TX 78504 Age 13 Grade 8 Music Director: RobertHochstetler

Ashleigh Cox Five Forks Middle School 3250 River Drive Lawrenceville, GA 30044 Age 14 Grade 8 Music Director: Joe Bader

Gavin Scott Glasgow Middle School 4101 Fairfax Parkway Alexandria, VA 22312 Age 12 Grade 7 Music Director: Lynette Blacksten SBO ESSAY SUBMISSION (10 essays )

  • Paola Batarseh
  • Little Falls School
  • Little Falls, NJ
  • Grade: 7
  • Age: 12



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

Music is something that can unite people from all different backgrounds. I have noticed that in my school music brings everyone together. In my community we all are different but all understand the power of music. Also everyone in my community feels more united with each other because of the ways music has brought us all together. Music has also showed us more of different cultures and customs. Over the past few years I have learned about music from places all around the world and this has taught me more of different places and people. Music is something that everyone understands. We all speak different languages but we can all relate and understand each other with music. I have seen how music can settle differences among people with different cultures. This week I read of an Israeli conductor who united with a Palestinian musician and together formed an orchestra that brings together young Israeli and Arab musicians. This orchestra is an example of how music can unite cultures and make a difference in conflicts throughout the world. Music is very important and without it my school and community would be missing many diverse and interesting parts. I am proud to be able to play an instrument and have the chance to learn and unite with other cultures.

  • Timothy Anderson
  • Franklin High School
  • El Paso, TX
  • Grade:12
  • Age: 17



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

I live in El Paso, Texas, which, with the adjacent city of Juarez, Mexico, forms one of the largest bi-national metropolitan areas in the world. In this region, one cannot help but be immersed in the cultural diffusion taking place between the United States and Mexico. The distinct musical styles of each country have influenced my development as a percussionist tremendously, introducing me to new instruments and techniques. On my high school’s drumline, which I was a part of for two years, we took pride in being able to present a uniquely Latin American approach to our marching shows and percussive pieces. Our long days of practicing and experimentation paid off in 2006, when my drumline won 2nd place in the standstill division at the PASIC convention in Austin, Texas.

In my classes at school, I have extensively studied the music of Mexico and Latin America. My guitar class has played a large role in this, as my teacher is an avid Flamenco guitar player and often discusses the importance of music in various cultures. It is truly fascinating how music has inspired everything from pre-Columbian civilizations to modern-day Mexican cities, stimulating artistic movements and cultural growth. I am deeply grateful that I have had the opportunity to experience such a rich and diverse musical education.

I have seen how music has united cultures and opened minds. Music is a language that can overcome any physical boundary, expressing thoughts, feelings, and passions in a way that words never will.

  • Gavin Scott
  • Glasgow Middle School
  • Falls Church, VA
  • Grade:7
  • Age: 12



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

Music is a common language that brings all cultures together. As a band student at Glasgow Middle School I have experienced playing with students from 12 different cultures. Some of the students I have played with are from China, Japan and Asia and Latin American.

I have learned about many different cultures socially and musically by being in the band. Socially, I am beginning to learn and appreciate different types of music such as British, Asian and South American music. Being in a multi-cultural band we all share a common knowledge of the musical language and the instruments we have chosen to play. Together we unite to learn band music, which is new to all of us. Most of us have never heard real concert band music, so it is something we learn together as a group.

There are many points of view as to why its important to unite as a band. First, it gives us an understanding of playing in a group. Second, we make long term friendships and lastly we learn how important music is. There are many people at Glasgow that I would have not met or become friends with if we didn’t have Band. I have new friends and we spend hours together learning new types of music, competing for chairs and performing concerts. Playing with my musical peers helps sooth the tension at school. That is how music unites my school, Glasgow Middle School.

  • Ashleigh Cox
  • Five Forks Middle School
  • Lawrenceville, GA
  • Grade:8
  • Age: 14



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

Music can unite people from many different cultures in ways of language, relating to people of different ethnic groups, and bringing together classmates from different cultural backgrounds. Music conveys messages that everyone can understand. My little sister was adopted from Bulgaria, and when she first came to America, she did not know English. The first things she learned in English were songs. She would sing them to my family to communicate. Music can not only be used for cross-cultural communication, but it can be used to learn languages when put to words like the ABCs. Listening to music in different languages can also be a good way to relate to people that speak other languages.

Discussing styles of music can be an interesting conversation topic for people of any culture. Some groups playing Mexican songs perform in parking lots of grocery stores for the whole community to hear. This is an excellent way to unite different cultures within the community.

We also unite different cultures through music at school. Our band class contains people from many different cultures, and we play songs originated from places all over the world. In Physical Education class, we learn dances to music from many different cultures. Learning songs from different cultures may motivate us to learn more about the culture and better understand the people. We can also blend styles of music from many different cultures into one song. This can help us relate to people of every nationality in our town.

  • Alexis Sell
  • Pulaski Middle School
  • Pulaski, WI
  • Grade:8
  • Age: 14



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

Thank you for reading my essay about How Music Unites Cultures Within My School and Community.

I live in a small town in Northeast Wisconsin where 97.4% of the people living here are white. I am African American. I really didn’t notice how different I was until Middle School when cliques started dividing kids into groups by looks, money, grades, and popularity. We all scrambled to find somewhere to belong. I have many friends but I don’t have a clique. The place where I feel the most comfortable is in band.

In band, I found friendship, respect, and dignity. There is no difference in my color, how I dress, or who I know, there is just our music. We create something together, that we could not do alone. When we work and play together, something happens that is more than just different people playing different parts. My mom calls it synergy, the Pulaski Community calls is pride.

The Pulaski School Bands have high goals and expectations. We have been honored to perform in many nationally recognized events. You can get more information from our website at www.pulaskimusicboosters.com.

For me to win this contest would prove that music unites cultures within my school and community in two ways. First, it will help raise the tuition I need to represent Pulaski and explore the cultures and music in Europe with the People to People Ambassador Program this summer. Second, as a minority, this recognition would remind everyone in the Pulaski community that music brings us together, regardless of our differences.

  • Jonathan Ho
  • Andrew Hill High School
  • San Jose, CA
  • Grade:12
  • Age: 17



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

I grew up as the stereotypical Asian kid who took piano lessons and performed alone. However, becoming a band geek in 5th grade changed my life because it united me with fellow musicians and gave me true friendship. Now, as the Drum Major of the Andrew Hill Marching Band, I see the value of music in my school and community because music does not discriminate. It serves everyone.

My high school band is filled with people from all walks of life: nerds, athletes, activists, and party animals, but we all contribute something to the musical platter. I am a baritone player who was trained in classical piano, and to contrast this, there are saxophone players who play in mariachi bands as well as percussionists who can rip on an electric guitar. Our diversity makes us stronger everyday, and no matter what happens in the outside world, music is there to provide an outlet for our emotions.

The communion that music produces is inherent because music is something greater than all the differences we may have. It unites us by allowing us to breathe and communicate together. In the greater community, it bridges the gap between students with different ethnicities, religions, economic classes, and musical style preferences. People come to see the band, and this celebration strengthens the sense of community. In a school without resources, music provides comfort to those who need it, and I have found that despite all our cultural differences, we come together for music.

  • Enrique Garcia
  • Lincoln High School
  • San Diego, CA
  • Grade:11
  • Age: 17



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

Music has no boundaries or limits as to who can enjoy its wondrous magic. Thankfully Lincoln High School has a great music program that enables students to find a common bond and work hard towards producing something great for the community and themselves. Diversity as far as ethnicity, economic status, and gender is noted within our music program. Sadly, the community where our school is located is plagued by gang violence, racial tension, and economic hardships. The open and welcome atmosphere created by our music program enables students to have a clean, progressive activity to occupy their time as well as create life long friendships. Music gives students a sense of belonging and a vision of unity in our school and community.

Not only does music unite cultures but it also creates one within our community. Our community is primarily minority; so many people were shocked to see high school kids performing orchestra holiday songs at our trolley stops. With the help of volunteers and city council, the “Holiday Entertainment Series” included fellow peers and I, and showed that even through adversity students can excel in the arts. Many people were uplifted to see and hear classical melodies played live by inner-city kids while they waited for the trolley or bus. Music plays a huge role in the culture that defines our community; one of diversity and progress.

  • Steven Gonzalez
  • Michael Fossum Middle School
  • McAllen, TX
  • Grade:8
  • Age: 13



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

The squealing of a soloing guitar against the explosion of a drum fill, the soothing tone of an alto saxaphone, and a driving drumbeat along with a funky bass line. These are just a few sounds that can be heard in many different genres of music all across the world. Just about every person in the world has a favorite type of music, so it is clear music plays a very important role in daily life. So why is music so important? Music sooths a hurting soul, gives hope to those in struggle, brings people together, and gives an outlet of expression. One of the most important things is to bring a community together. Whether there is a wedding, funeral, or celebration there is always music. Music has a way of uniting people from different cultures that have one common interest. Music. Just as music crosses genre borders, it crosses country borders and cultural borders. In my community, there are many different cultures. It is very common to see people of different cultures together. I think music plays a part in this. When you discover that you share a common interest with another person, it is a lot easier to connect and be friends with that person. I see this in my community, as well as my school, where music is that common interest. Even through discrimination and racism today, music still brings many people of different cultures together around the world and in my own community and school.

  • Allison Wrenn Thomas
  • Cesk Zadeja Music High School
  • Raleigh, NC
  • Grade:12
  • Age: 18



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

As an American attending a music high school in the war-torn country of Kosovo, I have had the privilege to witness firsthand the power of music to unite diverse cultures. Music has opened the door to many personal friendships with Kosovars that I will cherish for life. Music has also become a bridge between the local Muslim community and the American Peacekeeping Forces. I remember the first time American soldiers visited our dilapidated school. Curiosity and tension vibrated in the air until Liridon sat down to the piano. As a Kosovar folk song filled the room, the atmosphere dissolved into smiles and applause: we had found a common language. The soldiers came often after that. They invited us to perform on their base and also attended our school concerts. As the only American attending this local school, I was increasingly drawn upon as an interpreter, liaison and musical consultant.

A particular highlight was a 4th of July concert sponsored by the local community for U.S. soldiers. City hall was packed with Kosovars and Americans. I”l never forget everyone rising to their feet as my classmate, Beltina, and I sang the first notes of the American national anthem. The program continued with a lively mixture of local folk songs and American patriotic songs performed by our school choir and instrumentalists. It was a privilege to be a part of these musical events which brought together the U.S. Forces and the local Kosovar community, contributing to peace in the world’s newest republic.

  • Lilian Chou
  • Wheaton Warrenville South High
  • Warrenville, IL
  • Grade:11
  • Age: 16



How Does Music Unite Cultures Within Your School and Community?

In elementary school, I began to realize that I looked and acted slightly different than other classmates. My mom used to come into my classrooms and discuss Chinese culture for a day in celebration of the Chinese New Year. However, I never realized that many different cultures existed throughout my community until I encountered collective music-making. When I joined school orchestra in fourth grade to add the violin to my life, I unwittingly added a new universe of language and culture to my life as well.

Music immediately unites two people. A unique bond forms when I meet someone, such as meeting my Jewish classmate, and find out she plays the piano too. Suddenly, I can understand her culture a little because we can reminisce about “that Beethoven sonata” together. In my school orchestra, my stand partner is Filipino, and I have a Nepali friend, as well as a Lithuanian and French friend, all of whom I met in orchestra. Cultural barriers melt away, though, when we secretly share a musical language through melodies of Grieg or Mendelssohn.

In essence, music creates a new community with an exciting language and culture. Communication evolves to a new level. At a summer music camp I attended, three weeks spent with other musicians created an uncanny bond through the chamber music we discovered together. A unique culture emerges when people from diverse cultures pour out their souls and emotions and twist together a new musical language fraught with a distinctive personality and unity.

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