Second Time Around

Mike Lawson • Archives • February 12, 2009

One of the age-old questions facing the music industry and a variety of education al organizations is what happens to student musicians after they finish high school. Some do go on to play in college bands, but only very small percentages continue to perform in other ensembles after college. It is quite unfortunate that the end of high school is the time when most student musicians put away their instruments for the final time. However, this doesn’t necessarily have to be the end of the story.

There are many opportunities emerging for people who want to continue enriching their lives through musical activities. During a recent conversation with Dr. Michael Mazarissi of Performing Arts Consultants at the recent Midwest Band & Orchestra Clinic, he informed me of a band called the Awesome Original Second Time Arounders, which is a group out of the St. Petersburg, Fla. area comprised of approximately 500 members, making it one of the largest marching bands in the country. This ensemble features an extraordinary membership which ranges in age from 18 to 85 and is directed by former band director and music store owner, Bill Findeison, who founded the group in 1983. Many adult players come from hundreds of miles around the Southeast to be involved in this unique band. They have performed at a variety of events around the US and overseas, providing these musicians with a great outlet for their musical passion.

Further north, in Orleans, Massachusetts, there is another unique group called The Spirit of America, which features a wide variety of ensembles, including a field band, marching band, wind ensemble, fife and drum corps, and winter percussion. The unique aspect of this organization is that it includes parents and their children as performers, providing a great opportunity for them to bond through their shared love and joy of music. This band has also won numerous awards and has traveled worldwide to a variety of exhibitions and competitions, including the prestigious championships of the World Association of Marching Bands in Jeju, South Korea.

The New Horizons bands, which are located all over the country, offer a more relaxed, non-competitive environment for folks that may have played while growing up and want to have an opportunity to perform again. The Association of Concert Bands lists over 1,400 members of community bands and ensembles. According to their Web site, this “includes bands, individuals, and corporations who are uniquely dedicated and equipped to serve the needs of adult instrumental musicians who perform in and lead community bands.”

All of the time and effort that goes into educating students musically may be transferred into a lifelong passion if young musicians are informed of the wonderful possibilities awaiting them after graduation. Performing music as an adult is a great way to relieve stress after a hard day of work and provide a network of social contacts, in addition to enriching one’s life through music.

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