The Last Graduate

Our third and final child graduated from high school  last night.  It was a big moment for over 500 kids at Noblesville.  Here are a few of the shots from last night’s festivities.

Dancing the Night Away

We’ve truly enjoyed living in Noblesville; if for no other reason than the performing and visual arts programs at the Noblesville schools.  Over the years, our kids have been in musicals, dramas, choral groups, string ensembles, concert bands, marching bands and jazz bands.

Last night was another amazing example of the talent and hard work these kids dedicate to their art.  Their directors help them shine.

Below are a few pictures of the fantastic performances that the audience was privileged to enjoy.

The Noblesville High School Jazz Cafe

I was a band kid.  I played French Horn in Concert Band.  I played Melophone in Pep Band. I assisted with percussion from time to time and even learned the fingerings for the F-Trumpet for marching band. 

I get the band scene.  I’ve been there and done that.

But nothing in my history compares to the magic that happens at Noblesville High School when it comes to their music department and tonight was just another amazing example of the visionary leadership that makes this program so special.

In the course of six short years, my son has discovered that power of music because of the wonderful leadership that he has received from Mr. White, Ms. Robinson and Mrs. Hanlin.

He’s learned about music, sure.  But he’s also learned much more.  He’s learned the discipline that comes from marching band.  He’s gained the confidence that comes from jazz band.  He’s gained leadership skills from directing the Jr. High band.  He’s found reassurance in being asked to be a student assistant for the bands.

“Music is a moral law,” said Plato.  “It gives soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and charm and gaiety to life and to everything.”

The band directors at NHS have given my son a great gift.  And I can never thank them enough.


It’s Band Day Again!

Noblesville Marching Miller Seniors line up for a group photograph during the Ice Cream Social event Wednesday night.

For the 4th straight year we are headed to the Indiana State Fairgrounds to enjoy an entire day of marching band entertainment.

We will enjoy bands of every size and caliber throughout the day…all playing with the hope of making it into the Sweet Sixteen and the all-important Night Show.

Band Day is the culmination of many hard hours of work for these kids.  Nearly 50 bands, ranging in size from a dozen kids to more than 200 have invested hundreds of hours marching, playing, shouting and this summer, sweating.  They’ve run drills, completed jumping jacks and push ups.  They’ve stood at attention and memorized formations.  In short, they’ve given their all to these events.

And so, today we will see who has the best show.  We will learn which group can out-perform the others.  Today is the day many of these kids have been preparing for all summer.

Good Luck, Marching Millers!

A Jazzy Day

My son, Ben has joined the Jazz Band at his school.  He is the one in the white tie bopping in the upper right-hand corner of most of this song.  He loves his music and takes it very seriously – but never fails to have a good time.

Today’s event was a great opportunity to play on a big stage.  Ball State’s Emens Auditorium hosted Dimensions in Jazz and the band did a great job.

Thanks to their director, Ms. Robinson who sets a great example for all the kids by playing a pretty mean jazz set herself.

Good Job, Band!

A Moment on the Fifty

Yesterday was State Fair Band Day at the Indiana State Fair.  We followed the kids to the fairgrounds and enjoyed a wonderful show during the afternoon session.  The kids worked so hard for this day and it showed.  They moved well, played strong and made their community proud.

As for the Austin Family, it was an especially proud moment when our son, Ben took his position on the 50 yard line and the remaining trumpets formed the arch around him.  He blasted his notes with articulation and timbre.

There weren’t any solo performances in Noblesville’s show.  Every individual is part of the bigger unit and they worked together to make it a great show.

Even so, the star of the show in our eyes was our own son who enjoyed his time on the 50 yard line; a moment in the spotlight and we are thrilled for him and are proud of his hard work.

Good Job, Noblesville!  Great Job, Ben!

Piano Man

My son is 10, soon to be 11.  His school provides a music class in which the students are introduced to the piano.  My son loves it.  Every evening he finds his way to our keyboard and pecks out familiar tunes.  He’s pretty good, too.

As part of the class, the teacher provides an opportunity for the kids to perform for the parents. And so, we, the proud parents, file into the school and find seats on the risers of the music room. A piano is pointed toward the crowd like a loaded gun. And believe me, some of these kids use it like a weapon.

The youth file in.  Nervous little rows of children find seats and await their turn.  One at a time they make their way to the piano.  They stand beside the big black instrument and introduce themselves and the music they are about to play.  Most of the kids are so intimidated that you can’t even hear their names.  When they find the seat behind the keys, they are timid and shy.  Others just want it to be over and play so fast and hard that you are unable to recognize any of the notes or the song they are playing.

As a hobby I keep lists and I couldn’t help but start a list of the songs these kids were tickling from the ivories, one agonizing finger at a time. On one hand, I was surprised by the variety. On the other hand, I was not surprised by the repetition. Below is my list and the number of times each piece was played.

1 time each: Bingo, Scooby-Doo Theme, Bridal March, Star Spangled Banner, Any Dream Will Do, Lean on Me, Ding Dong the Witch is Dead, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, Snake Charmer, A Spoon Full of Sugar, and Puff the Magic Dragon

2 times: Chop Sticks
Be Our Guest (from Beauty & the Beast)

3 times: This Land is Your Land

4 times: The Lion Sleeps Tonight
Yankee Doodle
It’s A Small World
America The Beautiful

6 times: Star Wars

7 times: Ode to Joy

I am happy to report that Beethoven’s work stood the test of time and the 5th grade music class. But I will admit that Star Wars was a very close second and actually led the pack for a while.

My son, Ben played two classics. He offered the moving rendition of Puff the Magic Dragon and rounded out his performance with a soulful interpretation of Ode to Joy. I thought it was the best version of the day.

The music aside, which is easy to do, I did have one other observation during my time in the miniture seats of the music room for 10 year olds: These kids are very flexible. Throughout the concert, each kid nearly broke their necks looking over their shoulders to see if their mother, father, grandmother, or aunt was watching. With their mouths contorted, their arms flailing, their eyebrows in deep furrows, they made every effort to find their supporters. And when contact was made the relief on their innocent faces was obvious. Smiles spread wide. Nervous guestures and waves followed. It was repeated by nearly every kid in the room. It was worth the price of admission.