The current social problems occurring in the rural ‘middle’ of the United States are causing an incredible level of fear of the ‘other’ that is permeating current zeitgeist. There are a lot of people shouting at each other, and few people are listening to what the opposition has to say. Clearly some kind of revolutionary change is at hand. Somehow, people must be brought together to realize that we all have the same goal: to live in a safe and vibrant community.
“We’ve Got Brass” (WGB) can help to do that. The program is not just about creating a band festival; it uses the assets and human capital of the whole community to create a celebration that honours its roots and inspires its future: to create an intergenerational down-reaching band program, bringing the heartbeat back to the heartland. This mission is formulated from an array of readings from music education, music education philosophy, community music and music education psychology. “We’ve Got Brass” places the person above the product, creating a program that endeavours to create community cohesion by focusing on a shared goal. Laughter and joy are touchstones in the process along with methods in conflict management. Music learning in WGB places high value on autonomy supported education and participatory music making.
The first Prezi on my website is meant to recruit members to the project: a three day band festival for rural communities that puts instruments in the hands of the adults that used to play where we can find them (bars, churches, quilting bees etc.) then gradually bringing the members of the existing high school band to join them, bringing about a community band by degrees. This project is meant to move from community to community, gradually bringing generations together to create community bands that are integrated with schools.
The second Prezi is for funders. I aim to ask local social organizations like the Kiwanis or the Rotary to fund the program as it’s important that the community owns it, that it doesn’t seem like someone speeding into a small town to fix all of their problems sophisticated knowledge and money from the city to save the residents from themselves.
I made these presentations in collaboration with Louise Damiano, a Italian graphic designer; Paul O’Brien, an Irish composer that composed and arranged the music that became my soundtrack; the Gormanston Band Camp Massed Band conducted by Liam Daly in which I played the flute. .
Here’s all the research, all the writing. The whole enchilada. If you want to know everything, here it is.
(a rhetorical question at this point.)
What I really need now is a pilot community, ready to take a leap to see if this will actually work!