Star-Bulletin Features

Thursday, April 22, 1999

Bands put youth
talent on parade

By Burl Burlingame


Listen carefully and you'll hear the sound of high school bands through Saturday -- and that's just the overture.

The 52nd annual Oahu Band Directors Association Music Festival kicks off today with a "Parade of Bands" 4:30 p.m. at McKinley High, with more to come at 3:30 p.m. tomorrow at McKinley and 6 p.m. Saturday at Pearl City Cultural Center.

It's an alternative to the usual high-school athletic events, though no less important. "I've had my own kids take both music and athletics, to become better rounded," said OBDA festival chair Gerald Nichols.

"Research shows that music education has a considerable effect on the development of a child's intellect. Typically, a kid who's taking music scores 30 to 50 points higher on their SATs, and the more music they take, the higher they score."

Private schools are aware of this synergy, and typically have about 13 to 14 music teachers on staff, while public schools have only a handful, said Nichols.

Cuts in school budgets have affected music education, but "it's about the same as other departments," said Nichols. "The biggest problem, actually, is when public schools set up schedules that make it impossible for kids to take music.

"For example, Farrington's schedule only requires four courses," and music is the first elective to go. As a result, he said, Farrington has no musical presence in this year's festival.

Each evening offers a different mix of high-school bands. Tonight it's Punahou, Maui, Roosevelt, St. Andrews, Kailua, Kaiser, Kalani, Kaimuki and Castle.

Tomorrow, it's Konawaena, Punahou, Waipahu, Moanalua, Iolani, Mid-Pacific, St. Louis, UHHS, Kahuku and Kalani.

Saturday, it's Waianae, Mililani, Pearl City, King Kekaulike, McKinley and Waipahu.

On the morning of the Saturday "Parade," there's an "Advanced Intermediate Parade of Bands" running 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. at the Pearl City Cultural Center, featuring bands from St. Louis, Kalakaua, Dole, Washington, Niu Valley, Kaimuki, King, Moanalua, Iolani, Mililani, Pearl City and Highlands schools.

It gets serious in May. There's a "High School Select Band" concert and a "9th Grade Select Band Concert" at 7:30 p.m. May 1 at McKinley; a "High School Select Jazz Ensemble," "8th Grade Select Band Concert" and "7th Grade Honor Band," all at 7:30 p.m. May 8 at McKinley; and a "7th and 8th Grade Parade of Bands" 8:30 a.m. to 2 p.m. May 14 at the BYU-Hawaii campus, with bands from Kahuku, Dole, Washington, King, Christian Academy, Ilima, Stevenson, Kaimuki and Waipahu.

The cost is $3 for the parades, $5 for the select concerts; kids under 10 are free.

Information: 396-1340.

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