Even after a span 30 years of visits to the Mid-West International Band and Orchestra Conference, “People, Places and Performances” were a significant part of this tribal gathering of music educators from across America and the globe.
To describe the Mid-West as one major net-working organisation is an understatement. It is impossible to enter the world of the most prestigious music educator’s conference without encountering a warmth of welcome second to none.
President of the Board of Directors, Professor Richard Craine was on hand to warmly welcome the contingent from Archbishop Beck Catholic College. He assured us that over the coming days we would be “Enlightened, Entertained and Encouraged” in our work as music educators. The Mid West gave and outstanding degree of professional growth, an amazing opportunity of networking with top professional from all corners of the globe all wrapped up in an inspirational atmosphere second to none. From the Wednesday morning concert by “The President’s Own” Band Chamber Ensembles to the Saturday Grand Finale concert by the Tokyo Geidai Wind Orchestra, there was exemplary school, adult and professional bands, orchestra, jazz and chamber ensembles from across America and around the globe. 2016 conference saw an incredible number of the world’s leading iconic pedagogues, who presented outstanding master classes in all areas of instrumental music.
The highlights were many, but to name a few, attending the 70th Anniversary Gala Dinner. At this event the President reminded all that when the “first Mid-West occurred in 1946, petrol was 21 cents a gallon, it started with 3 music educators who over the years guided the Mid-West to have the special relationship it developed amongst American music educators. An amazing legacy from the 3 founding Bandmasters”. An inspirational concert given by the United States Marines Band gave great insight into an amazing organisation. The most famous conductor was the 15th Director of Music John Phillip Sousa.
Mr Hicks was also able to meet up with Dr Peter Meechan who has been commissioned by the college to write a special work for the college concert band, with the central theme the “River Mersey.” This will have its world premiere at the college later this year.
Mr Hicks was accompanied by Junior Band Director Mr Tratt who on return to the UK reflected “every music educator should have the opportunity to attend the Mid-West an outstanding event for music educators not to be missed. I cannot wait to go again.”