I recently received an important question from an HSMA parent:
"I heard we are no longer participating in the MSBOA. Is that true? If so, what should we do if we still want to do S & E and All State Honors Band?"
The short answer is that we are no longer participating in the MSOA, but we are excited to roll out a viable, credible alternative for things the MSBOA used to offer us for the 2014-2015 season. The new things we are doing will be similar enough to what we have been doing to be familiar, yet different enough to provide exciting opportunities that did not previously exist.
In May 2014, we and all other home school music groups who had been members of the MSBOA were informed that we were no longer eligible for membership. To be fair to the MSBOA, the leadership makes decisions that they believe to be in the best interest of the organization. However, we believe the MSBOA leadership made this particular decision based on misconception, innuendo, and in some cases willful ignorance, rather than on facts. There is some controversy within the MSBOA on this issue, with many in the membership supportive of our continued membership in the MSBOA.
My counterpart in Oakland Homeschool Music and I have seen this coming for some time. In 2011, I wrote a preliminary plan for how we might deal with this type of situation, and he and I are now busy improving upon and implementing this plan.
This year, we will have the following activities available that the MSBOA used to provide. There is a LOT of detail behind each of these activities . . . more at the end of this article on where to obtain additional information!
- Solo & Ensemble Festival – we will have Jr. High and Sr. High S&E (including proficiencies). Rather than District and State, we will have a single festival. This festival will replace BOTH the MSBOA S&E festivals and the Spring Arbor festival.
- Band & Orchestra Festival – As we have the last couple of years, we will be joining other home school groups (and a few others!) in our own B&O festival. This replaces the MSBOA B&O Festival.
- Honors Programs – We will have All-Michigan Honors Band and Honors Orchestra and a Concerto Competition, to give outstanding students a MYAF-like experience. This Honors Program is very different from what we used to have with the Home School Music Network in the past. We adapted the MYAF model, where proficiency scores determine participation. In addition, we will have an Honors Recital (separate from the HSMA Honors Recital) where some of the best S&E events will perform.
Two important caveats to the above:
- Initially, this will only apply to instrumental students. We do not currently have a problem with the MSVMA. Our motto is that we need to get this right before we get it big, and so we will be adding features and services in the near future, including provision for vocal S&E and honors programs.
- HSMA will continue to hold a separate, in-house S&E program for our younger and least experienced students – and it will continue to include Mr. Case’s Pizza Party!
These activities will be under the umbrella of the Youth Arts Coalition, which will be made up of not only home school groups, but to schools as well. We have already identified a few schools to help pilot this program, so that we can be as meaningful and inclusive as possible as we roll the program out.
These activities are not just “ideas” – we have been working hard to make them a reality this year. At the October 13 rehearsal, this will be the topic of the Monday Night Q&A (6:45, Fireside Room). I would encourage everyone to attend this session to get the details of this new, exciting program!