Posts Tagged ‘music’

It’s official now. Summer has arrived in Marshall, Michigan on the gentle June evening breezes in Stewart’s Landing and the first Marshall Rotary Band Summer Concert performance.

Tom and I followed clarinetist Kathleen and percussionist Andrew into the park and set up in front row seats.

We were treated to so many spirited marches from famed composers along with a mixture of melodies from My Fair Lady. I was enjoying it so much, the lady next to me was singing the lyrics and I felt like maybe I could really have danced all night.

It is such a wonderful thing to see Kathleen and Andrew perform, as they have for many years. The community performance band has entertained for forty years, and that is a phenomenal accomplishment.  Devon and Andrew have been a part of it since their high school years and Kathleen, for nearly twenty years.

It is inspiring to see that once one chooses music and an instrument, they don’t ever really put it down. Youth through special senior status played away enthusiastically and professionally.



The audience ranged high into the elder years this night, but the 4th of July concert at the Fountain, complete with chicken bar-b-q and children’s bike and pet parade bring the whole family out, selecting their favorite spot on the lawn with outstretched blanket and the wagon they pulled their young children in to the event. It’s like a step back in time and most attire is completely red, white and blue, stars and stripes. The featured conclusion to each year’s 4th of July event is the melody of tributes to each branch of the armed forces. Always gets me!! And they stand up when their song is played to the clapping and respect of the rest of us.

But, back to June…and here we are last night at intermission in grand park surroundings and weather.



The after-concert tradition. Ice Cream treat of course!

In line with the band leader.

Lots of people had the same idea.


The reward for patience!!


We went back to Kathleen’s all happy, with songs playing in our heads.


Read Full Post »

Melody of Roses

RE: School Spring Concert Congratulations

Dear Kathleen,

Did you see and feel the accomplishment last night? I could not stop thinking about the difference in four years. I remember the night you asked us to be there four years ago when you bravely took to the podium, knowing the level of ability was going to be less than you’d hope. But you started with them. The audience was a mess.

This year, the audience self-disciplined itself with regular shh…..ing and they had an air of expectation of what was coming. A whole different sense in the audience, and the dimmed lights were great. It focused us on the performers.

I’d give Best Performance to the Choir, although there wasn’t a low note in the whole concert.  It was not just because of the fancy piano accompaniment. The kids were really enjoying GIVING their performance, you could tell. The music excited them and there was a pride in their delivery of it. I bet you get more choir sign ups from this.

When they were on stage, you reminded me of my high school choir director, Miss Klein, who put up with a lot of mischief, and couldn’t help herself laughing (and trying to hide it) at some of the more outrageous stuff the boys produced. But she got the BEST out of us because the Music was IN her. It is like that with you. You may give the kids the credit for their efforts, but their effort would not be there without the combination of your human personality and your musical professionalism.  It ALL showed last night.

ALL the bands were in top form. The sound was awesome even in a poor acoustical environment.  I don’t know if you focus on percussion, but every band had additional interest because of the varying percussion additions to the pieces they were playing.

All the music, sung and played, was interesting and entertaining. Did you hear the shout outs and whistles?  People must have said very nice things to you after the concert.

You should go into this summer vacation, knowing that you have really made a difference to that  school. Something unseen, also, is the general effect to the good this most likely has on the children, who without this focus on growing and achieving through music, might be in other unworthy paths of despair and disappointment. I am sure there are some who,  through the light of what music shines in them, can apply that to other areas of their lives. If we could only see the whole picture of what our work means in the world, I think we would all be amazed.

This is a long way of saying, Congratulations to the music mission in you and I love you and  I am proud of you.

Images of musician Kathleen

mom cues the pitJesus Christ Superstar Pit Band Director

JCS - Pit Band Member directed by mom

Mom the musician

not far from mom

and her favorite, just hangin’ photo

Kathleen - hanging



sing out loud


Read Full Post »

Kathleen - in charge of Jesus Christ Superstar

Jesus Christ Superstar, Music Pit Band Director

How does a teacher become a student’s hero? Maybe by being true to her passion for music and being “a player” in the magnificent meaning it has in anyone’s life. Maybe by doing her job and taking charge of being an inspiration to youth in her classrooms. Maybe by helping students see past the notes on their music sheets to feeling how it helps them live their own life more happily and meaningfully.  Maybe by playing with them.

I think our daughter does all these things as a classroom teacher, a music director of youth and adult theater, and a performance artist herself. They all count toward enriching young lives and giving parents, grandparents and general audiences a fresh, new appreciative look at their young ones.

not far from momMother and Daughter Together

One of Kathleen’s eighth grade students recently told her, “You know you are my hero, don’t you?” Then the student told her that she had chosen her music teacher as the subject of an essay. The class wrote about their Michigan Hero. Brittany, the student, chose Kathleen.  She later showed her writing to Kathleen.

Her lead paragraph began,

“Have you ever been too shy or not really sure about doing something new? I was when I began 5th grade; we were learning how to play an instrument. I wasn’t really sure if I was going to be any good at it, so I was a little scared. Then I met Mrs. Warriner and she changed my life…”

Kathleen has charge of the total music program of a small town school from 5th grade up through the high school chorus and band. She is in the midst of changing the way the students and the parents think of music as an integral  and rewarding part of their life.  Listen further to Brittney’s writing:

I started to get the hang of the clarinet and was starting to like it. I liked the way the clarinet sounded and I felt good about being able to do something else in my life. Mrs. Warriner taught me to express myself and not to be afraid to try new things. I learned that you need to be positive about things that I am about to try or I will never succeed in life.”

To me, it seems like there is more than music going on here. In her own career, Kathleen faced challenges of balancing her love and passion and pursuit of music with “stuff” that just comes up and needs to be handled. If questions of purpose arose, she always fought on the side of music performance and education being the seed of her purpose, both for herself and in giving it to the world. She returned to school and obtained her Masters. She continued to look, change what needed to and could be changed, and find the music settings where she could continue to inspire and make a difference.

Her student identified with her. “I found out that Mrs. Warriner is like me in some ways. We listen to some of the same music. We are both funny at times….she talks to herself or makes up random words for things.” Kathleen liked that last part.

Kathleen - CMU Marching BandKathleen in the CMU Marching Chippewa Band

Ramana leads us in

In the Old Days, we couldn’t get close enough to the band.

Mom the musicianMom, the Musician

Kathleen built music right into and around her own family structure. Her daughter and son are top performers in chorus and instrument. Kathleen marched in her college band and her daughter, Devon, is doing that right now at her alumnus, Central Michigan University.  As Kathleen’s parents, Tom and I have enjoyed countless years attending performances of every kind from community 4th of July concerts, to high school and college marching, to professional theater. In the pit band, or behind the sound mike, Kathleen “pulls all the strings” for harmony at its best.

 JCS - Pit Band Member directed by mom

IMG_3009Mom, Kathleen, playing at CMU Homecoming with daughter, Devon, with saxaphone

Now there is not a pay grade high enough for any teacher who can instill self-belief in a child at this young age. I don’t remember Self-Belief being offered as an Education Methods class in my own college major. But along with her clarinet case, where ever this student travels, she carries the knowledge of how to compose the most important things in life for herself — stemming from this experience of music.

Kathleen has fun with her students and looks for ways to BE fun with them; she gets them gigs as the pep band in nearby college settings, stirs things up in band camp, and keeps them guessing, never knowing what to expect from Ms. Warriner today. Amy, our six year old granddaughter, is learning piano. One of her songs talks about the teacher’s name being “Mrs. Razzle-Dazzle.”  Maybe that name got coined from peeking in Kathleen’s classroom. She fits the bill.

Kathleen’s student, Brittany concludes her essay with: “I now play in the high school band even though I am in 8th grade. She has taught me to believe in myself….”

Belief in self — that’s a lot to achieve from getting acquainted with the Middle C note through an inspiring and sometimes funny teacher.

Love of Music

Read Full Post »