McQueen High School Orchestra

Open Letter to McQueen Orchestra Parents

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Dear McQueen Orchestra Parents, and Future McQueen Orchestra Parents:
For the past two years I have had the privilege and pleasure to serve on the McQueen Orchestra Boosters Board of Directors, lovingly referred to as the “MOB”. It is very, very hard for me to believe that my time as a McQueen Orchestra parent is coming to an end. I can’t imagine what it will feel like to not be a part of this organization of hear the Lady Gaga Medley and Soul Bossanova on a regular basis. The McQueen Orchestra and the MOB’s role in the Orchestra program is something that I believe in with my whole heart.  I am writing to encourage you to join the MOB because it cannot continue to grow and thrive without parent support.

I know what you are thinking. You are thinking you are too busy. I know you think you are too busy. I know you probably actually are too busy. But I’m also here to tell you that you should do it anyway. Here is why.

First and foremost, your child loves music and that is simply amazing. You have undoubtedly invested a lot in your child’s passion for music. Let’s face it, musicians are high maintenance. And musicians aren’t cheap. As a parent you have invested in instruments, strings, rosin, and lessons. You have also invested your time. We’ve all sat through countless recitals, programs, and music lessons. This investment is for a reason, right? That reason is because we recognize that music is important to our children. And if it is important to our children, it becomes important to us too. There are a million studies that show that music helps kids academically, socially and emotionally. We all know this to be true. When you have the opportunity to be around these kids in mass you see what music means to them. Their positive energy is inspiring and contagious. That is because they are good kids who love what they are doing and are doing it for the right reasons. Helping out gives both the musicians and their teachers more time to focus on their music, their technique, and their performance skills. It’s really as simple as that.

But there is a bigger picture here too. The love of music that has been encouraged and honed by our children’s amazing teachers has spilled over to our larger community. I know for a fact that is has. The McQueen Orchestra performances are open to, and attended by, members of the community. And they get rave reviews. Maybe more importantly, their positive energy is witnessed by our community at such events as the Reno Jazz Festival, Reno Aces games, and the Wine Walk. The result is people realize that there is value to having music programs in public schools. I’ve heard it described as “stealth music educational advocacy”. Just seeing these kids our there in the McQueen Orchestra t-shirt with their violins (violas, cellos, or basses) giving flawless performances impacts our community in a positive way. Other than witnessing that there are good teenagers in the world and having a ray of hope about that, the people seeing our kids are voters and these remain difficult times for education funding. Seeing our adorable kids in the community at such an impressive level of performance gives voters a bunch of cute faces and a positive experience to put with this important cause. I think we all agree that we need to keep music programs in public schools.

Aside from the benefits to our children of serving on the MOB, there are also a million studies that show that volunteering is good for us as human beings. It might not always feel like it is, but it is. Volunteering, in any capacity, is shown to reduce stress and increase happiness. I did not make that up. It provides you with an opportunity to be compassionate and generous. It allows you to forget your problems and listen to a little Bach (because a little Bach is known to cure a lot of problems).  It gives you a tangible connection to your community. It is also a way to express gratitude for all that is right in your life, and dare I say, in this world by giving something back. I don’t regret a single minute that I have given to the McQueen Orchestra. My only regret is that I didn’t have more minutes to give them. They deserved more of my minutes.

They deserved more of my minutes because of what they gave back to me. I, like you, am too busy. Each day I get up and go to a stressful job, take on more than I should, try to balance personal relationships, try get the laundry done, try to walk the dog, try remember to buy the dog food, and try to fit in a yoga class so I don’t completely lose my mind.  And that’s all before noon. In this chaotic life, I often forget to do things that really mean something to me.   Things that make me happy. I discovered a while back that working with and for the McQueen Orchestra is such a thing.  I am always amazed by the professionalism, talent, and general cuteness that I witness when I spend time volunteering with the McQueen Orchestra. Arguably more importantly though, there is always a kid around to make me laugh, ask me for dating advice, or talk about clothes. Or just play the Cello Suites without even knowing I’m listening.  In short, they remind me that is hope for humanity. That may sound dramatic, but they really are that cute.

In case you haven’t noticed, the McQueen Orchestra is winning awards right and left, performing all over the Truckee Meadows and the great state of Nevada, and making a name for itself at the national level. This attention is very well deserved. This didn’t just happen. This happened because our children, and their amazingly handsome, funny, and charming orchestra director, cared enough to make it happen. We are fortunate to have an amazingly talented and dedicated director in Mr. Baker. I have never met a teacher who cares more about his students. We are blessed to have two middle schools with talented and dedicated music directors who instill a love of music in our children and give them the technical foundation to take it to the next level and beyond. And, we are lucky to have administrators and all three schools that support music programs. While this seems normal to those of us whose children literally grew up in these programs, we should not take our music programs for granted. Less than twenty percent of high schools across the nation have orchestra programs. They are rising stars. The least we, as parents, can do is help.

Please consider joining the MOB Board of Directors. You do have time and I am confident you will not regret a single minute you donate to this program and these kids. As the McQueen Orchestra continues to expand, the MOB Board of Directors needs to continue to expand too. The MOB is a great group of people with a common and genuine love for our children and the arts. It is a pleasure to work with such passionate parents toward the common goal of giving the McQueen Orchestra every possible resource and opportunity to be the best they can be. Please consider taking on a board position, or at least attending a meeting to get more information about how you can help.

I will miss the McQueen Orchestra terribly. So much that I can’t really talk about it without getting emotional. But I know that the future is bright and just the mention of the Devil’s Dream Hoe Down will always make me smile.  Good Luck in all that you do McQueen Orchestra!

Forever Yours,
Miss Tijsseling



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