Concert showcases school talent

In an effort to remain an important part of the community, the Florida A&M University Music Department is partnering with music students from local high schools and middle schools on April 15 to celebrate the third annual Southside Concert.

Julian White, FAMU’s band director and professor of music, said the annual concert was established as a recruitment tool to inspire local students to apply to FAMU.

“We started out as a clinic to assist students in preparation for their music performance by the Florida Band Masters Association,” White said. “We’ve had them come out on Saturdays and assess them on musical performance.”

White explained the program showcases the talents of students living in the city’s Southside. It also provides an opportunity for the band to assist the students with musical development.

“The main point is to show the talent we have in Tallahassee,” said Andrew Wan, 21, a fourth-year music education student from Miramar. “It’s a great recruitment tool for our music program.”

The concert consists of students from FAMU, Rickards High School, the FAMU Developmental Research School, Fairview Middle School and Nims Middle School.

Quincy Griffin, Rickards High School’s band director, said the program promotes achievement.

“People will get a good taste of musical experts,” Griffin said. “They will see a growth in diversity and the overall musicianship in our school.”

Since the program was implemented, students have received superior ratings from the Florida Band Masters Association.

Each band will play two selections and will join together to play the last selection.

Monique Alleyne, 23, a fourth-year music education student from Washington D.C., said seeing the students play will be a learning experience.

“As a future music educator, it helps you with knowing what you want with your future band,” Alleyne said.

White said the concert, which is free to the public, traditionally has great turnouts. In 2008, more than 1,000 people attended.

According to White, this program is successful because parents, children and the Southside community always show support.

“It shows that we can put our differences to the side and work together under one vision and achieve greatness,” Griffin said.

White also pointed out the importance of having students connected in the community.

“The concert is a wonderful opportunity for our students to interact with the community,” White said. “We hope the public comes out and supports the initiative. We want them to support the students to enhance the cultural environment.”

For many students, this program is also a gateway for them to get involved in the community.

“This program gives us the opportunity to work with the students and branch out to the community that has been supporting us,” said Ahmad R. Newbold, 21, a senior music education student from Miami. “It gives us a hands-on approach to inspire them and give them one-on-one lessons.”

Students who have participated in the concert said they have enjoyed the variety of music the bands play.

“People can expect to hear quality music at collegiate, high schools and middle schools level,” Alleyne said.

The performance will be held in FAMU’s Lee Hall Auditorium at 7 p.m.