Coordinating a concert featuring 2,600 elementary school kids blasting brass horns, blowing through woodwinds and dragging bows across stringed instruments seems nothing short of miraculous. But the annual Band and Strings Spectacular has become a “well-oiled machine” under Dave Weatherred, visual and performing arts coordinator at Spokane Public Schools, who has organized it for 18 years. He ended his role on a high note at Tuesday night’s concert by conducting a song at the event for the first and last time; he’s moving on to other administrative duties.
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John Hagney, a teacher at Lewis and Clark High School since 1981, was named the Educational Service District 101 region’s Teacher of the Year. The award makes him a candidate for 2012 Washington State Teacher of the Year. A press release from ESD 101 said Hagney launched the region’s first Advanced Placement course in art history. He also developed a social science research class, which has been accredited by Eastern Washington University. The research course enrolls up to 100 students each year and requires them to volunteer with a local nonprofit.
An excited buzz whispered through Patricia Bassett’s classroom at Linwood Elementary on a recent morning. It was a big day for the fifth grade beginning strings class. For the first time, the students were going to use bows to play their violins, violas, cellos and basses. As Bassett showed the class how to hold the bow, two volunteers helped students position their instruments. The volunteers know a bit about stringed instruments.
Thousands of Spokane fifth- and sixth-graders get together every year to perform for the community in the Band and Strings Extravaganza at the Spokane Arena. “It’s just an exciting night,” said Terren Roloff, Spokane Public Schools spokeswoman. “Most of them will never get the chance to perform in such a large group again.”