When a high school band commits to perform compositions by women and people of color

Posted on: February 24, 2017

“There’s a bulletin board at the front of the band room at Spring Lake Park High School covered in portraits of the composers who wrote this year’s music selections,” reports Solvejg Wastvedt on Saturday (2/18) at National Public Radio. “What’s new are the faces: Instead of primarily white men, there are faces of women and composers of color. This is intentional. The band directors at Spring Lake Park, outside of St. Paul, Minn., have pledged to include at least one piece by a female composer and one by a composer of color in each concert, for each of the school’s bands.” Brian Lukkasson, one of the directors, “says it’s been hard, but not because those composers aren’t writing for bands. ‘It’s really hard to find music because there’s just not a lot of composers of color that are being published.’ … ‘I really, really want other students of color to be able to feel like they are welcomed and appreciated anywhere…,’ says junior Kia Muleta, one of Lukkasson’s students. Muleta, who is black, has been playing the clarinet since fifth grade.… She says new faces up front are a signal that difference is welcome here.”

Posted February 24, 2017