Students Perform in Metro 8 Honor Bands

Our students who were selected to participate in the Metro 8 Honor Bands had rehearsals and a performance November 20-21 at The Principia School.

The Middle School students performed Fanfare for the Unsung Hero; Salvation Is Created; All for One, One for All March; and Moscow, 1941 under the direction of Chris Gleason. (Scroll down for Gleason’s bio if you’re interested.)

Middle School Honor Band Students Meredith Mack ’26, Daniel Kuhlman ’27, Hannah Wang ’26, Grant Falk ’26, and Joy Chen ’26

The Upper School students performed Panoramic Landscapes; Melodius Thunk; Benediction; and the March from Second Suite in F under the direction of Gary Brandes. (Scroll down for Brandes’ bio if you’re interested.)

Upper School Honor Band Students Mike Elvin ’23, Nina Hamilton ’22, and Chloe Cheng ’23

Students from the Metro 8 District—which includes St. Louis Public Schools, private/independent schools, and Fort Zumwalt and Francis Howell School Districts—had prepared music and auditioned for the St. Louis Metro District 8 Middle School Concert Band in early November. Auditions were held at MICDS this year and were blind, which means the judges couldn’t see the students, rather only heard them play.

Congratulations to our talented musicians!

Chris Gleason is an instrumental music educator at Patrick Marsh Middle School in Sun Prairie, Wisconsin. He is the 2017 Wisconsin Teacher of the Year and the first Wisconsin teacher to be named a finalist for National Teacher of the Year in 50 years. He was recently selected as one of the five 2021 Horace Mann award winners by the NEA Foundation, as well as a Top 50 Finalist for the 2021 Global Teacher Prize sponsored by the Varkey Foundation and UNESCO. He is also a current semi-finalist for the 2022 GRAMMY Music Educator of the Year Award. In 2009, Gleason started the ComMission Possible Project that annually commissions a new work for band. He recently served as a Teacher Leadership and Engagement Specialist with the Wisconsin Department of Public Instruction inspiring future education majors across the state. He is the past chair of the Wisconsin Comprehensive Musicianship through Performance (CMP) Committee, the Wisconsin State Middle-Level Honors Band, and the Wisconsin State Middle-Level Honors Project. In 2019, Gleason was selected as an NEA Foundation Global Learning Fellow and traveled to South Africa. Gleason is the founder and organizer of the Beyond The Notes Music Festival Inc. in Wisconsin Dells that has, to date, inspired more than 35,000 young musicians and 70 future music educators. Mr. Gleason recently presented his own talk at 2019 TEDxOshkosh entitled, Lighting a Fire in Kids.

Gary W. Brandes is currently an adjunct professor at Lindenwood University where he conducts the Wind Ensemble/Symphonic Band, teaches Conducting I & II, Band and Orchestra Techniques, Brass Techniques and is an assistant to the Marching Band. Prior to his appointment at Lindenwood, he was teaching professor of music and director of bands at the University of Missouri-St. Louis. Prior to his appointment at the University of Missouri-St. Louis in 2006, Brandes taught for 28 years in Missouri public schools most recently as director of bands at Fort Zumwalt South High School. A Bachelor of Music Education degree, instrumental and vocal was completed in 1978. A Master’s degree in conducting was completed in 1992 from the University of Missouri-Columbia. As a trombonist, he has performed with the St. Louis Wind Symphony and Jim Widner Big Band. Beginning in 2016 he is honored to serve as the associate conductor for the St. Louis Wind Symphony. Brandes served as the College/ University Vice President for Missouri Music Educators Association 2010-12, MMEA President-Elect 2012-14, MMEA President 2014-16, and Past President. He currently assists with the MMEA mentor training program and serves as the Missouri NAfME-C State Sponsor. Brandes was honored in 1998 with the Merit Award in Music Education from St. Louis Metro Music Educators Association and in 2000 St. Louis Metro recognized Brandes as its Outstanding Music Educator and the Metro Eight Hall of Fame award in 2015. In 2012 he was honored to receive the Missouri Association for Jazz Education Outstanding Educator Award and was inducted into the Missouri Music Educators Association Hall of Fame in 2019.