WMHFA: Homeschool Music Program Continues to Grow by Erika Whitteberry [Apr. 08]

Delicate notes dance through the hallways of the Home School Building as various groups from West Michigan Homeschool Fine Arts (WMHFA) prepare for state festivals and their annual spring concerts. Snatching almost straight one’s at district festivals, this group of homeschool students possess high hopes for succeeding at upcoming competitions. This year alone, various band and orchestra students have participated in Western Michigan University’s band day and performed a Symphony and Orchestra Side by Side Concert with the Grand Rapids Symphony. In past years, WMHFA marching band has also performed at the Peach Bowl in Atlanta, Georgia, as well as the Fourth of July parade in Washington D.C. “We are looking to continue creating an atmosphere of excellence and building a future of success for the homeschool students in West Michigan in the area of music,” says Wendy March, founder and director of WMHFA and teacher of both beginning and intermediate bands. With 470 students enrolled in WMHFA, the program includes five bands, three orchestras, three choirs, color guard, a number of ensembles, and marching band.

Founded on Biblical principles, WMHFA seeks to create a Christian atmosphere that holds high standards of conduct. Meeting only once a week, directors require students to practice at least one half hour a day. “It gives you responsibility,” says Lauren Carlson, a student at WMHFA. A great amount of the organization’s success depends on the work ethic of the students at home as well as during rehearsal. Motivation and desire are required from every student in order to ensure success for both the individual and the organization as a whole.

“We have been blessed to have an excellent and qualified staff with the best students parents could wish for,” says director Wendy March.

Unique to WMHFA is that students of all ages are encouraged to learn together and from each other. “It’s really neat to see a nine year old and a high school student sitting next each other learning,” says Kathy Carabellese, a homeschool parent who has been involved in WMHFA for many years, “I love it.” Excitement sparkles in student’s eyes as they reminisce over experiences with WMHFA. “It’s a lot of fun,” says student John Rieger. All homeschooled students, ages nine through high school, are welcome to participate in WMHFA.

As WMHFA looks to the future, the program hopes to offer students the ability to perform with professional musicians and to offer college scholarship opportunities to students hoping to continue in the music field. Above all, WMHFA’s goal is to provide the opportunity for all homeschool students to experience the joys of music. Director Wendy March concludes, “We consider it a privilege to serve and assist the West Michigan homeschool families in the musical education of their children and to provide opportunities for our students to excel in music so they can ultimately use their gifts to bring glory to God and others into His Kingdom."

2008 WMHFA Calendar:
April 1- Regional (state) Jazz Festival at East Kentwood High School
April 14 - Orchestra Concert (all string groups)
April 18 to 19 - State Vocal Solo & Ensemble Festival (Northern Lights Chorale)
April 19 - Middle School Solo and Ensemble Festival
April 19 - Jazz Band Festival in Hastings
April 21- Band Concert (including Big Band and wind ensembles)
April 24 - Choir/Color Guard Concert (all vocal groups)
April 24 to 26 & May 1 to 3 - State Band and Orchestra
June 9 to 13 - Marching Band Camp

2008 Marching Band Schedule:
June 21- Grand Ledge Yankee Doodle Days Parade 11:00am
June 28 - Muskegon Summer Celebration 10:00am
July 4 - Cascade Township Independence Day Parade 10:30am
July 19 - Iona Free Fair 11:00am
August 2 - Coast Guard Festival Parade-Grand Haven 12:00pm

If you would like to come out and support the WMHFA students at these events, contact WMHFA at wmhfa@charter.net for times and locations.


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