HI High School Jazz Band earns huge national praise

Music Director Gary Washburn leads Honoka‘a High School to top rankings—nationally. 

HI High School Jazz Band earns huge national praise

With great pleasure B on Hawaii has the rare occasion to share wonderful news emanating from the education sector here on the isles. Facts and stats recently haven’t been pleasant—furlough days placing our future generations further and further behind mainland counterparts, budget issues, and the like. So when this little nugget came over the wire, we were glad to share the news. It seems a long-running music program—helmed by the steadfast (and talented) Honoka‘a High School music director Gary Washburn—has been steadily garnering some major national attention.

In short, Washburn, a lifetime musician, recording artist and nationally touring player from the midwest, has grown the program at this small town, Big Island high school to gargantuan proportions over his 30 year tenure. Last year, the Honoka‘a High School Jazz Band, under Washburn’s direction, received an award from the Grammy Foundation (among 35 other school nationwide), elevating them to “Grammy Signature Schools” status—something 23,000 eligible schools vied for.  

In 2010, the school earned a National Association of Music Merchandisers Award as one of the leading communities for music education, which then earned Washburn an award from the National Society of High School Scholars.  

Washburn has released 12 albums with the high school band during his tenure. So what does this mean to you, reader? First of all, seek out and purchase (yes, actually buy music) the Honoka‘a High School Jazz Band album(s) to continue supporting a Herculean effort already set in motion. And second, if you happen to be north of Waimea on Hawai‘i Island this October 27th, you can experience an original suite of music as performed by Washburn, to be recorded for worldwide distribution.  

The jazz-fusion work is entitled “Earth Life: October Full Moon” and is a seven-part suite he began writing over 30 years ago while on an Aaron Copeland Fellowship in New Hampshire. The concert will unfold in People’s Theater in Honoka‘a at 7 p.m. Tickets are $10 or $5 for keiki/students.  

 

 

"First of all, seek out and purchase (yes, actually buy music) the Honoka‘a High School Jazz Band album(s) to continue supporting a Herculean effort ..."