By LANCE MASTERSON
Of the Keizertimes

The McNary band’s road show drew rave reviews.

As part of its outreach, the band recently played before Weddle, Kennedy and Forest Ridge elementary schools.

“We absolutely loved it,” said Samantha Ragaisis, principal of Weddle School, when asked about last week’s performance. “It was an educational experience in instruments, sound and music. The band was fantastic.”

Similar praise came from Judy Day, third grade teacher at Kennedy.

“The kids loved it and were surprised about how the individual instruments sounded,” said Day. “I thought it was great because (McNary band director) David Hodges helped the children see what a band does, showing how the melody is carried, for example, and making the students think beyond what they heard.”

And therein lies one purpose of the road show: To get youngsters to think about music.

“We go to not just play for the kids, but to educate them about music,” said Hodges. “We talked about what components are necessary for something to be called music.”

Students were also introduced to various instruments and the roles they play in a band.

As for selections, they came from “Star Wars,” “The Teddy Bears Picnic,” “The Wizard of Oz,” and “Perfect Storm.”

But learning opportunities weren’t limited to the younger set.

“Our band students learn how much influence they have on younger students,” said Hodges.

Hodges added: “So they work not only on playing well, but also in being good examples for younger students. They also might learn something about music as they listen to what I teach the younger kids.”

Band members also learned the importance of working together as they set and tore down several times a day.

But the sheer entertainment value of music was never overlooked.

“They enjoyed it,” said Forest Ridge Principal Gary Etchemendy of his students’ reaction. “(The McNary band) played several songs that were familiar to the students, which immediately got their attention. Many students were moving to the beat during their performance.

“I thought the band did a nice job of showcasing the different instruments and reinforcing instruments and reinforcing concepts taught in music.”

A bit of promotion was also in evidence.

“We also encouraged the younger students to be in music as they grow older,” said Hodges.