Thirteen (Totally Fictional) kids whose lives were changed by Music in the Schools Programs


Thirteen (totally fictional) kids whose lives were changed by Music in the Schools programs

If you’re new to West of Mars, you’ve missed out on three previous years of benefits thrown by our favorite fictional band, ShapeShifter. On the Monday during Hanukkah, the band rallies the troops, raises lots of bucks, and gives it all to a charity that helps schools fund music programs. Sometimes, these charities are fictional. Sometimes, they’re real.

So to make it all the more real to you, me, and the guy across the street, I present 13 entirely fictional kids whose lives were changed by Music in the Schools programs.

1. Meet Yahir. An immigrant from Mexico, he couldn’t speak the language when he arrived in America. Yahir picked up a saxophone, spent a year taking lessons, and found that during band, no one made fun of his broken English or his accent.

2. And then there’s Angel. A real beauty with blonde hair and blue eyes, Angel came to her parents when she was left at a church and it was her mom who opened the door and found her on the proverbial doorstep. Angel picked up the cello, grew her hair long, and learned to rock like Apocalyptica.

3. Steven picked up the drums, loved the exhilaration of marching band so much that halftime of high school football games wasn’t enough. He found a spot in the Drum Corps International Blue Devils and spent a few summers traveling and performing.

4. Gage realized the tuba was the only instrument as big as he was. But it’s also way more important to a band than he ever thought he could be. He learned otherwise.

5. Sheelagh watched her grades go up and school get easier the more into band she became.

6. Lily put down the violin she’d learned via the Suzuki method when she was three. She picked up the flute instead and while she realized her parents’ ambitions for her to play in a major symphony, she found a way to do it on her own terms.

7. Nate realized he had no musical ability whatsoever and that Guitar Hero was going to be his shot at the spotlight. That’s when the acting bug bit.

8. Meryem learned that music was a lot more than the stuff her dad made her listen to when she was in his car. No matter how good Old Blue Eyes sounds to Dads, he’s not always a hit with kids.

9. Allison learned about respect and power. She learned you get more of both when you don’t jump into bed with every Tom, Dick, and Harry who promises respect and power.

10. Sanjit learned the value of teamwork. Of being part of a section of instruments and how horrible they sound when even one person (okay, it was him) decides the music in front of him is only a suggestion.

11. Caitlyn learned that reading music is a lot like learning to read Russian. It’s a new alphabet, sure, but it’s not unconquerable with some hard work. Best of all, Caitlyn’s grandmother immigrated from Russia and is thrilled her granddaughter can speak the mother tongue.

12. Devon learned how much trouble you can get into when you’re part of the drumline. And how delicious it is to get into trouble. Sometimes.

13. Susan learned she can’t read music worth a damn, but has a good ear for what’ll be a hit on the radio. So she went into radio. For awhile. And now she sits at home and writes books about musicians and the people in their lives. And dreams of when these Musical Hanukkah Benefits will come the rest of the way to life and earn some actual bucks that she can donate in the name of West of Mars.

Oops. This last one ain’t fiction. But it’s not entirely reality yet, either.

Happy Hanukkah to all of you. Friday’s the last night. Have a jelly donut and go make some music.



  1. Celticlibrarian

    December 17, 2009 12:48 am

    I’ve taken piano lessons (I was okay), guitar lessons (guitar neck was too big for my tiny hands…and I have this weird non-functioning joint. Sigh. No Lute lessons for me.), Recorder lessons (again with the okay), Drums! (loved them. didn’t suck.), and Choir (I can sing.)

    So, yay for the boys and yay for music in general. Great post, by the way. I love all the angles you managed to squeeze in.
    .-= Celticlibrarian´s last blog ..January 2010: 13 Events =-.

  2. bunnygirl

    December 17, 2009 1:56 am

    My college boyfriend was offered a spot playing trumpet with the Blue Devils. He didn’t take it. I’ve never understood why.

  3. Shelley Munro

    December 17, 2009 3:46 am

    Music really does break down walls. I have no talent in this area but I still love music.
    .-= Shelley Munro´s last blog ..Looks Like Summer =-.

  4. Harriet

    December 17, 2009 11:13 am

    Music in schools is definitely important.
    I especially loved number 13.

    Have a great day!
    .-= Harriet´s last blog ..I love December Stuff- updated 12/4 =-.

  5. Adelle Laudan

    December 17, 2009 12:24 pm

    I think it’s sad so many schools have dropped their music programs.
    Loved your list. Happy T13!
    .-= Adelle Laudan´s last blog .. =-.

  6. Ann

    December 17, 2009 2:02 pm

    There’s actually a DCI contest in Chesapeake each summer, not a very big one, but Madison Scouts came last year. Blue Devils rock. 🙂
    .-= Ann´s last blog ..Weather Update and Pictures =-.

  7. Alice Audrey

    December 17, 2009 2:31 pm

    Great stories, with #13 being the best.
    .-= Alice Audrey´s last blog ..151/365 Roofline =-.

  8. CalicoCrazy

    December 17, 2009 4:54 pm

    Great idea, this definitely one that needs to become real.
    .-= CalicoCrazy´s last blog ..Thursday Thirteen #19 =-.

  9. West of Mars » Blog Archive » Musical Hanukkah Flashback #17

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