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TRI-M MUSIC HONOR SOCIETY Patrick Barnett, Chair

TRI-M Chapter 106’s Newest Honorary Member . . . My Mom

I wanted to write about an event that happened at Harvard High School Chapter # 106’s initiation ceremony in May of 2011. A few years ago, I began conversations with Robert Collins, then choir director at Harvard High School to ask him if it might be possible to initiate my mom as an honorary member of her high school’s chapter. After many years of confl icting schedules, it fi nally happened this past May. My personal thanks go out to Korey Coff er and Clarisse Iftner, the present Band and Choir Director respectively for their gracious invitation to be part of their initiation ceremony and to speak to the initiates.

My connections to Harvard run deep. I spent many summers wandering around the town and I was even the 1972 Milk Prince of Milk Days–A celebration to honor the farmers that made the Harvard area the milk capitol of the world during the early years of the 20th century. My mother, Clara Hoyt Barnett is a proud graduate of the 1961 Class from this great school. While she was in high school, she participated in band, playing her alto sax under the baton of Anton J. Cerveny–a musical giant the likes of Alexander Harley. In addition, she was the baton twirler with the marching band and she sang in the choir.

My mom frequently reminisced about the great music program that Harvard High School had and continues to have. She also used to tell me about this organiza- tion called the Modern Music Masters, what an honor it was to be inducted and how she was never selected. Many years later when I became the choir director and TRI-M Sponsor at Maine East High School, where TRI-M began, I

began to recognize the role and impor- tance that TRI-M played in the lives of high school students–even if they weren’t personally initiated. T e experiences that they gained prepared them for a myriad of careers both in and out of music. Many of these students remember their musical participation long beyond their high school diploma. T ey are today’s life-long, literate, consumers of the arts.

My mom never went on to be a music major or play to play in a band, but she did sing in her church choir for many years. However, she instilled in her children a love and an appreciation for music and all the responsibility and leadership possibilities that come along with participation. When I think back on the countless trips with a tuba in the backseat of the car, sitting outside of the school waiting for rehearsals to end at night, sitting in theatres for concerts, musicals, and contests and paying for music lessons, I am in awe of what she did to support the musical education of her children. My mom is not unique; there are many parents that push their children to strive for excellence through their participation in music. T ey are true role models of what service and leader- ship to the school, community, and music program are all about. In their honor and on my mother’s behalf do I recognize her contributions to this National Chair of TRI-M’s musical growth, development, service, and leadership.

T e reason I chose to write about this is two-fold: one to say a word about the par- ents behind high-school musicians. Very rarely do students achieve success without the support of parents and guardians, and two, to remind chapter sponsors that any

chapter can recognize the support and/ or talents of their alumni, parents, and administrators by conferring honorary memberships. What a great opportunity to recognize the people that stand behind our music programs with their support of time, talent and commitment. Should you desire additional information about how to include this as part of your initiation ceremony, do not hesitate to contact me.

So what happened at the ceremony you might ask? A very proud son whose voice was full of emotion (even though he’d practiced his speech many times) pub- licly thanked his mom for her unswerv- ing support of his musical growth and his mom got misty-eyed when she received her membership pin and card along with eight other current Harvard High School Students. She and they stumbled through the wordy pledge and tripped at all the usual places . . . in order to foster a greater continued interest and a desire for excellence. Mom recently attended her 50th High School Class Reunion where she wore her TRI-M pin with honor and pride and told many of her fellow graduates of the Class of ’61 how she had been made an honorary member of the Modern Music Masters at Harvard High School. Congratulations, mom.

Patrick S. Barnett Tri-M Music Honor Society– National Chair-Elect Tri-M Music Honor Society– Illinois State Chair Fine Arts Department Chair, Maine West High School 1755 South Wolf Road Des Plaines Illinois 60018 847.803.5908


Illinois Music Educator | Volume 72 Number 1

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