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The Band Buddies Program

"Connecting generations through music"

Created by Faye Rader

"Band Buddies" is a program created and implemented by Faye and represents a cooperative effort between the North Star Community Band and Faye's fifth Grade Band. The goal is simple: to connect two (or more) generations through MUSIC. this is the way that music has been shared throughout the centuries. Music connects poeple to people, bridges diverse cultures, sociueconomic backgrounds, and generation gaps. We believe that music is meant to be shared, and the Band Buddies program is one way of doing that.

Each year, members of both bands (usually playing the same instrument) are paired together and become pen-pals. Students and adults are encouraged to write at least once a week. The letters come in at a rate that would make the Postal Service jealous! The band-buddies talk about practicing (or not practicing, although we do try to avoid that subject!), work and school, their favorite songs, and anything else that comes to mind. This quickly evolved into treats. Faxes, stickers, pencils, bookmarks, pictures, instrument charms, tasty treats (which were VERY difficult not to confiscate!)all began to travel back and forth between the bands. Students began to make extra visits to the music room to see if there were any messages from their "band buddy". Adults stood around the podium after rehearsal (this is at 10:00 p.m.!) awaiting letters from the kids.

Then we begin the rehearsal phase. Each band will work on the elements of their part of the program. Some of the music will be played only by the North Stars, while some of the music is played only by the fifth grade band. The ultimate, of course, is the music that will be played by the combined band (the entire membership of both bands). Initial rehearsals are separate, and the excitment really begins to build for their first combined rehearsal (when the buddies finally get to meet.


Finally the moment arrives: the first combined rehearsal. With help from our adult sponsors, the band buddies get to meet. There is a pizza party, where the order of the evening is lots of talking, lots of food, and lots of music - not necessarily in that order). Both bands get a chance to practice together, and we usually try to give at least one combined performance a year.

In 1996, the Band Buddies program received special recognition - the combined band (adult and fifth graders) was asked to perform at the Music Educators National Conference. At the conference, music educators from across the country gather to discuss education and listen to select ensembles. The Band Buddies were there to "teach the teachers" how to implement similar mentoring programs in their districts. They performed several pieces (both as individual bands and as the combined band). It was a wonderful success.

To ask about the band buddy program, send an email to bandbuddies@nstarband.org