How many kids did Greenwich place in the National Youth Orchestra this year?

Lincoln High School, SD

Lincoln High School, SD

NPR aired an interesting story this morning on the CarnegieHall sponsored National Youth Orchestra, a group of 140 students from 38 states now practicing in Purchase before heading to the Kennedy Center and then Russia. The snippet of a performance NPR played in the background (Tchaikovsky’s violin concerto, I believe, but those with more musical knowledge than I should feel free to correct me) sounded more than just professional; it was great.

I was struck by a conversation the reporter had with 17-year old trombonist Skye Dearborn, from Lincoln High School in Sioux Falls, SD, because it made me wonder what sort of music facilities the school provides its students to get a girl like Skye all the way to Carnegie Hall. I couldn’t find out that exact information but I did learn that Lincoln was named as one of the best 1,200 high schools in the country by Newsweek in 2006 and, while it does have a marching band that has performed, several times, in the Rose Bowl, it spends just $7,288 per pupil, per year. Total enrollment at the high school is 1,986. Judging from its picture, Lincoln looks like a very nice school: quite similar to our own high school, in fact.

But whatever the relative cost of living between Greenwich and Sioux Falls, I’m pretty sure that there’s no $55 million music palace at Lincoln High – not when they’re spending just about one-third per pupil what we are. Makes you wonder whether Greenwich parents’ insistence that such an edifice is essential to their children’s success is in fact true; I’ll bet it isn’t.


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6 responses to “How many kids did Greenwich place in the National Youth Orchestra this year?

  1. Walt

    Dude –
    Great musicians aren’t “taught”. They are born that way. The Beatles had no formal musical training, and were all self taught.

    Liberace was a child prodigy, and actually a better flute player from what I hear. Do you think Stevie Wonder could tell if he was playing in a $55 million auditorium or a barn? NO!! Some teacher is going to teach Elvis how to do the pelvis? Give me a frigging break. Michael Jackson grew up in a slum. He was great because God shoved talent up his ass. Amongst other things.

    Talent like theirs is a God given gift, and rises to the top no matter what. You don’t need to throw money at it. It won’t help. You either have it or you don’t. The same with literature, comedy, dance and may other artistic endeavors. Except acting. I think that takes no talent. And mimes. Clowns too.

    If you were given parchment and Mont Blanc pens in High School, do you really think that would have made you a better writer? Well do ya, PUNK!!

    You loser.
    Your Pal,

  2. Walt

    Dude –
    Do me a favor.
    Can you edit my last post for me? Instead of saying “do you really think that would have made you a better writer” can you change it to “do you really think that would have made you a writer”.
    Thanks!! Owe you one.
    Your Pal,

  3. Money cannot buy talent or genius!!!!

  4. And one day, at band camp...

    Lincoln HS bands have their own website. Some amazing groups, from Classical to Jazz, to marching – all forms. Huge parent and student participation. Band camps. Made their own uniforms The whole nine yards. It would be really interesting to find out what their music facility looks like but nothing in the link below showed me.

  5. Riverside Dog Walker

    Same with this group. I hail from around there and they are awesome. 25% of the students in the high school participate and there is as much competition to join this group as to make the football team, which if you grew up in the south, you know what that is like, i.e., the movie Friday Night Lights was no exaggeration.

    I doubt this whole state spends $55 million on education.

  6. Anonymous

    My son was fortunate enough to make the NYO and as I write is currently in St. Petersburgh, Russia before heading to London. Definitely a once in a lifetime opportunity.
    A lot of factors go into developing a musician or other artist. Our family has no musical background, but our son has always been interested in music since he was little. We enrolled him in piano lessons and he took to playing the French Horn in grade school. The influence of teachers in grade school and high school has been important in his progress, but also a lot of hard work, commitment and involvement in local youth orchestras and private lessons at the same time. Everyone takes different paths to success but giving individuals more opportunities at a young age is important. For every Michael Jackson that made it, I can bet there are other extremely talented individuals who never make it because they never got a chance.
    Look at someone like Susan Boyle, the ‘opera’ singer who wasn’t discovered until in her late forties when she was on the show Britain’s got talent.
    My son has been lucky in that he has been given a number of opportunities to develop, particularly on this latest NYO trip of a lifetime. His dream is to be a professional musician. He is well on his way.