Local school band plays song to honor shuttle program

The Westbrook Intermediate Band will perform a special concert for JSC employees on Thursday, April 5, at 11 a.m. in the Teague Auditorium. The performance will include a piece that honors the Space Shuttle Program.

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The Westbrook Intermediate Band poses with the shuttle mock-up in Building 9. (Photo credit: Rick Brockway, band director)
The Westbrook Intermediate band won the Texas State Honor Band competition last year. It was ranked first of all the nearly 500 intermediate school bands in its classification. As such, the band performed at the Texas Music Educators Convention in San Antonio on Feb. 10, an event that regularly attracts more than 20,000 attendees including music teachers, school administrators, high school all-state musicians and dignitaries. This year the Vienna Boys Choir was a featured performing group along with the Westbrook Intermediate School Band.

“We commissioned composer Christopher Tucker to write a new piece of music for our band to perform,” said Rick Brockway, band director. “Mr. Tucker is a popular composer for band. His music is tuneful and his orchestration colorful, making him ideal for young musicians. We asked Mr. Tucker for a work that would celebrate the 30 years of the Space Shuttle; reflecting upon both its successes and paying respect to those brave men and women who lost their lives in the pursuit of human space flight.”

In preparation for the trip, and to give those who did not travel to San Antonio a chance to hear them, they did a “pre-TMEA” community concert, the first “premiere” of the commissioned Space Shuttle piece. The concert took place at the Creek High School auditorium. Students and their families were welcomed to celebrate this honor and got to hear the work dedicated to all those who made the Space Shuttle Program a success.

“The band directors of Westbrook Intermediate were part of the community that helped us very much in the design of the Humans in Space Youth Art Competition, which encourages youth worldwide to communicate their ideas about the future of space flight using visual, literary, video and musical artwork,” said Jancy McPhee, director of the competition. “Also, they were music judges and helped us carry out the Houston performance of the artwork in April of 2011 with the Clear Lake High School orchestra at the international Humans in Space Symposium.”

This biennial event is a real partnership between NASA, the local community, and other space-associated partners. McPhee said a good working relationship developed between NASA and the school, “which just augmented the already-close ties that existed because many of the parents of attending children are NASA employees.”

“So, NASA is very much a part of this big event for the Intermediate School and the community,” McPhee said.

Neesha Hosein
Johnson Space Center, Houston

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