The students enrolled in Northview Middle School’s orchestra and band programs experienced the teachings of a special guest last week, composer Darryl Johnson II, who is a native of southern California.
A composer who writes primarily for band and orchestra, Johnson is an advocate for experience-based education and travels across the country to inspire young musicians to pursue their goals and dreams. He has traveled to 40 U.S. states and three countries, demonstrating and educating students of all ages about the composing process. Johnson has composed numerous published works.
The visit was funded by the HPS Education Foundation, a grant awarded to both Sally Ross, orchestra teacher and David Wortman, band teacher.
The Northview musicians were well prepared for their guest composer, having rehearsed some of his compositions — in addition to wearing their Northview blue shirts printed with “Composer Project 2020.”
According to Ross, it was important for the orchestra and band students to experience, first hand, the music venture with Johnson. “Our young musicians gained fresh knowledge from this experience as they learned about the composition from the beginning stages to the actual publication and performance,” said Ross.
“It was also important for our students to realize that not all composers are dead, as we grow up listening to music created by composers who have passed on. Additionally, Composer Darryl Johnson, II, as a talented African-American, proved to our students that the world of music is a beautiful blend of diverse music—and diverse musicians,” said Ross.
“We are thankful to the HPS Education Foundation for awarding the grant that brought Composer Johnson to Northview Middle,” said Wortman. “The students were engaged as they discovered the fun and catchy compositions, to the rich and beautiful. It was wonderful for our young musicians to explore the journey of creating meaningful art. We greatly appreciated the teachings from Composer Johnson.”