Triple Threat of Austin Musicians Honored

Created: 02/13/2014 6:39 PM
By: Dan Conradt

(ABC 6 NEWS) -- There’s no mistaking how Gene Schott feels about music, "Music is not a luxury, it's a necessity in life.”

"It's kind of undefinable, it's just part of who you are when you're a musician," added Austin high school senior Ethan Johnson.

And when Minnesota music educators gathered for their annual conference on Thursday, Austin high school was in the spotlight.

“We're really fortunate to have had all 3 of our ensembles selected ... band, orchestra and choir," said AHS band director Brad Mariska.

It's a process that began almost a year ago, when schools submitted samples of their music.

"Over the summer they got back to us and said all of you are accepted," said Austin high school orchestra director Gene Schott

"This is the first time in ten years any school in the state of Minnesota had had all 3 ensembles selected to perform," band director Brad Mariska said.

But the impact of playing music goes far beyond the practice room or the concert hall.

"Being able to play an instrument does use both sides of the brain. Music is mathematics. people don't like to hear that, but it is," orchestra director Gene Schott said.

“The acoustics of sound is physics, and music is history, music is a language," Brad Mariska said.

“Playing music helps me focus more on other classes. It kind of just gives me a sense of unity," AHS senior and music student Ethan Johnson said.

"And these are the skills that make our students better athletes, they make them better citizens and they make them great leaders for the next generation," said band director Brad Mariska