Music for All’s Bands of America Honor Band will march in The Rose Parade on New Year’s Day 2022 in Pasadena, California. With more than 300 members, this national honor band will represent school band programs across America. Meet the members!
Name: Matthew Wishart
Hometown: Windermere, FL
Why did you apply to be a member of the Honor Band?
Windermere High School came into existence 4 years ago. With leadership from our Band Directors, Robert and Lynsey Darragh, Windermere has competed in two Orlando BOA events and Grand Nationals in 2019. The Bands of America experiences are incredible and make everything about band more meaningful. The chance to join other students under the Bands of America name feels like taking all our competitions and wrapping them together into the ultimate marching experience.
What part of the trip are you most excited about?
I love our band in November, after months of hard work and practice. Performing at our highest level is such a good feeling. We are sharp, crisp and our sound is amazing. I can’t wait to stand with top musicians from around the country and have that same feeling. I am looking forward to the wave of pride I will feel when we turn that corner and PLAY!!!
What are three things you’ve learned from being involved in your high school music program?
Our Band Director says that a music student in motion tends to stay in motion, and that if you wait until you think you are ready, you will never be ready and you’ll always be waiting. Our band is about going for it – pushing our music and ourselves faster, stronger, and higher. We are a new school, but we take the field with the confidence and determination of schools that have been doing this for decades. Three things that are now integrated into everything I do are 1) do it now 2) do it at your highest level and 3) do it with pride for yourself, your family, and your team.
To date, what is your favorite memory of being involved in your high school music program?
Our first band trip was to 2019 Grand Nationals. Coming from Orlando Florida that turned into a 24-hour bus ride and we went from palm trees to snowballs. And it was fantastic. When you are in the practice areas, and you hear – you can feel – the other bands warming up and playing sets, you know you are in the big leagues. Gathering together with the top bands in the country was more than I expected. I always want to be the type of player and performer that pulls my band up to that level.
What activities and clubs are you involved in?
In Florida, we are 100% band year around. I am taking a full AICE and honors-level class load. Florida offers college funding for all students that achieve certain academic levels and requires we volunteer throughout our high school term with local non-profits. My volunteer location is a farm-animal rescue program. I try to work at least 20 hours a month at the farm improving animal structures and caring for the rescues.
What are your post-graduation plans?
My family is from Minnesota and I hope to attend the University of Minnesota and march with the Golden Gophers and the Pride of Minnesota.
Have you participated in any Music for All or Bands of America activities before? If so, which ones?
Bands of America Orlando feels like our home event – it’s just 20 minutes down the road. We like to host visiting bands at our field for their practice sessions. Our school is about 2 miles from Disney World so it’s fun to compete against the bands at Orlando and then march at Disney. We had planned to return to Grand Nationals in 2020, and now we are looking forward to Indianapolis in November of 2021!
Tell us something unique about yourself:
I was diagnosed with Type-1 diabetes about 9 years ago. I have had no issues fully participating in all music and competitions. We have another Type-1 diabetic in our band and we both play trumpet, we are both class of 2022 and we tend to be together on the field for shows and performances. We laugh that we get dots assigned next to each other so they just need to watch one part of the field to keep an eye on both of us.
List your favorites!
Song or piece of music: I love our 2021 show music, but it’s a secret for now
Band, artist, musical group, etc.: Van Halen!
Movie: I love all the Marvel movies
TV Show: WandaVision
Book: The Old Man and the Sea
Board game: Puzzles are a constant at the cabin in the summer
Dessert: Anything chocolate!
Place to visit: Lake cabin in Northern Minnesota
You’re on a deserted island and you can only choose one from each category:
Dessert: Ice Cream
Entertainment: Board Games
Social Media: Instagram
See Matthew in action! If you’ve ever wanted to be there in person for The Rose Parade and the excitement that surrounds it, the BOA VIP Rose Parade is for you! Learn more at marching.musicforall.org/rose/vip.