ndeed, when speaking with Moanalua High School band director Elden Seta, it becomes apparent that as awesome as the idyllic natural splendor of Hawaii’s volcanoes, rain forests, and beaches is to nature enthusiasts, the school’s music program is similarly magnificent in its own milieu. Seta, the 2003 Milken National Educator Award recipient, insists his program — with its more than 18 consecutive Division I “Superior” ratings in Wind Ensemble and Orchestra — isn’t perfect, yet the elements that have come together in the MHS music department have fostered some fantastic opportunities for the students. In this recent SBO interview, Seta provides some insight into the development of a program that has taken ensembles from Hawaii to Europe, Japan, Australia, California, and New York.
School Band & Orchestra: Tell me about your own introduction to music? Elden Seta: I started out playing music in middle school. My grandfather played faith music, but my parents weren’t musically inclined. I guess when they were in high school most students didn’t participate in music programs. My two older brothers played saxophone, so I picked up the clarinet. I worked my way through middle school and high school, where I became really involved with music and participated in a lot of activities in the program. I had really great teachers there. Eventually, I went to college as a music education major. SBO: At what point did you know that you were going to be making a career in music education? ES: Like any other child, I wasn’t sure if I was going in the right direction or not, and I came to the typical crossroads as a junior in high school. I found out that no matter which direction I turned, I couldn’t find anything that I liked any better or had more interest in than music. That’s when it solidified that I really knew that I was in the right place. I went forward from there and I’ve never looked back since. SBO: Tell me a little bit about the school band programs in your area of Hawaii?
Moanalua High School Music Department at a Glance Address: 2825 Ala Ilima Street, Honolulu, Hawaii On the Web: www.mohsmusic.com Ensembles (No. of Students) Symphonic Wind Ensemble (92) Symphonic Band (155) 9th-Grade Concert Band (93) Symphony Orchestra (90) Concert Orchestra (130) Concert Strings (75) Concert Choir (14) Chorus (24) Jazz Band (14) Marching Band (220) Travel 2006 - Osaka Midosuji Parade, Japan 2005 - Carnegie Hall, New York City, N.Y. 2004 - All Japan Invitational Band Festival, Hamamatsu, Japan 2002 - New Year’s Day Parade, London, England 2000 - Osaka Midosuji Parade, Japan 1998 - Carnegie Hall New York City, N.Y. 1997 - Orange Bowl Parade, Miami Fla. 1995 - Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena Calif. 1992 - West Coast Performance Tour 1991 - Osaka Midosuji Parade, Japan 1991- Osaka Midosuji Festival, Japan 1990 - Tournament of Roses Parade, Pasadena Calif. 1988 - World Expo, Brisbane Australia Annual Parade/Festivals Aloha Week Parade OIA Band Festival Rainbow Invitational Menehune Classic Mililani Bandfest Kamehameha Tournament of Bands Oahu Band Director’s Association State Parade of Bands Central Oahu District Band Festival HASTA State Parade of Orchestras Awards Symphonic Wind Ensemble: Division I “Superior” rating for the past 20 years Symphony Orchestra: Division I “Superior” rating for the past 18 years Marching Band: Numerous 1st-Place state championships; selected to perform at the 2005 Presidential Inauguration.
20 School Band and Orchestra, June 2008
SBO June 2008