The contrast between our children's high school music experience and our New Hampshire grandchildren's couldn't be greater. The band/chorus/school sizes differ by almost a factor of 10.
If I had to choose one over the other, I don't know which I would prefer. At first glance, I'd have gone with the larger programs hands down. Our Central Florida school opportunites are amazing, with music and theater performances (and equipment/resources) of near-professional quality. Plus the area also has magnet schools and private schools dedicated to the performing arts. The opportunities for serious students of the arts are wonderful here. Not perfect—when we were directly involved, the flaws were obvious—but further experience has shown me how much better off we were than many other places.
But what if you just want to have fun? Or even if you're dedicated to your art, is it better to be in the middle of a great talent pool, or at the top of a small one? I don't think there's an easy answer.
But one thing I do know: One advantage of small town schools is that they're more likely to be flexible, e.g. allowing a fifth grader to be in the seventh grade band, and another student to play in both the middle school and the high school bands. (The elementary, middle, and high schools are all on the same small campus, making the latter possible.)
More to the point of this post, there's room in the spring concert schedule to add a blessing for your grandmother when she makes the 1300-mile journey to hear you play and sing.
This was a total surprise.
Earlier in the year, Jonathan had transcribed Seminole Wind, which I love, from a YouTube video, got together with some of his friends, and arranged it for the group. They played it for their classmates, and I'd had a chance to hear a cell phone recording of that, for which I was very thankful—but the sound quality was not all that great.
How Jonathan managed to persuade the music director to let their group serve as the introduction to the spring concert, I don't know—but Jonathan can be very persuasive and their director is very supportive. Here they are:
If I hadn't been wrangling the camera (which I had gotten out just that minute in preparation for taking a snapshot or two), I would have cried. What a gift!