As the world continues to learn more about coronavirus and its spread, it's vital to stay up-to-date on the latest developments. However, it's also important to make sure that the information being distributed is from credible sources. To that end, Between The Lines has compiled, [...]
Some believe you can’t go home again because if you try to return to a place you remember from the past it won’t be the same as it once was. That might be true, but after years of teaching and traveling to faraway places, Markita Moore returned to her high school alma mater, Cass Technical High School in Detroit as band director. She took the reins from the very band director who had instructed her when she had been a member of the school’s marching band.
For Moore, it was a dream come true. She remembered being a 16-year-old high school student sitting in that very band room being so moved by the music she was making and experiencing with her classmates. As she took the baton from the band director who had held the position for some 30 years, she knew this was what she wanted to do.
“When the opportunity came up to interview for the position, I went forward with everything I had,” she said. “I had built a pretty strong reputation and had a lot of experience under my belt.”
Moore is a passionate and versatile music educator who has dedicated her time and talent to teaching in Metro Detroit for the past eight years. She participated in research and curriculum development in Afro-Brazilian music and culture during a Fulbright-Hays Group Project abroad that featured travel, cultural exchange and foreign language acquisition in Brazil in 2018. Moore also received a Music Education Innovator Award in 2019 from the Give a Note Foundation that unites corporate donors with deserving music programs in the U.S. She also taught high school band in Meru, Kenya, in 2019, and she was part of the Rebuilding the Music program at Mary-McLeod Bethune Elementary Middle School in Detroit for two years. In that role, she lead fundraising efforts for instruments while directing several vocal music and instrumental ensembles.
Moore and her family are no strangers in the LGBTQ community. She calls the city of Ferndale home and raised her two children there. Her sister, Kerene, has served on the board of the Jim Toy Center in Ann Arbor. Her band “Elemental Meaning” has played at venues and events across the area.
Since becoming band director, Moore has been at full speed.
“This is a high-speed train that was rolling when I hopped aboard,” she sayid.
She spends her days getting the band ready for performances across the state and country, raising funds for uniforms and equipment, recruiting students and coordinating the efforts of the dance, flag and majorette squads. But the heavy lift is yet to come.
Congresswoman Rashida Tlaib who represents the 13th Congressional District in Michigan extended an invitation for the Cass Tech Marching Band to participate in the 2020 National Memorial Day Parade. It will be the only band representing Michigan.
This trip to Washington, D.C., will be the band’s third trip of the school year. The band will perform some patriotic music like “America The Beautiful” and “Lift Every Voice and Sing,” but it will also throw in a little Motown and an “Aretha” mix.
The band needs to raise a minimum of $30,000 to cover the expenses of the trip including uniforms, travel expenses and upgraded instruments.
At a recent political rally in Detroit, Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders and Rep. Tlaib each pledged $5,000 from their campaigns to support the Cass Tech Marching Band. The students still have approximately $20,000 left to raise to cover travel expenses.
“We’re doing some heavy fundraising between now and April of next year,” Moore said.
They are turning to the community and the Cass Tech alumni network for support as well. The band is also doing some performances to raise money, too.
Tax-deductible donations can be made through the Cass Tech Alumni Association website casstechalumni.org, designated for the “Adopt A Marcher” fundraiser on the memo line.
Moore believes that the revitalization of music education has always been drawn to Cass Tech and its comprehensive approach to music education. Her goal is to follow in the footsteps of her predecessors as the director of the symphonic, concert, jazz and marching bands at Cass.
TAGLINE Michelle E. Brown is a public speaker, activist and author. Her blog radio podcast “Collections By Michelle Brown” airs every Thursday at 7 p.m. Current and archived episodes including her interview with Moore can be heard on Blog Talk Radio, iTunes, Stitcher or SoundCloud. Follow her on Facebook at facebook.com/CollectionsbyMichelleBrown/.