Sunday, December 15, 2019
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Richards HS marching flutist is jazz pianist extraordinaire

Those born with the gift of music just can’t get enough of it, the Southtown Star reports. They perform, practice, perform, practice, and eventually, all the practices become performances, and all the performances become practices, a k a learning experiences and opportunities for polishing a very narrow skill set, guaranteed to bring a lifetime of joy.

This particular story is about Madeline Doon, 17, a senior at Richards High School in Oak Lawn. She’s ranked No. 1 in her class, so she has received academic honors, and she plans a pre-med major in college. But lots of kids take up pre-med studies; what sets Ms Doon apart is her music. She started playing flute in fifth grade and piano in sixth grade, and now she accompanies the high school’s show choir on piano, serves as flute section leader in the marching band, has managed to pick up the marimba in her spare time, and competes on the school’s chess team.

All that is impressive, but her gift and persistence both become especially apparent with the school’s jazz ensemble, for which she has received individual honors on both piano and flute. For instance, the jazz ensemble placed first in Class AA and was named overall grand champion last school year at a two-day jazz festival at Illinois State University. She was named one of the top five flute soloists in the competition. But even with natural talent in music, getting to that level still takes a considerable amount of time in the practice room.

“I’m a workaholic,” the Southtown Star quoted her as saying. “There is not a day when I don’t want to practice. I like playing music. I play a lot of jazz music and I play classical and I improvise on the piano. There is not a day when I don’t play.”

For the record, “workaholics” are defined by their tendency to devote too much time to aspects of tasks that are unimportant. Sure, they put in time above and beyond what’s required for normal task completion, but they tend to waste time on aspects of the work that aren’t essential to its quality. I don’t think Ms Doon is a “workaholic” in the traditional sense—a “hard worker,” maybe, but her self-described “workaholic” character seems a bit off for someone who can create the music she has shown she can create.

Making that music is definitely hard work, though. The jazz combo at Richards High School rehearses (PDF) every Monday and Thursday evening and the jazz band rehearses every Wednesday and Thursday morning throughout the entire first semester. The highly recommended performance comes on Wednesday, Dec. 11.

“It is definitely my passion. I devote a lot of time to it. It is a lot of fun,” she said.

Paul Katula is the executive editor of the Voxitatis Research Foundation, which publishes this blog. For more information, see the About page.

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