The folks out in Montana really know how to do it!
On Friday evening, the Montana All-State Band was under the baton of U.S. Senator Jon Tester. That's right. A sitting U.S. Senator was conducting the band… and enjoying it!
Tester rehearsed with the band hours before a performance at the Montana High School Association All-State Music Festival. Tester joked after the rehearsal that he was more nervous to perform at the festival than to publicly address the $700 billion economic bailout plan recently approved by the Senate.
The Great Falls Tribune reported:

"They're a very talented group," Tester said of the All-State Band. "They lead me as much as I lead them. … I'm just nervous that I don't screw them up."
In addition to conducting the band, Tester shared advice with the students.
"Music is very important. It's something that you take with you," Tester said, later adding that music taught him how to work hard and be persistent. He said he used those skills later to become successful.
"If you work hard and keep at it, you can be successful. That's what music taught me," Tester said.
He also said that music, and the arts in general, are just as important to study in school as traditional subjects such as math. He said it's a big mistake when schools cut their arts programs, and encouraged the students to continue to pursue music.
Edward Varner, the supervisor of music at Great Falls Public Schools, said Tester's message was passionate.
"It was an honor for us … that he would feel so strongly about music education that he wants to take this time out for us," Varner said.

Now, it does not hurt that Senator Tester is a former music teacher and trumpet player!
This comment caught my eye that is worth repeating:

Music taught him how to work hard and be persistent. He said he used those skills later to become successful.

Isn't it ironic how many people who were involved with music but go on to pursue other career paths invariably refer back to the skills they learned in music as playing a critical role in their non-musical success?
This is a central point we need to keep on making!
Congratulations to the folks in Montana for providing such a striking example for us all!
Senator honored at chance to conduct All-State Band | | Great Falls Tribune