January 25, 2021
“NAfME reminded me how universal music is. Even though we come from different states and cultures, we are all connected by love of music.”
Gavin Tarling is a senior at South Portland High School. His passion for music began in 2nd grade during his piano lessons and has evolved to his participation in just about all things related to music: jazz band, marching band, choir and school musicals.
This year, Gavin participated in the All State Festival and at its completion, he expressed interest in participating in Nationals. In order to be considered, Gavin had to record himself singing a song filled with certain levels of difficulty and send it in for review. To his delight and surprise, he was selected.
“Participating in a virtual music event is a little weird,” Gavin said, “because I wasn’t able to see or hear anyone else. It was a lot of watching the director as we rehearsed. However, we got to a point where Choral Composer Eric Whitacre did a presentation. I’ve looked up to him, so hearing him talk about himself and what he does was the highlight of Nationals for me. He talked a lot about how he composes and the limits he sets for himself when he writes music. It resonated with me because I find I have all these ideas going through my head, so learning it's ok to take a minute to slow down was refreshing to hear from someone so talented.”
Gavin was able to connect with other participants from across the country through a music networking app. He said, “The National Association for Music Education connected me with a lot of people I now think of as friends. Although we may have just met, it feels like I've known the people I’ve connected with a lot longer. NAfME reminded me how universal music is. Even though we come from different states and cultures, we are all connected by love of music.”