Tri-M honor society formed

Decorated in paintings, drawings and photos, the art hallway sparkles in the light of the sun. Not far from the displays, music can be heard. A soft hum of voices and various instruments drifts from an appendage of the art hallway that many rarely visit unless they’re enrolled in choir, orchestra, band or debate.

This lack of awareness for the music hall is something that Tri-M, the new music honor society, hopes to change, said junior and vice president Claire Rips-Goodwin.

“Hopefully people in the music department will interact more with one another and hopefully it will foster more involvement with these people in the greater Southwest community,” Rips-Goodwin said. “A lot of band, choir and orchestra kids are exclusive to the music department, so hopefully we’ll get them to branch out.”

Choir director Taryn Gervais said the unawareness of what goes on within the music departments exists even among the students within those departments.

“I see [Tri-M] as a real benefit of connecting all three of our programs at Southwest, just erasing the walls between the orchestra, band and choir room,” Gervais said. “There’s this lack of awareness of what’s going on in the room next door, so our goal today is to make that seamless.”

Senior and president Mackenzie Beeton said she also hopes that Tri-M will strengthen the bond between the three music departments.

“[Tri-M is] technically community service-based, but it’s especially about making sure everyone is involved within the music department and shattering those walls,” Beeton said.

Along with strengthening the bond between the music departments, Gervais said community service is another big goal for Tri-M.

“We have our Southwest service projects, what we are going to do within our department, and then there’s our feeder areas — so what we can do for our elementary and middle school — then there’s the bigger picture with the Overland Park community and beyond,” Gervais said.

Some of the community service projects Rips-Goodwin said Tri-M would participate in were helping out other departments after their concerts, helping elementary and middle school musicians and even assisting in the creation of Tri-M on the middle school level.

“[Aubry Bend is] recruiting right now and they asked us to come down and explain what Tri-M means to us at the high school level and what it’s about,” Gervais said.

As far as the meaning of Tri-M, both Rips-Goodwin and Beeton said members of Tri-M benefit from the society in different ways.

“It’s changed some of the ways I see band,” Rips-Goodwin said. “It’s given me a reason to try to be more of a leader.”

Similar to Rips-Goodwin, Beeton said this experience has helped her gain confidence to lead a group of people with similar end goals or “people that really enjoy music and maybe don’t have time for NHS or NAHS but they still want to have that society for music.”

“Tri-M is really for people who want to go that extra mile with music,” Rips-Goodwin said. “A lot of people in Tri-M are wanting to do music as a major or a minor, or join orchestras or be in ensembles professionally; it’s a medium for them to be able to interact more with other people who are super passionate about music and help them do things with music that they don’t necessarily get the chance to do otherwise.”

Not only does Tri-M benefit its members, but Gervais said she hopes it will allow the rest of the school to understand how much work the music department puts into their performances.

“I think Tri-M is going to benefit Southwest with the general advocacy for the performing arts,” Gervais said. “Positive advocating is becoming more visual for the school itself, so having Tri-M sponsored events and just being present, it’s going to affect the performing arts positively.”

In addition to positively advocating for the arts, Beeton said she hopes to use Tri-M as a platform to get good news out about the music department.

“Our arts programs are absolutely stunning and beautiful and really good at what they do,” Beeton said. “And, with this honor society, we can strive to put ourselves in the spotlight to be recognized for all of these achievements throughout the year.”