Looking back at the original article again, something struck me:
" • Many schools have orchestras, bands, theaters of a very high, almost professional quality. Free.
This. I'm so impressed by the standard of US school bands. I'm sure some are better than others, but take a look at the Langham Creek symphonic wind band. I can't believe they're of school age; it's stunningly good. They're better than some professional wind orchestras.
I really don't think you'd find an equivalent here. School bands here are almost an afterthought unless you're at a specialist music college, which I always think is a great shame.
I was listening to the symphonic orchestra I was a part of in high school (public school - people from top band got to play with the string orchestra), and I realized, for the first time ever, how truly good we were. We could play intricate classical pieces as well arrangements from movie soundtracks like Superman Returns and Pirates of the Caribbean. While I was in high school, I always thought we sucked, because I always heard the mess - ups (and I still can, even after more than 4 years!), but now I realize how very hard those pieces were. Cabbage and I were in one of the best music programs where we lived, and the directors never let up on us or let us be slackers.
Unfortunately, there are even schools in the US where music programs are only an afterthought, and that really saddens me. One of the best things that ever happened to me was joining orchestra in middle school (11 years old), because I got a creative outlet and lots of friends I wouldn't have otherwise had, because I was so bullied otherwise.