How seriously do we take our music offerings?
A recent letter to the editor spoke eloquently of the important role of music in the lives of children. Iím concerned that this sincere letter will be dismissed by the school board and the superintendent. Their response to concerns about cuts to the music program has been assurance that the S-GI music curriculum will be equal to that of other school districts. I fail to understand why this is supposed to be good news. Why is lowering the standards of S-GIís music department to the lowest common denominator a good thing?
We have an outstanding music department here, with highly accomplished faculty, yet the proposal is to diminish this aspect of the curriculum to mediocre status. Public pleas to maintain this program have fallen on deaf ears, with continued rationalization that there will still be music in our schools. True, but this will not be the quality program students, parents and the community have come to expect. For many of us, this is not acceptable.
If you attended the recent All Band concert, you heard the elementary band students playing their hearts out with commitment and sincerity. You heard the incredible improvement in the quality of the middle school performance. And you heard the high school band rock the house; they rocked the house! They were incredible. They always are. We have the high school band director, Mr. Joe Gervase, to thank for the quality of the high school band. Yet, his position will be cut under the current budget proposal.
The students, the faculty and the community want to maintain the music program so that these levels of performance continue; so that the high school band always rocks the house.
My training as a social worker has taught me that the opinion of the person I am working with is important. I believe that, while the superintendent is an expert in his field, parents are experts on their children and what type of educational experience will serve them best. Students are experts in knowing what excites them to learn and what makes them want to come to school.
I strongly believe that the music curriculum at S-GI is vital to the education of our children. The faculty, including Mr. Gervase, must be maintained. The music curriculum develops a multitude of skills that support educational success, is a source of self-esteem and self-confidence for the participating students and is the long-standing pride of the community.
Board members Joan Kelly and Delia Bonenberger both recently spoke of the disparity between student interests and programs being slated for cuts or reduction. The need to offer students what they want for courses was supported by these board members, and I applaud them for speaking out. I implore the community to let the board know that we want to maintain this special source of community pride as it is currently structured. This means keeping the existing, highly-skilled music faculty. The lowest common denominator is not acceptable.