To The Daily Sun,
We are all aware of the budget cuts that are affecting all our city schools next year. As president of the LHS Band Booster Group, I would like to inform everybody of the most recent decisions as I understand them.
Elementary school band has been moved to an after school "choice," which was a proposed and decided on last month at the School Board meeting. We now understand that the Laconia High School Band will also be an after school "choice" as well as the chorus class being moved from a full-year class to one semester. This means no jazz band and no concert choir.
These cuts also include cuts to Music Department stipends. What stipends, you ask? Maybe marching band, the musicals, pep band? We are not being told.
I am calling for anybody and everybody who supports these courses to have a voice, speak up, call your principals, the superintendent, School Board officials, send letters to the newspaper and spread the word that these courses must stay a part of the core curriculum at LHS.
Call and write every day if you want. However we can be heard, we must stand united, be present, positive, and most of all passionate.
The valedictorian and salutatorian of the class of 2016 are both active members of the band. That speaks for itself. The work ethic, dedication and countless learning opportunities these students gain from music education shines through every day. How many other groups/classes have traveled to places like Orlando, Washington, D.C., and Canada, competed and returned with hundreds of trophies for their school?
My son is a junior and has been taking band since the fourth grade. If my son can take a class during the school day on "weight training or weight lifting," why should he not be able to continue his music education during the day just as well? Maybe that can be an after-school "choice," or a club, like it is at countless other schools?
What will the Friday night football games sound like without the marching band? I love watching football just as much as I love watching my son perform in the band, but let's face it, the game will sound different without the band and the stands will look different without the bands, fans.
How about the countless parades our marching band performs in? Who will play and represent the city of Laconia in these parades? Perhaps we can ask one of the other area schools to do that and represent LHS in the annual homecoming parade too.
The students making up the LHS Music Department spend countless hours practicing every day. They support the athletic programs by playing before, during and after their games. Yet they are rarely supported by their peers. The first time I have ever witnessed a coach at LHS thank these students for supporting their players during a game was at the girls championship game at SNHU earlier this year. Thank you Coach Greeley for supporting these talented musicians and acknowledging their hard work. More could really learn from your example.
It is clear to anybody that has walked through the doors at LHS that students in the Music Department do not get the same respect as students involved in the athletic programs. This is not to take away from any of the student athletes at our school, as many of them are friends and family members. They are children, children lead by example, the example that has been shown in our schools past and present is the same, athletics is more important to our administration and our school district than any arts program will ever be. It is a shame and not at all conducive to a healthy learning environment for our students.
We knew with the departure of our talented LHS music educator, Mrs. Gibson, things would be different ... but this? I expected a new music educator to instruct my son in jazz band, marching band, pep band, concert choir and chorus during his school day, only to be informed that now not only will he have to make a choice between an after school job or continuing his love for music education, but that some of these will not be offered to him at all?
Please take a moment to share this info with friends, family, newspapers, and area businesses who have supported our Music Department students throughout the years, gain all the support we can.