Public school districts work hard to keep orchestra programs going

Posted on: September 19, 2013

Two recent articles chronicle efforts in Pennsylvania and West Virginia to maintain orchestral music programs in the public schools. On Wednesday (9/18) in the Daily Review (Towanda, Pa.), Eric Hrin writes, “A string instrument and orchestra phase-out plan hit a discordant note at the last Canton Area School Board meeting [in Canton, Pa]. The proposal was tabled after many people, mostly students, spoke out against the plan…. Student Jadyn Ayres said she was ‘crushed’ to hear the plans of ‘doing away with the orchestra program.’ … The district once employed two teachers, one to teach band and one to teach orchestra, and when the orchestra teacher retired, the position wasn’t replaced, in order to save money.” A parent, Bernie Bly, “expressed support for hiring an extra teacher so the orchestra program could continue. He was applauded.” In Monday’s (9/16) Herald-Dispatch (Huntington, West Va.), Bill Rosenberger writes, “A year ago this month, Barboursville Middle School received a generous gift from the VH1 Save the Music Foundation and the West Virginia Department of Culture and History that is allowing the orchestra to flourish. The school was given 43 instruments including 14 violins, 15 violas and several basses and cellos. The $30,000 gift also was one of the first for stringed instruments. Today, orchestra director Eric Akers boasts a band of 291 students… [Student] Kelly Whitmore said getting a viola last year allowed her to practice more and ended with her making All-County Orchestra. Akers said 28 of his students made it to the All-County, up from six the year before.”

Posted September 19, 2013