Saturday, May 23, 2009

Life in Festival Land

I know I haven't posted for awhile, but.....I've been busy. For the first time, I entered my performing groups in the Kiwanis Music Festival. I was very proud of their performances. My concert choir came home with a silver and my band with a bronze. The clinics that were given to the groups were very informative. However, the clinicians really didn't say anything that I hadn't already been harping at them about. I know that and the kids know that. Hopefully, hearing it from someone else (at a hefty price), will hit home. It will be interesting to see.

It was interesting to see and hear the types of groups entered in the festival. A number of my students remarked that everyone seemed to be from private schools. Hmmm...wonder what's going on here. In fact, after a conversation with one of the band clinicians, it came out that there were only two public school bands performing and go figure: both from Coquitlam. As far as the choirs go, there were only a handful of public schools competing out of a weeks worth of performances. Makes you think: what is happening to our public music system? Are we going the way of the dinosaur? I find it intriguing as I know there are excellent music programs in our district, yet so few take these opportunities. Yes, the festivals cost money. Yes, the preparation takes time. However, the benefits to the students far exceed the the cons. I think our students need to have the bar placed high for them. They need to know the discipline of preparing for such an event. I think that our music programs in the public system have become a little bit mickey-mouse (sorry to those of you in California!). Maybe that's why parents are removing their kids at alarming rates from our system and putting them in the private system. I definitely think that that's a scary way to go. Is all society moving to an elitist system? As public educators, we better pull up our socks and get out there. Our kids deserve these opportunities. Our kids are just as good or better then these have all institutions. We just need to give them a nudge.

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