Community Corner: The value of music education
by Denise Blaszynski
President, Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters
When I was asked to write a column for the Elburn Herald promoting the Kaneland Performing Arts Boosters, I was thrilled. However, I had no idea where to begin.
My problem wasn’t that I was lacking ideas—I had too many. I wanted to mention that director Steven Spielberg, musician Lenny Kravitz, basketball star Vince Carter and former Chairman of the Federal Reserve Allan Greenspan were once members of a high school marching band or choir. I’d reference studies that show children who receive music education score higher on standardized tests than their peers who don’t.
Study after study confirmed my belief—schools that cut arts programs end up spending more money on education while their test scores decrease. How could I tie the value of music education for our children to what the Performing Arts Boosters hope to accomplish?
Annually, Kaneland District officials are faced with maintaining a balanced budget while providing quality education for our students. Illinois is in poor shape financially, and ultimately it’s the students who are paying the price. Money that could be spent on music and art just isn’t there.
Of the approximately 1,100 students enrolled at Harter Middle School (HMS) this year, 298 are enrolled in chorus and 243 in band, with many students participating in both. At Kaneland High School (KHS), enrollment is over 1,300 with 117 participating in band and 154 in choir.
Area school districts are partnering with booster organizations to help supplement music program expenditures through fundraising endeavors. This year, the Performing Arts Boosters provided a catered meal for the KHS Marching Knights who participated in a state-wide marching band championship; purchased a music cabinet for the middle school choir room; and provided additional funds for recording equipment for the high school choir.
The HMS Mattina Brass ensemble will perform at three Chicago sporting events with the cost of tickets paid by the boosters. Currently, planning is underway for “A Knight of Performances” barbecue dinner, which will be held on Saturday, March 9, at 4:30 p.m. at the middle school, and will include choir, band and theatre student performances and a basket raffle to raise money for the ever-growing directors’ wish lists.
As the boosters continue to grow, keep in mind that every time you support a music student, you are not only contributing to the music and theatre programs, but to the district as well. You might even help to further the dreams of a future celebrity.
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