Featured image of article: Instrumental And Choral Programs Return To Middle Schools

Instrumental And Choral Programs Return To Middle Schools

Superintendent Kimberly Rizzo Saunders and the ConVal School District are pleased to announce the return of the middle school instrumental and choral programs for the coming school year. 

Due to COVID-19 concerns, Great Brook and South Meadow Middle Schools paused the instrumental and choral programs. Music teachers taught general music, including music history, theory and technology, but students were unable to participate in performing groups.

This school year, students will have the opportunity to participate in the instrumental, choral or general music programs as a part of the United Arts Rotation, which allows students to experience several disciplines. The district plans to alter the regular class schedule so that students have music classes five days a week. 

Students in these classes develop the skills needed for successful careers in music, including teamwork, focus, confidence, discipline and active listening. According to the National Association of Music Educators, students with three or more years of instrumental music training show enhanced auditory discrimination, fine motor, vocabulary and nonverbal reasoning skills.

“Most musicians develop their love for performing and the arts before they get to high school. We are hoping to make up for time lost due to the pandemic by offering increased opportunities for students to get involved in music,” said Superintendent Rizzo Saunders. “Our students have so much potential and we want them to explore it while learning the skills needed to graduate to higher-level music classes. Studying music helps students develop skills that are crucial for many different types of classes and subjects.”

To ensure the safety of students and staff, the district will follow guidance from the Centers for Disease Control (CDC), the International Coalition of Performing Arts and the state. When indoors, band and chorus students will be required to maintain a social distance of three feet, wear a mask and use instrument bell covers to limit the spread of airborne particles. The district will utilize outdoor spaces to practice whenever possible.

“During middle school, students want to try new things, find friends with similar interests and feel successful. Music allows them to do this,” said Music Teacher Patrick Cogan. “I am so excited to have my ensembles running again. I cannot wait to make connections with my students and share with them what I have loved doing for so many years.”

For more information about the South Meadow School Instrumental program, please email Ed Lowy at elowy@conval.edu. For more information about the SMS choral program, please email Elizabeth Fortin at efortin@conval.edu.

For more information about the Great Brook School Instrumental program, please email Jahna Moncrief at moncriefj@conval.edu. For more information about the GBS choral program, please email Cogan at pcogan@conval.edu.