Earlier this year, Miss Bonner, the PHS band director, was asked to teach band, percussion and four English classes next year. Such a workload is impossible to manage because of the attention that must be devoted to a band, if the band is to grow and succeed. Here is a list of her responsibilities: Marching band, jazz band, Madrigal recorders and brass, concerts, contests, parades, pep band and additional instruction. These ensembles are only successful if the director fully devotes his/her time to the band program. We only grew, once she no longer had to teach English classes. As a current PHS and senior, I can attest to the fact the band program has grown significantly since she was hired. Our sight reading skills, energy and our overall sound have improved. I truly believe Miss Bonner will continue to be successful and will push her future bands to grow, just as the PHS band has grown. I’m incredibly sad to see her leave; she will be missed.
Unfortunately, the school board has once again ignored the best interests of the band. How did the school board find a new director so quickly? Who would apply for a part-time job that wouldn’t even begin to pay off student loans? Yet, in less than a month, they have found a replacement: Mr. Crawford, the PHS choir director. He loves music and is qualified, but he cannot devote enough time to both band and choir to promote growth and provide adequate instruction. This dilemma isn’t his fault; no one could accomplish such a task.
I am disappointed in the school board. A music program cannot succeed if its director is unable to devote all of his or her time to the program. As a choir student, I can say the choir program is successful because Mr. Crawford can devote his time to the choirs. I believe the board and the administration favor the choirs over the band. The choir is good only because the program is allowed to thrive. I feel like the band program isn’t allowed to move forward.
Additionally, I believe the school board doesn’t care about the band or our growth and success. To the school board: How many of you have attended a band concert? If you haven’t, please come to the ice cream social. Hopefully then you might begin to understand how important it is for the band to have a full-time director. We are passionate about music, and some of us are going to college to become band directors. How can we possibly succeed if growth is not allowed?
To the school board: Reconsider your decision. I realize next year’s arrangements cannot be reversed, but future decisions can be changed. I intend to visit my band, and I sincerely hope they will continue to grow and share their love of music with the community. Please don’t disappoint me, the band and the rest of the community.