Save the music


OBSERVER Staff Writer

SINCLAIRVILLE – Cassadaga Valley Central School music teachers John Cross and Joseph Braeger are making the case against further cuts in the district’s music program.

They sent a letter home to the parents and guardians of students inviting them to a meeting at 6:30 p.m. on Monday in the band room to “discuss the impact of music cuts on the future of music education at Cassadaga Valley.”

Following that meeting, the Board of Education meets at 7 p.m. in the middle/high school multipurpose room. Cross plans to give a brief presentation at that meeting followed by student comments if time permits.

The music department is urging the board to hire a full-time music teacher to replace retiring music teacher Mark Klose.

The argument is the music department already lost a full time teacher to cuts two years ago. According to the letter, “This represented a 25 percent cut in music instruction for our district. This percentage of music instruction exceeded the declining enrollment projection.”

The present school budget is reducing another full-time position to half-time.

The letter says this will cut music instruction by 50 percent for Kindergarten through 5th grade students next year if action is not taken. It urges that music be taught to K-2 students because this helps format a student’s cognitive function. A concern mentioned is the lack of opportunity for elementary students to sing in vocal groups this past year.

In the program given to those attending the senior high school spring concert on Thursday, the band’s recent history of performances and awards was outlined, as well as coming events in this year’s school calendar.

Cross and Braeger also asked students whether music has made a difference in their individual lives. The answers were on the back page of the program. Different responses to ‘Music is’ included: “All the things I want to say but never can;” “An outlet for the soul;” “The way I express my life;” “Why I come to school. I would probably get into mischief like others who don’t take advantage of our music program;” and “What I turn to when all else fails.”

The Jazz Band is scheduled to return from a trip to Cleveland and Sandusky, Ohio today. The group will play at the Rock & Roll Hall of Fame beforehand. Cross was not able to be reached for comment.

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