When I think about the many public appearances our instrumental students make throughout the year I am awed by the number of people who have been touched by the talent, enthusiasm and dedication of these fine young musicians.
Most students begin playing an instrument in elementary school. By the time they enter middle school they are not only performing for their families and classmates, but also representing our school system in Solo and Ensemble Festivals in Michigan and Band Festivals throughout the Midwest.
In high school they play their instruments at a number of events. The Pep Band performs at all football and basketball games. This past year the Grosse Pointe North High School students premiered their new drum-line in the Homecoming Parade. The Jazz Band plays at many events including private parties and Music on the Plaza. The Pit Orchestra spends countless hours rehearsing for and performing in the school musical.
Additionally, the high-school students are seen at the Grosse Pointe Thanksgiving Parade, rating festivals throughout the country, local churches, nursing homes, school concerts, graduations, awards ceremonies and pep rallies. The instrumental students are undoubtedly one of the most visible groups in our school system. We are truly fortunate to have these wonderful ambassadors for our community.
The accomplishments of our band and orchestra directors are amazing. There is an excitement that grows every year with our instrumental program. Although this year's student population at Grosse Pointe North is only half of its opening enrollment in 1968, the number of instrumental students enrolled in a band or orchestra class is presently at an all-time high.
With this wonderful growth, however, come growing pains. The locker space for instruments at Grosse Pointe North is grossly inadequate; cases holding school-owned instruments are so old that they are literally falling apart; there are not enough instruments for all of the students who wish to participate in pep band; students are using 30-year-old instruments that are beyond repair; there is no money in the budget for uniforms.
Some of these needs will be addressed with the passing of the bond in September. Ongoing fund raising by the students and the Band and Orchestra Boosters will help with other needs. The rest will unfortunately have to wait for better financial times.
Our students are very proud of their musical accomplishments. They are wonderful representatives of Grosse Pointe and Harper Woods while competing at rating festivals throughout the country. They bring school spirit to our community.
Our instrumental students need the citizens to support the bond in September. Please show them that their hours of practice and their years of commitment to music are valued by the adults in our community.
Please support our children by voting "Yes" on the school bond Sept. 24.