In high school and college I sang in the choir. It was one of my favorite extra-curricular activities. As I told my football playing buddies, “There are no girls at football practice.”
That’s why I was really disappointed to learn, when I came to Lake Forest in 2003, that after 6th grade our children had no opportunity to sing. Band was the only musical offering through middle and high school. Singing in the choir brings in a whole bunch more kids with music in their heart, without the expense of the instrument. I can confirm that most singers continue to enjoy singing long into adulthood.
We’ve only had one faculty music position at LFHS and that person has always been expected to be a band person. Only in recent years have we pushed for the band teacher to also teach choir. The music program at the high school level has struggled to maintain good numbers, perhaps because we’ve been through 4 band teachers in the last seven years. We’ve had some great students and active band boosters who have hung in there and done their best because of their love of music, but I know the frequent changes have sometimes left them frustrated.
So, it’s time for some changes. Here’s the plan for next school year. We’ll have two part-time music people at LFHS. One will teach chorus the other will teach band. The good thing about it is, the teachers will be well known to the students and parents.
The chorus teacher will be Mark Teesdale, former Delaware Teacher of the Year, who has been teaching choir to students at Central Elementary for years. He’ll start each day with a couple of periods at LFHS. Then he’ll go across the street to finish his day at Central.
The band teacher will be Joe Baione, who has been teaching beginning band for many years at Central. He will continue to teach the beginners at Central and two periods a day will teach jazz band and concert band at LFHS. Note I say concert band, not marching band.
Marching band will be offered as an after school extra-curricular activity and it will be taught by someone other than Mr. Baione. This will be a little controversial I know. Some students who play sports will not be able to be in the marching band. Then again, there may be students who don’t want to take the class who will love band as an after school activity.