Notes from the field: A silent September?

Last night, the youth and adult choirs performing at the 2nd Annual Greater Olney Community Concert demonstrated the power of the collective voice working together in strength and harmony to convey a myriad of human emotions. 

Hosted by the Grover Washington Jr. Middle School and featuring the school's choir along with three others, the event was a welcome respite from the pall that is now currently being cast over the schools and the communities they serve by the uncertainty of gainful employment for certain teachers and staff this fall. 

One can say that the distinct and lush singing, at least for an hour, kept those anxious thoughts at bay, but nonetheless, a bitter aftertaste lingered, when one imagined the potential absence of music teachers at Grover next year or even the school having zero capacity to host a community event because of the lack of support staff who keep the school humming operationally.

As a person who not only cares about arts education in the schools for our children, but a school with a robust fabric of adults that provide stable and continuous care, with the anticipated cuts to arts teachers, physical education, ESOL support staff, counselors, vice principals, administrative support, security, it is evident that the list is long, and the weave of this fabric will be thin and porous. 

If hearing the youth choirs convey the hush tones of Shenandoah or the hopeful ebullience of The Muppets' Rainbow Connection was the epitome of artistic and spiritual elevation, then I dread the day next September when I step through the doors at Grover, or any other school, and all I hear is but a faint whisper of the memory of the voices of children singing.