The importance of Fine Arts programs

Published 7:00 am Wednesday, October 29, 2014

The Phantom is once again returning to the Saenger Theatre in New Orleans.
Yes, I’m talking about Andrew Lloyd’s Webber’s haunting musical “The Phantom of the Opera.” Finally, after many years of not only waiting to afford tickets but also for the theatre to reopen, I will soon be entranced by the musical in person.
I was about 14-years-old when I first heard the forbidding and mysterious chords of the play’s songs including “Angel of Music”, “The Phantom of the Opera”, “The Music of the Night” and “Think of Me.”
Before becoming a member of the high school choir I had never heard Broadway music before. My teacher not only introduced us to the Phantom, but also Jean Valjean from Les Miserables, Miss Saigon, Jekyll and Hyde: The musical and countless others.
Granted, this type of music is not loved by all, but for me, it was an exciting new genre that I was delighted to be introduced to.
My former high school has since removed the chorale program from their Fine Arts department, a fact I find disturbing.
From what I heard, the change was due to a lack of interest and maybe funding.
In my opinion, if you don’t cultivate and promote your Fine Arts department, then there won’t be an interest.
I had a wonderful musical instructor and am grateful that along with the normal ABCs and 123s, I learned how to sight read, sing in a foreign language, sing and dance on stage and compete in nerve-racking competitions.
I met some of the best people in that class. We were a family. We traveled together, laughed and even fought, but at the end of the day, it was all about performing at our best.
I will never forget the time I spent with my friends, singing and dancing. I overcame a lot of fears during those six years including performing on a stage, singing in front of judges and how to work with my peers to reach a common goal.
It is my hope that educators across this country will realize how important a music department is, and how important Fine Arts are to a student’s development.

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