“The SCS music program is growing and with state aid declining, ever dollar is extremely important,” Sally Carr, vocal music instructor at Sherman Central School, said of the $10,000 grant.
The “Glee Give a Note” campaign, started over three months ago, will distribute $1 million to 73 schools nationwide in grants ranging from $10,000 to $50,000 to help save struggling music programs.
“I am so happy for our student body and for our teachers who worked very hard to make this happen,” Kaine Kelly, school principal, said. “Music plays an important role in the lives of our students. We have approximately 75 percent of our student body actively participating in our music programs. This money will be put to good use immediately to enrich the lives of our students. This is a great shot in the arm for our program and our community. I am so proud of our school and our students for receiving this honor.”
Students at Sherman Central School were among thousands across the country who created submissions in video form during an open call for entries in September. In October, the eligible entries were posted on www.GleeGiveANote.com and put up for public vote for one month. During this time, students conducted massive grass roots efforts to win votes for their schools, reaching out to their families, friends and communities to get the vote out. Word quickly spread through Facebook, Twitter and local newsletters and over one million votes were cast to help choose the finalists. A panel composed of NAfME members conducted a final round of judging and, together with the public vote, determined the winning programs.
“Our video was a joint effort between the choral and instrumental departments,” Carr said. “Many of the kids who participated in the video are in both band and choir. The choir worked with me in creating the different vocal parts in the arrangement of ‘This Little Light Of Mine,’ so they have true ownership of the whole process — the sound recording, video recording and the choreography with the candles. The administration helped us put together the facts and figures shown in the video so that we wouldn’t inadvertently misrepresent anything. This grant comes at a difficult financial time in education. Our district relies quite heavily on state aid. That money has been decreasing steadily over the last couple of years and isn’t expected to magically increase this year. The money from this grant will help us update our choral library, repair and purchase instruments for our growing band and buy supplies needed for our general music classes.”
“Many public school programs are feeling the pressure of the budget cuts and state reductions,” Andrew Minton, Instrumental Music Director, said. “While we do try to teach music with as little spending as possible, there are expenses that accrue that simply cannot be met without a little extra here and there. For example, in the band room I try to outfit every student who wants to play an instrument with one to borrow — free of charge. Parents appreciate it for various reasons — some want to gauge their child’s commitment to an instrument before buying, some may not be able to afford or find one, and others may not have room in their house for a tuba or bass drum. However, with the average price of an intermediate flute at around $1,000, this is a hard task to keep instruments stocked, especially in these past seven to eight years where I have seen a steady growth in all groups from year to year. The money will be used to update the choral library, purchase more classroom instruments and keyboards and purchase used band instruments which may need minor repairs that will help to increase our inventory and give more kids the chance to play the instrument they want. Another major portion of the money will be used on tools and supplies for existing instrument for a fraction of the cost of sending them out — literally saving hundreds or more per year. Materials are also very expensive — a reed for a saxophone or clarinet costs from $3 to $5 and does not last long. To buy a new musical selection for the band costs around $100. Finally, a portion will be used to update a recording studio that the kids can use to record original songs, performances, podcasts and other ‘real-life’ musically related material. This is a special treat and is a perfect example of something that cannot be bought with common budget money, as it would not only use more than we have, but is not curricular to the band program alone and would not be a fair use of that money. We are again very thankful and blessed to have won this award. The ‘how to spend’ thoughts have been long and thorough. We would never have been able to get the exposure needed to win this level without all of the support and voting from our town, family and friends. I was overwhelmed at the pouring out that people have done for us in this adventure. Thank you. You have certainly put Sherman on the map this time.”
“Music education plays such a critical role in the development of our children, yet its place in our schools is not assured due to dire budget situations across the nation,” Michael A. Butera, executive director of the National Association for Music Education, said. “Bold and generous acts, like Fox’s ‘Glee Give a Note’ campaign, validate its importance and bring a sense of hope to thousands of educators and students. We are deeply grateful for the funding and awareness this campaign has created.”
To see a list of all the winning schools and view the submissions, visit www.GleeGiveANote.com.
Members of the Sherman Central School high school choir prepare to record their video entry for the “Glee Give a Note” contest. The choir recently discovered it was named a winner in the contest.