Music in Our Schools gearing up

Clovis High School sophomore Joshua Zahn, right, sings “A Red Red Rose” along with other tenors Thursday during concert choir class at the high school. (Staff photo: Eric Kluth)

By Tonya Garner: CNJ staff writer

February will end on a good note for area students and music enthusiasts with the commencement of Clovis’ annual Music in Our Schools campaign.

The two-week-long event kicks off today and culminates in a grand concert featuring performances by Clovis band and chorale students. The 28th annual celebration is part of the National Music in Our Schools Month sponsored by the Music Educators National Conference and is a time when area schools can focus on music education.

This year’s theme is “Music, the Heart of Education.”

More than 6,500 students take part in music instruction in Clovis schools, according to Music Coordinator Wayne Anderson.

Anderson said Clovis’ schools consider music to be part of a core curriculum. “Music is not a luxury,” Anderson said, “it’s a necessity.”

Clovis High School choir director Brian Uerling agrees.
Uerling believes music gives students of all ages the opportunity to use different parts of their brains and also allows students to express themselves.

“It’s OK to be expressive when it comes to music,” Uerling said, “so music provides an emotional release.”

Uerling will lead his students through several songs including the Old English folk song, “Oh Dear What Can the Matter Be?” at the grand concert. He said his students have been working on the difficult piece for a month.

“I have a great group of kids,” Uerling said. “This folk song is a very difficult, college level piece which they picked right up.”

A member of the Clovis Community Band, marketing professional Kathy Elliott also believes music is a good influence for young people.

Elliott started playing the clarinet in the fifth grade.

“Music has made (my life) richer. It gives me pleasure that you just cant find other places.”

Elliott believes exposing kids to music “early on is the key” because they are more ready to absorb at a young age.

“I’ll be playing until my false teeth fall out of my head,” she said, explaining her son is the third generation to play in their family.

“Music is part of our family,” she said.