Supporting Notes: Advocates aim to return music to classrooms

October 2016 Posted in Arts, Culture & History, School
friends-of-music-web

SHS Marching Band by Kristine Thomas



By Kristine Thomas

According to a highly reliable musical source, Sarah Kaser Weitzman was told the last time a tuba was purchased for the Silverton High School band was in 1953.
“My mom remembers when the band got the tuba,” she said laughing.
What is not a laughing matter for Weitzman or fellow members of Silverton Friends of Music is how due to budget cuts, music programs have taken a hit.
From the band needing new musical instruments and band uniforms to music not being offered at all the district schools, a group of parents and community members decided they wanted to help support music in the Silver Falls School District.
Last January, several community members started the nonprofit organization Silverton Friends of Music.
Weitzman serves as president, Jon Fronza as secretary, Heather Pilkington as treasurer, Mandy Petrik as vice president in charge of fundraising, and Lainie Pyper as vice president in charge of hospitality.
The nonprofit organization’s mission statement is “to support, promote and enhance the music program at all levels within the Silver Falls School District through a collaborative effort with music teachers, school administrators, teachers and parents. The arts are a proven essential part of a complete education for the whole child; we therefore advocate for strong music programs in our public schools.”
There are three events in October to get the word out about Silverton Friends of Music, Weitzman said.
At the Silverton Sidewalk Shindig which runs Saturday, Oct. 1 noon to 6 p.m. in downtown Silverton, Friends of Music are sponsoring a kids area at Town Square Park so children can make and learn about musical instruments.
Then Tuesday, Oct. 4, the group is having a dining fundraiser at Silverton’s Thai Dish, 209 N. Water St. The restaurant owners have agreed to donate 15 percent of the proceeds from meals ordered from 4 to 9 p.m.
Finally on Thursday, Oct. 20, Silverton Friends of Music will hold meeting at 7:30 p.m. to plan future activites. They are reaching out to parent teacher clubs and inviting rural parents to become involved with the group. For location and other details, contact Silverton Friends of Music Facebook administrator.
Understanding musical equipment can be expensive to either buy or rent, Weitzman said SFOM plans to provide scholarships so all students can participate.
“Our goal is to provide a musical education to every student in the district,” Weitzman said. “In order for our high school band and choir members to excel, they need to learn the basics in elementary school.”
Music, they believe, supports learning in math, science, spatial awareness, critical thinking and creativity.

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