Music in Our Schools kicks off

Published 9:25 am Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Albert Lea Area Schools are celebrating Music In Our Schools Month, and music instructors say they hope it raises awareness for the importance of music education for students.

“We spend a lot of time in school giving information to students,” said Peter Gepson, Albert Lea High School band director. “The daily time spent in music opens up their minds to the information.”

March was designated as Music In Our Schools Month by the National Association for Music Education. The theme this year is “Music Lasts a Lifetime.”

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The concerts in March are the last time high school students have to perform before the Big Nine music festival. High school choir director Diane Heaney said music is important for students because many stick with it and go on to be in community bands, sing in church choirs or any other informal groups.

“It’s a lifelong skill,” Heaney said.

Heaney said working together to prepare for concerts teaches students important life skills like cooperating with each other and learning to stick with things.

“When everything clicks there’s a feeling that no one ever forgets,” Heaney said.

New this year for the high school is combined band and choir concerts. The concert band and choir performed on Monday and did a song together. The Tiger and Varsity choirs and bands will perform on March 22. Gepson and Heaney said they thought it might be easier for parents who have students in both band and choir, and they also wanted them to perform together.

“We thought we’d try something different,” Heaney said.

Other schools in Albert Lea are holding concerts as well, including a sixth- through 12th-grade orchestra concert on Thursday at the high school at 7 p.m. Halverson Elementary School will also present a show called “Musicals, Movies and More” with various types of songs to celebrate Music In Our Schools Month.

Upcoming concerts
Thursday: sixth- through 12th-grade orchestra concert, 7 p.m., ALHS auditorium
Friday: second- and third-grade program, 9 a.m. or 1 p.m., Lakeview Elementary School
Tuesday: Tiger and Varsity choirs, Tiger and Symphonic bands concert, 7 p.m., ALHS auditorium
March 23: third- and fourth-grade “Musicals, Movies and More” concert, 10:30 a.m., Halverson Elementary School
March 24: fourth- through sixth-graders will present the “Alice in Wonderland” musical, 7 p.m., ALHS auditorium
March 26: Show choir competition, 9:15 a.m. competition starts, 7 p.m. finale shows start, ALHS auditorium