When educational cuts are made, music and art are amongst the first subjects to go. Music education is more than just introducing students to beats, notes and songs. Instead, it completely transforms a child`s mind and opens up endless possibilities to their learning potential.
CBS News Anchor Dan Rather once said, "Music is exciting. It is thrilling to be sitting in a group of musicians playing the same piece of music. You are part of a great, powerful, vibrant entity. And nothing beats the feeling you get when you've practiced a difficult section over and over and finally get it right. Music is important. It says things you heart can't say any other way, and in a language everyone speaks. Music crosses borders, turns smiles into frowns, and vice versa. These observations are shared with a hope: that, when schools cut back on music classes, they really think about what they're doing - and don't take music for granted."
In spite of cutbacks, Matt Jennings, a music teacher at Arthur I. Boreman Elementary School, is making sure his students know the value of hard work and the importance of music in education, so they never take it for granted. With this in mind, he recently hand picked 23 talented students from 64 fourth and fifth graders at AIB for a one-of-a-kind ensemble. "I chose the students based on their ability, their character and their dedication and willingness to come to after-school rehearsals," Jennings commented.
Twenty-three talented students from Arthur I. Boreman Elementary School will perform at West Liberty University on Feb. 11. Their director and music teacher, Matt Jennings, has been working with the students since December to prepare them for the big day.
"We haven't done this for several years," Jennings said. "But I wanted to do it." With so much going on during the day, he knew the practice had to be done after hours. The students have been practicing diligently since December to perfect their craft, staying after school twice a week to work with Jennings, who guides them step by step through the pieces to ensure they are ready to for their debut.
Teaching musical basics to his elementary aged students, Jennings is giving every musically inclined child who passes through AIB a huge advantage. His love for music is evident in his hands-on approach to teaching, and the students are quick to respond. "The kids want to be here," he commented. "They really like it."
Tyler County as a whole is rich in musical talent, and Jennings is quick to point this out. "Not too many counties can boast a well-rounded music program," Jennings said. "They either have a good choir or a good band, but rarely both. We have both in Tyler County."
The hard work of Jennings' student will pay off Feb. 11, as the ensemble performs two vocal pieces and one percussion ensemble at West Liberty University.
The group includes Creed Ammons, Jylian Goddard, Anna Grimes, Kaytlyn Henthorn, Gage Huffman, Shawn Jones, George Kester, Katie Miller, Summer Miller, Gavin Morris, Kimmie Owens, Rachel Thomas, Judah Turner, Madison Yeater, Haley Fletcher, Mac Gibbs, Emily Lancaster, Destry Nelson, D.J. Stoller, Megan Vandruff, Nikki Vandruff, Brianna Wade and Brandon Wise.