Monday, May 03, 2010

Cutting the Accompanist?

Note to school board bureaucrats: if you're looking at service cuts, don't cut accompanists.

Why? Accompanists are valued members of school communities. Cut the pianist and the choir may soon disappear too.

Melissa Treolo reports in the Bonner Springs Chieftain about a frantic effort to save BSHS' district staff accompanist position from the axe of the USD 204 Board of Education. BSHS senior Emily Warren deserves special credit for her plea to the board:
Shayne Warren’s daughter, BSHS senior Emily, also spoke to the board, crediting [choir director Brian] White and the choir department with giving her what she needed most after moving from California: an enriching arts experience she initially thought would be lacking in the small, Midwestern city of Bonner Springs. Losing the accompanist, she said, would be tantamount to losing the choir altogether.
“I understand that there’s a lot of things you have to take into consideration, but please, please, please understand that … you’re affecting the rest of the lives of … the freshmen who have come to the high school excited because they know the program is as good as it is,” Emily said. “Mr. White has devoted his time to teaching us the music, and he can’t play two roles, two very important roles, in a choir is the music (along) with teaching us how to be who we are, how to be the choir, the magnificent choir, we are. And, please, do not take that away from us.”
Sadly, the accompanist whose position is facing elimination was not named. All this press coverage and we're still anonymous... Update: The pianist whose position is facing elimination is Marsha Canady, as noted in an April 29 article. The board has held off on making its decision until May 17. (Thanks Melissa!)

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