Growing up in Stillwater, a major source of civic pride was the consistently outstanding music programs in our schools. My father directed the high school choir for 22 years, and I participated in choir, band and orchestra throughout my school years.
I had the privilege of touring Norway with the band, and playing at the Kennedy Center in Washington, D.C., with the orchestra, among other life-changing experiences. My involvement in these music programs made me a better student and better person in a multitude of ways: it taught me discipline, gave me a respect for hard work and tradition, created friendships that have lasted to this day, and, perhaps most importantly, inculcated in me an understanding of what it takes to achieve excellence in any pursuit, which has served me very well in my adult life.
I have heard that the District 834 music programs are potential targets for budget cuts. Losing these programs with such a long history of high achievement and betterment of kids would be a devastating loss, one that simply could not be replaced.