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Potsdam Music

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To The Editor:

In 2007, before his senior year of high school, my son, Nicholas, asked his father and me if he could complete his senior year not at Potsdam High School, but at the Interlochen School, a private school for music in Michigan. My husband and I did not even seriously consider his request. Potsdam Central had a variety of meaningful courses available to seniors, and most importantly to us, its music program was strong, robust, and healthy. He stayed in Potsdam for his senior year, attended the Shepherd School of Music at Rice University, and is now a professional musician, playing with the National Arts Centre Orchestra in Ottawa, Canada.

Were Nick to ask us now about attending Interlochen, though, we would have to think long and hard. The variety and availability of meaningful courses that Potsdam is able to offer have suffered greatly at the hands of state budget cuts, and unfortunately its music program can no longer be categorized as strong, robust, or healthy.

The teachers who provide Potsdam students with music education work as hard as they are physically able to at propping up the program and providing as much service as they can to the many students who take advantage of Potsdam’s long tradition of musical excellence.

Unfortunately, there just aren’t enough man-hours, or woman-hours as the case may be, to effectively do the job. The music teachers are spread too thinly over too large an area, the result being that at no time are they in one place long enough to provide the support that music students need and deserve.

At last Tuesday’s school board meeting, the board had the opportunity to prevent at least further bleeding of the music program by reinstating in full the proposed full-time cut. Four board members voted yes to this motion. Unfortunately, four others voted no, despite the fact that money would be returned to the district as half of the position would be a BOCES shared service, making it an affordable add on to the budget. And so, the music program at Potsdam continues to hemorrhage, while four Board members and many members of the community who attended and spoke at the meeting, try to stop the bleeding.

I would ask the four members of the Potsdam School Board who voted “no” at the meeting to reconsider their decision and reinstate the proposed time music position to full time.

Adrienne Hartman

Potsdam

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