Administration undervalues our music program

This year, during 8th grade parent night, a wave of students and parents flooded the gym to hear from teachers, students, and administrators about the different programs offered at San Marin. Not once was the music program mentioned. Instead, the first hour was dedicated to the STEM program, and everyone, despite their interest in the program, had to listen. Administrators then asked questions to the student panel and not one question pertained to the music program in any way. Despite a panelist being a member of Advanced Jazz Band he was only asked questions about STEM.

This highlights a broader issue of administration’s priority when it comes to advertising San Marin: as a whole, they do not value the music program. They seem to assume that most student’s interest lies in STEM (and Biotech). But for many students, including my 13 year old brother, this is not the case. Don’t get me wrong, they also seem to have an affinity for our football program, playing highlight reels of Varsity players in the background during 8th grade parent night. It looks to me that they care much, much less about our arts programs, choosing not to highlight the orchestral and jazz recitals we hold, and the plays and musicals we put on.

This is further exemplified by the function of “San Marin Music Notes,” which is the music newsletter. It is entirely separate from the rest of e-mailed school news, only seen if you sign up for it. If music news was integrated consistently into the newsletters that everyone receives, then maybe more people would be interested in joining the program.

This inequity is a travesty, because our art programs are great and absolutely deserve to be highlighted. I have been involved with the music program since my freshman year, and this year I am in two of the Rock Bands, Jazz Band, Musical Theatre, and Pit Orchestra. Many freshmen and sophomores don’t know these programs exist, or even that we have a performing arts center (PAC). This is astounding, because the community that Ms. McIvor, Mrs. Gates, and all of the other art faculty have created is one that I will cherish for the rest of my life. They both genuinely have a passion for the teaching they do and the performances they put on. Whether we’re in rehearsal and Ms. McIvor is breaking down individual sections of a song, or Mrs. Gates is holding singing lessons in her room at lunch, they’re always willing to take the extra time to help. I have met so many amazing people, and been given outstanding opportunities through the music program.

I give all of this praise because I want underclassmen and prospective students to understand what administration doesn’t tell you: we have more here than just STEM and sports. If you’re interested in Visual or Performing Arts, there is a place here for you here at San Marin. They just don’t really tell you about it.

Lauren Dempsky

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