To the Editor:
Last year I was delighted to hear of the establishment of a new instrumental music program in the Walsenburg school system. I am convinced that every child should have the opportunity to participate in a school music program, and this opportunity has been absent in the Walsenburg schools for too long. In these days of emphasis on science and technology, music is often considered a ‘frill’ and eliminated in favor of ‘solid’ or ‘core’ subjects, but few subjects contribute as much to the development of the student as a whole person as does music.
Among other things, a music student must learn to produce a musical sound with good tone and pitch, listen to and emulate fine musical performances, learn mathematical divisions of the beat, learn to work in harmony with other student musicians while following the director, learn to take on leadership roles in the ensemble as he or she develops experience and ability, and learn to take pride in a fine performance. Most instrumental music students will not go on to become professional performers, but even so the experience of participating in a musical ensemble will have a positive effect for most students. In short, I was delighted to see instrumental music return to Walsenburg. I will watch eagerly to see the students develop their musical abilities in the program. It is most important that the program be continued and supported by the school board and the parents.
An open letter to the Huerfano RE-1 School Board
On Thursday, May 15th, I had the distinct pleasure of attending the spring concert of the RE-1 bands, led by Cleveland Clinton. As a lifelong musician, I have a great appreciation for the effort that goes into making music and the additional effort that is required to be a member of a band. Realizing that most of these students had only been reading music since September and had only been assigned instruments in January, I was expecting a reprise of the Professor Harold Hill band scene in “the Music Man.”
Was I in for a delightful surprise! Mr. Clinton directed two tight units, one grades 4-6, the other grades 7-12 whose tone, rhythm and balance were right on. The elementary band played a round-a wonderful chance to show their ability to focus while playing cooperatively. The Junior/Senior high band blew us away with these diverse pieces, each with complex chord progressions, varied dynamics and challenging blending of voices. Bravo, Mr. Clinton!
The third band presentation of the evening was appropriately titled the Phillip Marshall Project. They raised the roof with three styles of jam- blues, rock, and jazz and Doug Olson’s’ drum solo was HOT!
Most impressive was the absolute joy that just radiated from the students. Mr. Clinton is obviously an excellent music teacher. What came through in every word and gesture was the mutual respect and affection that exists between these students and their band director. What a gift it is to give our students a chance to experience the comradery and unity of a team moving together with one breath.
Kudos to Mr. Cleveland Clinton, to each and every one of his fine band members, to their parents, to the community who fought so long and hard to get music back into RE-1 and to our administration for keeping it there. Well done! Mary Jo Tesitor
Editor: Kudos to Brian for the superbly written article on the battle of Walsenburg. I found it utterly fascinating, I couldn′t wait until the next installment. By chance I found myself in a discussion with a Walsenburgian born the very year of the battle who had also read the article with great interest knowing nothing of the battle. Your editorial staff is doing a great job honoring our community with pertinent information essential to our cohesive growth.
Museum of Friends
Hi Brian – I hear so many nice comments about the Journal, so I figure lots of the Cuchara people are reading it. And no wonder – your reporting & coverage is so positive. I really like it. Even my sister-in-law from Grand Junction, who visited us last week, commented that she really liked your paper! Thanks!
La Veta Public Library