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The Beat Goes On

 

Last updated 2/2/2021 at 3:20pm

Samantha Briggs, APR, WSD3

Students are shown performing in a Sproul Junior High Orchestra concert before COVID-19 restrictions went into effect.

By Samantha Davis

WSD3 Music Coordinator

For many years, music in Widefield School District 3 (WSD3) has been an important part of every child's education and a source of pride for the Security/Widefield/Fountain community.

This year, more than 6,900 students are participating in music through a comprehensive K-12 curriculum. That curriculum includes general music at the elementary level, as well as choir, orchestra, band, piano, guitar, music production and music theory at the secondary level. We have been exceptionally fortunate to be able to continue to provide all of these courses during the pandemic through diligent planning, use of appropriate PPE and social distancing. During the past semester, music teachers created virtual and outdoor performance opportunities for students. In addition, WSD3 will be holding a virtual Solo and Ensemble Festival for music students in March.

By teaching our music standards and supporting the standards of other content areas, the WSD3 music department helps children express themselves positively and successfully through music. Much has been made in education of teaching "21st century skills" so that students can thrive in a rapidly changing global society. Critical thinking and problem-solving skills are essential. Even state assessments throughout the country are reflecting 21st century skills. It is no longer enough to simply regurgitate correct answers on these assessments. Students must be able to read information, use critical thinking to come up with answers and explain themselves articulately. The study of music helps individuals become adept at 21st century skills and thinking. Music is the only core subject that is all encompassing, providing direct instruction in math, reading, memory skills, spatial relationships and even muscle memory and physical education.

In 2019-20, the music department added a new and exciting program of musical discovery for secondary students: Music Production. This pathway is available at both Widefield High School and Mesa Ridge High School and is the only one of its kind in Colorado. Students who elect to participate take courses in acoustics, computer music applications and music audio production in order to prepare for a music business internship and industry certification. This Career and Technical Education (CTE) pathway provides students the skills after high school to either continue to a college Music Production program or enter the workforce. Freshmen and sophomores who are currently in a music ensemble may concurrently enroll in this exciting new opportunity!

We are incredibly proud of the quality of our bands, choirs and orchestras in WSD3. Our ensembles consistently receive superior and excellent ratings at music contests throughout Colorado and the rest of the nation. Marching bands at both high schools have reached Colorado State Bandmasters Association quarter, semi and finals competitions for a number of years. In addition, the choir programs at both high schools have performed in New York, NY at venues such as Carnegie Hall and the Cathedral of St. John the Divine.

Music students in WSD3 have a wide variety of performance opportunities. Here are some that are available for music students in addition to school programs and concerts during normal circumstances:

Sixth Grade Choir Festival

WSD3 Elementary Honor Choir

Southern Colorado In-Harmony Festival

WSD3 Junior High Honor Choir

WSD3 Junior High Honor Band

WSD3 Junior High Honor Orchestra

Pikes Peak Honor Orchestra

Pikes Peak Honor Band and Honor Jazz Band

Western State Honor Band

All-City Honor Band

Adams State Honor Choir

Southern Colorado Honor Band, Choir and Orchestra

Middle School All State Choir

High School All State Choir, Band & Orchestra

CHSAA Solo & Ensemble Festival

CHSAA Large Group Festival

Numerous Jazz Competitions, including UNC Jazz Festival

Colorado Bandmaster Association Marching Band State Finals

Winter Percussion sanctioned by the Rocky Mountain Percussion Association

Winter Guard sanctioned by the Rocky Mountain Color Guard Association

Samantha Briggs, APR, WSD3

The Pride of Mesa Ridge Marching Band participates in a past community parade that normally takes place each fall.

Colorado Springs Children's Chorale

Colorado Springs Youth Symphony

All of the awards, high ratings, and successful performances throughout WSD3 are a product of a highly qualified, passionate music staff that is dedicated to excellence. These talented music educators encourage achievement and instill a love of music in their students. In the age of budgetary woes and "fiscal cliffs," it is easy for music to be the low man on the totem pole when it comes to financial support. The music staff is fully supported by building level administration, district administration and the Board of Education who understand the role of arts education in a comprehensive school curriculum. It is no wonder that Widefield, often known as "a best-kept secret," is out in front as a leader in music education.

 

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