Graduation requirements are up, while local prep and choir participation is down.
In answering questions from school board members at the board’s Nov. 18 meeting, Sequim High band director Vern Fosket and SHS choir director John Lorentzen agreed that Washington’s Core 24 graduation requirements makes running a music program “really hard,” and that music at SHS has suffered for it.
Band and choir student numbers have dropped, the teachers noted, and Foskett added that both programs regularly have students have to take a quarter or a semester off to take a required class that conflicts with music on their schedule.
For their part, school board directors and interim superintendent Rob Clark told Fosket and Lorentzen to not hesitate to come to them with needs for support or concerns or even just information the board might miss as to how to help their programs succeed.
While band and choir participation is dropping off, Fosket and Lorentzen detailed the Tri-M Honor Society club at Sequim High School — “well, more like a Bi-M here, since we don’t have an orchestra,” Foskett quipped — which is a national group that encourages high school students in music programs to perform community service projects while demanding academic rigor.
Fosket and Lorentzen called the program a success and hope to be able to expand it in the future.
Fosket referred to it as an “interesting” start to the year for the SHS band: A large thunderstorm in the Seattle area on the the first weekend of the school year cut short the band’s Husky Band Day experience, forcing the band to miss its halftime show so students could make it home on schedule.
The choir, meanwhile, has already been through their fall concert season, Lorentzen said, with choir members participating in a Veterans Day ceremony at the U.S. Coast Guard Air Station Sector Field Office Port Angeles.
Their presentation closed with a performance from the SHS vocal ensemble, who performed “This is why we sing” for the school board and those in attendance.