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Appalling discovery

SoVaNow.com / May 08, 2013
Dear Viewpoint:

When I first heard from the Park View Band Director Chris McDilda that the music programs are essentially on the way out at Mecklenburg County schools, I was appalled. I spent six years under the tutelage of Bluestone’s Band Director Ricky Allgood (1983-1989). Ricky was instrumental in my success not only in music, but life in general. Ricky taught me that hard work and dedication truly do yield success. When I think back to my most influential teachers and role models of my youth, Ricky always comes to mind (second only to my father).

Ricky rolled the proverbial dice and allowed me to join the band program in the 7th grade even without my 5th grade English teacher’s blessing. In fact, that same 5th grade English “teacher” told me that I wasn’t talented enough to play music. Ricky’s willingness to listen to me and my father’s plea to give me a chance was instrumental in turning my life around. Before music, I lacked confidence and never truly understood the meaning of being involved with a team. Without music, I wouldn’t be where I am today. Music was paramount to my success in life. Ricky always taught us to strive to be the best we could be.

By cutting funding to the music programs and forcing a new block schedule in Mecklenburg County public schools, our so-called leaders are essentially telling thousands of young people that music doesn’t matter. Is this really the message they want to send to our young people — that if students don’t excel in English, math or sports that there is nowhere for you to turn at Bluestone and Park View high schools? I urge Mecklenburg County public schools to reconsider this proposal and look at what the long-term effects are going to be. If the music programs cannot be saved, there are thousands of young people that won’t be given the same chance that thousands before were. Do the right thing and save the music programs at Bluestone and Park View!

Warren G. Smith
Clayton, N.C.

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