The Mount Airy Board of Education viewed a PowerPoint presentation highlighting the return of its high school band program as part of an arts year in review discussion by Band Director Jonathan Jones.
Jones told the board at the onset of restarting the high school program he made a deliberate choice to focus on building talent in the middle school and lower grades and had initially hoped at least two high school students would be interested in participating in the program.
He said nine high school students attended the first meeting, causing him to go back and craft a more ambitious plan of music for them to perform. According to Superintendent Dr. Gregory Little, the city schools band program was re-instated this past school year.
“The kids all worked hard but I attribute a lot of our success to our high school group,” said Jones. “Without a doubt they became the backbone of the program. They showed me in the first rehearsal they were strong in many ways and willing to work.”
More than 20 participants in the effort performed at events ranging from football games, the Mount Airy Christmas parade and in other downtown events. Jones said he planned on continuing an emphasis on learning the instruments with some performances for band students in lower grades.
“Especially for the high school kids but in everything we do (throughout the program) it has to be at a high level. It better sound good,” Jones said. “Next year, two big things I hope to do include a marching band and to keep building the foundation. There has to be leadership within the students as we get bigger.”
He was accompanied by band boosters’ treasurer Kelley Carlisle and booster president Sherry Kearns. Jones said he is planning to form a jazz combo which could evolve into a jazz band.
A low base bid of $471,200 to repair Tharrington Elementary’s roof was accepted by the board. The winning bid was submitted by AAR of High Point. Taylor told the board the firm estimates it will take at least 90 days to complete the project which could begin as early as the end of this month.
Executive Director of Curriculum and Instruction Dr. Kim Morrison told the board the district has an “overwhelming amount of gifted students” and said MACS are committed to meeting the needs of all students including academically and intellectually (AIG) children.
Her presentations on the revisions for the AIG program, which is guided from input by a parent and district advisory council, includes multiple criteria to identify AIG students with work on updating polices to safeguard gifted students rights and to better meed the social and emotional needs of gifted students at the high school level and specialized training for core teachers in the program through Duke University.
David Broyles may be reached at 336-415-4739 or on twitter@MtAiryNewsDave.