Fraser Public Schools band nationally recognized again

By: Nick Mordowanec | Fraser - Clinton Township Chronicle | Published May 13, 2021


FRASER — It’s been a glorious decade for music at Fraser Public Schools.

In April the district, for the 10th consecutive year, was recognized as one of the best communities for music education by the nonprofit National Association of Music Merchants, or NAMM, Foundation.  A total of 686 national school districts received such recognition.

The COVID-19 pandemic played a major role in the lives of everybody, including teenage musicians who are normally accustomed to playing music together. NAMM said that although virtual schooling or mask requirements became a norm for a while, “K-12 music teachers have found creative solutions to make music come alive.”

“In past years, schools and districts had to work hard to create successful music and arts communities,” said Mary Luehrsen, executive director of NAMM. “But never before has the battle been so hard-fought against silence and a feeling of isolation. We applaud with all our hearts the commitment of so many to assure students continue with deep and rich music learning.”

Jim Rodgers has been the FPS band instructor for 21 years. There are 270 band members this school year.

He called the national recognition “a tremendous point of pride for the district’s music program.”

“From the elementary music classes, through the middle school and high school programs, the teachers strive to provide the students with a comprehensive music education and to instill in the community the joy of music,” he added.

In terms of working through the pandemic, he said, instructors and students have continued to progress through creative and innovative ways.

He talked about how students in virtual settings used various online tools, applications and strategies that allowed them “to be able to take ownership … and demonstrate mastery of music skills and concepts in a different platform.”

Performances and competitions have taken place in the form of virtual music festivals, conferences and honors groups.

“As students have been able to be in the more traditional face-to-face setting, the joy of music is alive, and the instructors continue to strive to allow the students to progress in their music studies and look for opportunities to present performances in a safe environment,” Rodgers said.