Residents of district are committed to excellence
As a teacher in the West Linn-Wilsonville School District, I want to start the New Year by expressing my gratitude to our community and West Linn-Wilsonville music teachers for their support of the performing arts here at Meridian Creek Middle School. To teach band, choir, orchestra and drama in a school where we experience consistent support from our administration, parents and community is a rare gift, indeed. And the reality is, when you have a converging of commitment to our students from all stakeholders, amazing things happen.
As you can well imagine, the logistics in getting a music program up and running is no small feat. There are instruments to purchase, music to order, sound equipment — the list can seem endless. And in this process, our collective goal has been to provide each student the necessary tools to experience a rewarding music learning environment while being good stewards of the public funds entrusted to us. It involves more than simply shopping for a "good deal." It requires collaborating with colleagues, professional musicians and performers in our field, to create a prioritized plan of action.
Our school district music teachers in true West Linn-Wilsonville fashion, shared their time and expertise. Specifically, Chad Davies, Kevin Egan, Laura Arthur and Allison Lee, spent hours helping me "build" the band and orchestra room, creating a list of instrument essentials. We then met with members of the Oregon Symphony, and other professional musicians to refine our needs. On the sheet music side, all the middle school music teachers, band, orchestra and choir have opened their libraries, sharing their resources without hesitation.
One of the lingering needs we had was for large orchestra instrument racks. These units are spendy and the commercial units are often not the most durable. Two West Linn High School students, Eli and Kira Kilstrom, reached out and volunteered to build us three units. I had the pleasure of seeing their work at West Linn and knew they were up to the challenge. I asked them to please allow us to pay for any materials necessary and expected they would have an invoice upon delivery. They designed the units, bought all materials and constructed them in their spare time outside of school commitments. Imagine my delight and surprise when we met last Thursday, Dec. 28, to install the units, only to be told by Eli and Kira that this was their gift to Meridian Creek. They and their family felt this was one small way they can express their support of music in education.
It warms my heart to know that our community is not defined by boundary lines, rather by a desire to support our children in the education process. I know this to be true in my 12-plus years in this school district. Our parents, our teachers, our administrators are passionately committed to excellence in every subject in every school. I am humbled and honored to be a part of the West Linn-Wilsonville team.
Barbara Fontana is band and choir director at Meridian Creek Middle School.