A few days ago, I received an invitation to like a Facebook page. The page was called “Save Eaton Middle School Chorus”. Eaton Middle School is the school I attended in Hampton, Virginia a million years ago. I was a member of the choir and it was invaluable to me.
Slowly, the arts are being taken out of schools due to funding, lack of attendance, or numerous other reasons. For me, chorus was a refuge. Like the adult I would become, I was a weird kid. Today, I am completely fine with my quirks, but then was another story. I was often teased about not being “black enough” or not wearing the latest fashion, or for just being plain weird. This caused me a significant amount of heartache. Chorus was a very welcoming environment, especially in high school, where the mean girls can better articulate their dislike for yours truly. I am not saying this to fish for pity, or for anger towards those young ladies. I am simply setting you up for my point.
Walking into a choir class (or any arts class), all walks of life are there. There may be athletes, wimpy kids, smart kids, average kids, poor kids, rich kids, gay kids, straight kids, just a motley crew of kids. Everyone was given an outlet for self-expression. They were also exposed to more than the radio or television. They were exposed to composers like Beethoven, Chopin, and Andrew Lloyd Weber; or artists like Van Gogh, Rembrandt, and Warhol. So you have self-expression and social acceptance (for the most part) in a culturally enriching environment. And now this is on the verge of extinction.
Without chorus, I would not have made it through school. It was not just about the accosting from the mean girls, chorus kept my interest in school. It was also the only place I felt truly confident and comfortable. I have friends who honed their natural talent for singing, acting, dancing, painting, or playing an instrument in those fine/performing arts classes. Of course math, science, and history, are all important. Sure, what we do without team sports (hello, football fan!). But the arts are just as important in creating well-rounded individuals.
So, yes, let’s save Eaton Middle School chorus, let’s save the arts… period!!