The following article was submitted by WCS Fine Arts Specialist Melissa Dufrechou.
On January 12, nearly 200 WCS vocal students participated in the first ever All-District Honor Choir. Students from middle and high schools across the district spent a day and a half working with invited clinicians to prepare a concert of difficult music that was presented at a free community concert. Students, selected by their teachers, represented the top performing choral students in their school programs. The concert was attending by over 500 family members, teachers, administrators, elected officials and community members.
This concert follows a similar event held in October for orchestra students. Additionally, middle and high school band students will gather at the end of January to rehearse with guest clinicians and present a free public performance on January 29. This will be followed by the annual Williamson County Schools art show at the Frist Center for Visual Arts, which will feature a two week display of the top artists from each school in kindergarten through high school, with a grand opening celebration on February 27.
So why does Williamson County Schools strive to provide so many district-wide honors opportunities for our students? What is the benefit? The benefits to the students are pretty easy to see: honors that they can add to their college bound resumes, opportunities to stretch and expand their skills, and the ability to perform or display art alongside the best and brightest across the district. By opening doors to the highest achieving arts students to collaborate with others within the district, it stretches them to work harder and achieve greater results.
The benefits to the students alone should be reason enough to continue programs like honor choir and honor band, but the benefits do not stop with the students. Schools and the communities also benefit from these types of events. Inviting nationally recognized clinicians into successful district honors events elevates the reputation of the arts program. Building the reputation of having nationally competitive arts programs improves the reputation of the school system as a whole which in turn enhances the economic viability of a community.
But maybe most importantly, the arts can make a school and a community more cohesive. Arts are rooted in long traditions of history and culture. One cannot study history or geography without also recognizing the artistic and musical themes that also define that culture. Events like honor choir and honor band are unique from athletics and academics by bringing together the top performers to collaboratively prepare and experience the power of music. Rather than the recognition of individual students or schools, it is the celebration of a community working together to create something beautiful.
Williamson County Honor Band
January 29, 2016 at 7 p.m.
Brentwood Baptist Church
7777 Concord Road in Brentwood
WCS Art Show at the Frist Center for Visual Arts
February 27-March 13, 2016
Opening Day Celebrations on February 27
10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Frist Center for the Visual Arts
919 Broadway in Nashville
The Third Annual Williamson County Schools Fine Arts Festival
April 9, 2016
10 a.m. until 6 p.m.
The Factory at Franklin
230 Franklin Road in Franklin