Franklin Regional named among top 5 percent of U.S. schools for music education |

Franklin Regional named among top 5 percent of U.S. schools for music education

Patrick Varine
Tribune-Review file
Junior Joseph Lasher (middle) performs on trombone with other members of the Franklin Regional High School marching band as they practice their half-time show Thursday, Aug. 23, 2018 at Franklin Regional High School.

Franklin Regional is among 623 districts nationwide to be recognized as top communities for music education by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation.

That puts the district among the top 5% in the country for music education, according to the association.

Middle-school music students on their way to Franklin Regional Senior High School, however, don’t need the association’s press release to know they’re headed for a lauded music program.

“There’s definitely a reputation for excellence,” said senior Megan Swift, 17, who plays saxophone and was one of this year’s drum majors. “Even before we get up here we know how good the program is. And we have excellence at every level here.”

The designation for “Best Communities for Music Education” is awarded to districts that not only have high participation in music classes and support for music programs, but that also meet standards related to funding and graduation requirements.

“The staff here is super-motivated and super-supportive,” said senior Bhav Jain, 17, a trumpet player and also one of the 2018-19 drum majors. “And we have a great network of parents that helps as well.”

Members of the band in recent years have marched in the inaugural parade for President Trump in Washington, D.C., at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade in New York City and at the Rose Bowl Parade in Pasadena.

“They encourage students to feel comfortable creating music, experimenting, and even making mistakes,” said elementary band director Dan Blumenfeld. “Working with today’s students, the FR music staff makes every effort to convey content in engaging methods, including small group collaborations, the incorporation of technology, and even with occasional doses of humor.”

High school band director Kevin Pollock said he couldn’t point to one specific thing that makes FR’s music program stand out.

“When these students graduate, it’s a minority who will make a career in music,” Pollock said. “The rest, we hope, will go on to be good consumers of music. And whatever ensemble they were in during their time here, we hope it helps enhance their appreciation of the arts.”

For senior Quincy Bayer, 18, it’s the community he has been a part of during his time at FR.

“It’s such a diverse group,” Bayer said. “The music is great, but it’s the community and the bonds that draw me in.”

Of Pennsylvania’s 500 school districts, 92 districts across the state received the designation, according to the state Department of Education.

Blumenfeld said a nurturing environment helps create success.

“When eager teachers are fortunate enough to work with supportive administrators along with a community who believes in the importance of the arts, music education is sure to be a success,” he said.

Patrick Varine is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Patrick at 724-850-2862, [email protected] or via Twitter .

Categories: Local | Murrysville
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