Yesterday I went to the Fine Arts Festival at our high school. The Festival is a annual gathering of very talented students from K-12 in our district. There are performances of the band, orchestra and chorus from each grade level. Artwork, sculptures, and photography line the halls – all produced by the kids in our district. There is even clothing and jewelry on display that was made by high school students. These kids are amazingly talented!

I was at the Festival for five hours. My oldest daughter performed in two concerts and my younger two had artwork on display. I had plenty of time to wander through the Festival and take it all in. I was blown away by the number of students involved. We are so lucky to have all this talent in one district!

I started thinking about my own experiences at school. The arts were not celebrated as much. The band was seen marching at football games, but we did not have an orchestra. I’m sure we had a chorus/choir, but I don’t remember them ever performing for the school in high school. There were some very talented artists in the schools I attended, but I think I only knew about them because I took art classes. The few times their (and my own) artwork was displayed in the hall, it was ripped down and vandalized. How sad!

How many of these students remained unrecognized for their talents? Was it just that point in time? Was it lack of funds in the school district? Could these kids have gone on to expand on those talents and made a career out of them? Were there just as many talented kids in the school district I attended?

I picked up a pamphlet on the 2009 Chorus Impact study. (I was there for five hours!) It was very interesting to see how much the arts effect children and adults. In this study, it claims that chorus students get better grades, are better team players, and have more advanced social skills. Adults that participate in chorus, volunteer more frequently, exhibit greater civic leadership and are substantial financial supporters of the arts in general.

A member of the high school orchestra staff told the parents that no one ever regrets their participation in the music program but, many adults wished they still played today. Make time to celebrate the arts!

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