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Lack of Love: NMHS Music Department

Band students are crammed into an average sized room with large and heavy instruments an hour prior to the school opening daily.

Lillian Hui

Band students are crammed into an average sized room with large and heavy instruments an hour prior to the school opening daily.

Lillian Hui, Editor-in-Chief

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New Milford High School, a place where all students have opportunities to try new things, is known to nurture new interests for its students. However, in many students’ eyes, the school pays more attention to certain areas while others lack interest.

This has come to the attention of many of the NMHS students and they hope to voice their opinions in order to show they are just as important as any other department.

While NMHS principal, Mr. Louis Manuppelli, promotes upcoming sporting events during school assemblies, such as during Spirit Week and seasonal sports pep rallies, it appears as though he rarely advertises the winter and spring concerts. It may appear as though Mr. Manuppelli does not promote the school concerts, but actually, he does and more than you would think.

“I do my best to promote the music department by attending events and utilizing social media like Facebook, Twitter, the school website, and School Messenger to get the word out about events or to celebrate achievements. I’m not sure about numbers, but I believe we get good turnouts at [both] sports and music events.”

In regards to whether we are able to change how students feel about the music department gaining attention, Mr. Manuppelli feels that, “the music students at NMHS get recognition.” He adds,  “I would have to speak to them to find out where they feel the disconnect is or where the lack of importance comes from. New Milford’s community is very supportive and highlights the achievements of the arts.”

Junior chorus member, Marco Aranas (’18), says he believes our school “contributes more towards other departments in student life. But I also feel that the students from the music department, such as the choral ensemble or orchestra, get the most attention during school assemblies.”

String orchestra member, Carina Kharmandarian (’18), feels the school “shows obvious pride in sports and cares to hype up those events but barely gives any sort to the music events. The in-school music events rarely receive any attention from students outside of the programs and maybe their immediate friends.” She believes there is a way to change this though. “The school could improve this by advertising and taking just as much pride in the school’s music program as they do in any sort of sports related event.”

Trumpet player, Justin Torrente (’19), comments on how the size of the rooms used for rehearsal, the chorus room and band room, are just not enough. “The music department gets only two rooms and the orchestra goes on the stage. The chorus room is too small, especially with all of the pianos used for piano lab. The orchestra doesn’t even have a proper room.”

He insists that the only way to fix the imbalance between departments is to encourage students to join the band, orchestra, or chorus. “Tell people how hard each of us works. Tell them it isn’t easy, but neither is playing a sport.” Torrente finds the most saddening part of no one understanding how hard the music department works is that he hears people say it’s a waste of time. “People say it’s time consuming and a waste of time in your life.”

Senior choral ensemble member, Justin Malveda (’17), agrees with all of the other students, noting that the school does indeed focus on other parts of the school, especially sports. “I think they do so because the school feels that being proficient in sports reflects better than being proficient in music to other schools and people.”

Malveda estimates that those who attend the school concerts are 90% involved in music while the other 10% are associated with someone who is in the concert. He adds, “A way the school can fix this imbalance would most likely start with bringing attention to the department. Work on improving OUR facilities just as much as the athletics. The lockers and keyboards are definitely a start but it shouldn’t stop.”

Fellow Lance writer and choral ensemble member, Henry Sternberg (’17), adds to the conversation and reveals his thoughts on the concert turnout. “I feel like for the most part, music department kids only receive attention from either other students involved or their parents, which I feel is a problem.”

Unlike the other students who seem to feel it was on the school’s part to advertise the concerts, Sternberg thinks it falls on the students’ shoulders.  “To change it, I feel like the students need to express to their friends how much the concerts mean to them. I feel like sometimes I don’t express that to my friends as much as I should.”

Students who are not involved in the music program also voiced their opinions on the matter, and even commented on how they never hear of any music related events aside from the spring musical.

Former chorus member, Felicia Pasculli, says New Milford “Focuses on sports programs or the ‘educational’ programs more than the music programs and this is simply for the reason that they don’t think it’s as much of a priority.”

She adds, “The music department usually never gets much attention from people who are not part of the group. And I honestly think students don’t go to concerts, even if their friends are involved. From my experience, only the family goes and sometimes they don’t even want to be there.”

Joanna Zaccardi (’17) notices how much more attention the school gives to other departments because she never hears about the band, orchestra, or chorus unless it’s musical season, which she does attend. “Students go to support their friends rather than the program and the work they have put in. Being someone who played the violin, it’s sad to see that not many people attend the music department events because they have no idea how much work it is to play an instrument and learn music.”

Senior Isabelle Gallego (’17) says she feels the school’s main focus is on the athletic department and therefore only the students who are involved in music are the ones who pay attention to concerts or other music related events. “Students who attend most likely go just because they want to support their friends and have the free time to do so, unlike the majority who are not interested at all.”

On the other hand, students like Shane George (’18), feel that the music department is like every other department and receives just as much attention, possibly even more.

“I really don’t believe our school focuses on other departments over music, as both the orchestra and band, as well as chorus and ensemble, consist of a lot of people. I think the music department receives a lot of attention from students who are not in the program, mostly because these students have friends who are involved.”

He adds, “I do attend activities the music students partake in aside from sporting events, such as the winter and spring concerts. I feel like students go to concerts if their friends are involved because they know their peers have been working very hard to practice for the concerts. They usually sound great as well.”

Considering the number of students who feel NMHS is biased towards certain programs, this should act as a wake-up call for everyone. If we have enough funds to frequently renovate the media center, we should have some funds to promote our students and their hard work. Because how many people do you know have enough dedication to wake up early and arrive at school at 7 a.m. to practice their music?

The band room acts as a storage room in addition to a classroom for the music department.

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Lack of Love: NMHS Music Department