Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Community Band

The City Paper did a front page piece on the Isaac Litton Middle School band situation yesterday. The reporter, Alexa Hinton, doesn't ordinarily cover the education beat. The City Paper About Us page tells us "She covers books, City Confidentials, fashion, accessories and Swan Ball" which may explain why a few details were left out. The renewal of this band program has been a community effort which has also included the Inglewood Neighborhood Association, the Country Music Association and the Nashville Alliance for Public Education (the tool used by many to funnel funds to Metro schools).

The Inglewood Neighborhood Association has long known that the success of Litton is important to the success of our neighborhood. Last year we became a Pencil Partner and while we can't bring the big dollars that Sam's Club can, or the excitement of the Music City Motorplex what we do is bring the needs of Litton to the community and encourage the community to step up and help meet those needs for the betterment of the children and our community.

An integral part of that mission is to have Litton on our regular monthly agenda. It was because the needs of Litton are a regular part of our meetings that when talk of the INA creating a race through the neighborhood began 18 months ago or so the committee naturally looked toward Litton as a recipient for proceeds of the race.

The merchants of Riverside Village stepped up and were primary sponsors of this successful event. These business owners took a chance on reclaiming that corner of our neighborhood and another on an inaugural race and Litton, along with Inglewood, benefit.

The County Music Association is pouring money into the Metro school system and their recent donation of 60 instruments to Litton is no small contribution to the effort and should not be overlooked.

The Nashville Alliance for Public Education and it's leader, Pam Garrett, has been an essential partner in funneling funds from those with money to Litton, and many other schools across the county.

Rick Bradley's letter in today's City Paper states in part:

I am shocked and appalled to hear this. The mayor, [Metro] Council, and the school board should be ashamed. With the money that we put into our school system why can’t we have quality instruments for the children at Litton Middle School that want to learn and play music? How many other school band programs also have old and inferior instruments?

We have given tax breaks to local businesses and sports programs, why can’t we find money to have quality instruments for our school children that want to learn and play music in a school band.
I can't explain where all the money the Council sends to MNPS goes. Frankly, I'd welcome a third party audit. But the community isn't waiting for Metro to fix this problem. The community, ranging from neighbors to huge corporations, are getting involved and getting the job done.


Wendy said...

I am grateful for all the generosity of the Inglewood community, businesses in Inglewood, the CMA, the INA, the Race committee, the participants in the foot race, Sam's Club, The Music City Motorplex, Litton Alumni Association, Metro Council Members, NAPE, MNPS Administrators, Gracie Porter and many parents throughout Davidson County and some other counties in support of Isaac Litton Middle School. On behalf of the Litton Staff, students and parents, THANK YOU!

Together we are building a stronger community and school, one band instrument at a time, one student at a time. You make it happen.

Wendy Poston

Nashteach said...

This is awesome; you all should be highly commended. And while I understand the letter writer's frustration, there's nothng wrong with looking to the "private" sector for help.

Just to add a comment about the earlier entry "Generous Harmony," commenter William expresses concern that no guitars were part of the donated instruments. I am told by several music teachers that some schools did get "guitar labs." He's right that it is an undervalued instrument in the music program though. Maybe if we could work some strumming into the half-time show at the football game...

din819go said...

Just remember it is not just Litton other schools are in need of good instruments. The PTOs are spending too much money on instrument repair and purchase of same. This should be funded by the district and it should be a priority. Private funds would supplement district funds for the more unique and expensive instruments. Just my two cents worth.

Kay Brooks said...

No doubt other schools are in similar straits. However, I've been working with Litton and that's what I know.

It's my hope that other neighborhood groups would replicate the relationship our neighborhood group has with Litton, in their own school(s). People want to help. They like knowing exactly what their money is going for and are encouraged by seeing it actually make a difference. That's the sort of return that tax money doesn't provide.