A New Music Perspective

Creeanna Whitcome, Staff Editor

In past decades, music has been incorporated into Seward’s education system in multiple ways. Currently, music is not offered as a class at SHS; however, the students’ and community’s passions combine to provide a creative music outlet.

In my previous article titled SHS Music: A Blast from the Past, it is easy to see the 1946 music program of SHS exhibited a large array of musical talent complete with a choir and band. This talent was exceptionally supported by the community and the support became the backbone of the program. Over the years since then, the music programs have experienced their ups and downs. According to Principal Trevan Walker, when he arrived at SHS in 2007, no band or choir existed. At that time, Kyle Schneider was brought on board to navigate the music programs at the middle, high, and elementary schools, teaching band and choir. The programs began to show success, but teaching on three campuses was extremely challenging for one individual. Some changes needed to occur. Currently, one teacher, Mark Turner, is rebuilding foundations at the middle and elementary schools, and there is no teacher at the high school.  The past couple years, the SHS schedule forced students to choose between core classes and music, making involvement in the music program a scheduling conflict.

The Doepken family recognized this discrepancy in our curriculum  last year when they formed the Music Collective Program. For many, the program has been beneficial to students’ academic and social careers. It is a creative outlet that allows people to come together and share a piece of themselves. Karl Pfeiffenberger, who has been in the program ever since its founding, explains, “many kids fell in love with instruments and music at a young age, but have been unable to express it once entering high school.” Fortunately, according to Karl, “the program has helped [him] engage in something [he] loves and relieve stress unlike any other program at the school.” Although the group only comes together once a week for a lunch period, they manage to put on two concerts a year that incorporate instruments, as well as vocals. It is an advantageous program that has brought back an important factor of our curriculum.

In addition to Mr. Doepken, who comes to the school to share his passion and organize the program, the Seward Music Association offers financial and technical support. We are hopeful that as Mark Turner builds a music foundation within the kids, they will be prepared to join the high school population, and the Music Collective program will continue to grow. We anticipate that an increase in musical interest combining with more options in the master schedule will bring music back into the formal curriculum of SHS.