The folks looking after the music program at the Secondary School really must get it. They have realized that a “music room” sounds too much like something at a nursery school. What we’re looking at here is a performing arts studio. And thus a name is born.
But that isn’t all. They not only have a vision but also a philosophy. Imagine that! When I was in school I never so much as heard about a philosophy. But the music people do indeed have one – as well as a very thoughtful approach. Here are some excerpts: It is our mission to provide the finest quality of musical instruction for our 6-12 grade music programs. Music education will give the students the unique ability that music has to excite the mind, reveal the past, explore the future, and give its participants and audience a wide range of the human experience.
Goals and values:
• to ensure students have a broad and basic knowledge of musical literature and styles, principles of music theory, and ear training;
• to help students understand the history of music’s cultural impact on civilization;
• to enable students to be well prepared to pursue additional studies or careers in the field of music;
• to embrace cultural diversity and provide opportunities for students to better understand our rich heritage;
• the musical experience is a great connection to the world as a universal language and a powerful form of communication;
• the ultimate goal is for our students to find a place for music in their lives and give the students the skills to continue their pursuit of musical and intellectual growth.
Music classes we offer at Ridgway Secondary School: Middle School General Music, open to all 6th, 7th and 8th grade students; 6th Grade Beginning Band; 7th and 8th Grade Middle School Band; Middle School Guitar Classes; High School Chorus, grades 9-12; High School Band, grades 9-12; High School Guitar Classes.
Performing opportunities: School Concerts; Honors Choir; Select Honors Band; Master Classes; Guest Performers; Young People’s Band Concert; Roving Musicians; Choir Performance at NYC Carnegie Hall 2008; Colorado Ambassadors of Music Europe Tour 2008 for High School Band Students; San Juan High School Band Festival (local area band concert); Solo and Ensemble Festival; Art Show and Musical Showcase; Start-up of a Jazz Band and Pep Band; performances with the Ouray County Chorus.
And on another note, the climbing facility at the Secondary School is due for a little more description. It is really just a part of the weight room. All those walls and the high ceiling associated with the gym are a natural for this popular indoor activity. All that is really needed is a series of walls with various pitched angles. It is good fun and enjoys quite a following at the Secondary School. And the beauty of the climbing facility is that the Voyager Youth Program is raising the monies independently for the holds, belaying equipment and other hardware. So the school provides the wall as part of the overall structure and Voyager puts up the climbing wall with no funding required from the initiative.
I’ll confess a bias here towards climbing. When I was in high school we used to boulder on the side of an old Safeway store that had rocks set into the walls. Belaying and safety equipment weren’t an option. The police responded to more than one call about people literally hanging out at the Safeway. But the store manager was cool and had given us permission so long as we were careful. Now fast forward to Ridgway kids being able to have climbing as a P.E. class, as a competitive sport or a community informal activity. We could hold workshops in conjunction with the Ouray Ice Festival and generally have some good, physical fun. We have so many big climbing guns here in our own community that taking a community class with one of them would be like jamming with the Chicago Symphony.
Lest anybody dismiss climbing as some fanciful thing, it is indeed physical, takes lots of stamina and requires discipline. This summer when my wife had me up on a ladder painting the high recesses of some cathedral ceilings in the living room I was once again glad for those times I spent “on the sharp end” of a rope. As I write this I look around my office at pictures from some great climbs in Peru, Alaska, Bolivia, Ecuador, and Kazakhstan to name a few. I’m glad I was hitching rides to the local crag from a very young age.
Is a climbing wall a good thing? Absolutely! Is it an even better thing when we can work it in as part of a weight training facility and at no additional charge? You betcha! Some folks here in our community would tell you that climbing is a philosophy, too.
So whether music is your thing, or climbing, or team, sports we need your help for this initiative. It benefits the entire community. Please help us build this place to play.
Dale Hagemeyer is a member of the Communications Committee for the Ridgway Secondary School Gym/Performing Arts Studio Funding Committee. He lives in the Pleasant Valley area of Ridgway.