Jazz band program is in jeopardy at HMB High


By on Sat, February 19, 2011

Many of you in our community may not be aware that the Jazz Band class, along with other classes during “Zero Period” (~7-8 am before school starts) are being considered for elimination because of the state financial crisis and proposed educational cut backs.

I have always felt, and there have been numerous studies to prove, how music in the schools increases a student’s learning abilities. Because of this, I have volunteered my time and contributed when I could to keep the music programs active at both Cunha and the High School.

The Jazz Band serves as the pinnacle of music achievement for students who strive for excellence and their reward for all the extra practice time they put in is being able to show off their talent with a solo improv with the other musicians. Think of it as the Varsity Team in Music.

Many of these students have progressed from picking up an instrument for the first time in 6th grade and have honed their ability and technique as the moved through the nuanced differences of concert band, wind ensemble, marching band and jazz band. And it is these same disciplined and hardworking students who are consistently at the top in academic achievements and college placement which reflects well on Half Moon Bay High and the community as a whole.

In the Winter 2009, Principal Streshly said, “For those of you who have children at Cunha and Hatch, we will be taking our Wind Ensemble and Jazz Band to those schools to perform for the students. It is always good to show the younger students what they have to look forward to if they continue in music”. So what will this action teach the next wave of students?

Since I just heard about this on Thursday and all the details are sketchy, I don’t have any solution yet. I do want parents of younger children, especially those in the elementary schools to think about how this may affect their child’s eduction. For lack of anything else, please let the schools and district know how you feel about the ideas that are being put forward, and how you think it will affect the community beyond just the high school.

Bill Kehoe