I recently had the honor of attending the Northern Arizona Junior High/Middle School Regional Honor Festival of Performance. Over 191 talented students from 12 Northern Arizona schools performed in the choir, orchestra or band. They were spectacular. It was a wonderful early Mothers Day gift for me. My family and I sat enthralled as we watched my granddaughter, Melissa Thornton, perform as the first chair flutist in the band. She was in the fourth chair position at last year's regional performance. In the past two years she has received perfect scores on her flute solos in the regional competition. Melissa, a White Cliffs eighth grader, says that playing the flute is fun. "I love making music and even though I have to practice a lot it makes me feel good to learn a new composition and to challenge myself. I want to grow as a flutist." Melissa is excited about performing in the Lee Williams High School band in the upcoming school year.
My thanks to: Mr. Aemalemalo Seui who took a fearful sixth grader into an honors band program and taught her how to play the flute and believe in herself. Ms. Sarah Feeley who showed a seventh grader that she could excel as a flutist, encouraged her to compete in regionals and always gave her encouragement.
Ms. Feeley has continued to support Melissa. Julie Gragg, KUSD music coordinator for her dedication, enthusiasm and support of the band programs in the school system. My youngest granddaughter, Cameron Thornton, will be going into sixth grade at White Cliffs. Cameron is an avid reader, Raiders cheerleader, a member of the drama club and she is learning to play the clarinet. Hopefully White Cliffs will be able to accommodate her varied interests.
Thank you, KUSD superintendent and the governing board for their ongoing support of the school band programs. The KUSD advocates support of the four "A's": Academics, the Arts, Athletics and Activities. I am optimistic that music will continue to be present in our schools and echo through these halls of learning.