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School district honored for music program

April 02, 2014 - As an International Baccalaureate World School District, the Oxford Community Schools' curriculum is structured to make music an integral part of every student's life.

It seems that structure has paid off since the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) named Oxford schools one of America's 2014 "Best Communities for Music Education."

"Music is alive and thriving in Oxford Community Schools," said Assistant Superintendent for Curriculum Dr. James Schwarz. "We have prioritized not only the maintenance, but also the growth of our music programs in the past several years."

The Best Communities for Music Education program is one of the NAMM Foundation's foremost efforts to bolster support for school-based music education programs. Now in its 15th year, the program evaluates schools and districts on funding, staffing of highly-qualified teachers, commitment to standards and access to music instruction.

Oxford was one of 396 districts in the country and one of 14 from the state to be named on the best list, which included Ann Arbor, Berkley, Bloomfield Hills, Dearborn, Ferndale, Fraser, Holland, Les Cheneaux, Meridian, New Haven, Norway-Vulcan, Rochester, Troy and Utica.

"This award is a testament to the quality and dedication of our K-12 performing arts teachers," said Superintendent Dr. William Skilling. "It is also a validation for the financial support given to the musical arts by Oxford Community Schools' Board of Education."

Oxford school's music opportunities include: Pre-K – 3 Suzuki Strings Program, 4-12 string program, 4-12 band program, 4-12 choral program, Middle/High School theatre program and the Oxford Arts Conservatory.

As a way of providing a higher level of musical opportunity for students, Oxford Schools has partnered with Shar Music, Marshall Music, Oakland University, Oakland Youth Orchestras, and the Michigan Ballet Theatre. These partnerships open doorways for music education through free-instrument rentals for those in need to challenging ensemble opportunities to clinics with internationally-renowned musicians.

The Oxford Schools Band, Choir, and Orchestra Directors also have shared their strong commitment to music education:

"It is very exciting to have an outside group acknowledge the effort that Oxford Schools puts into making our PreK-12 music program one of the top, most comprehensive programs in our state and country. Our students benefit tremendously and develop as musicians from the wide range of course offerings and musical opportunities that are provided in our schools. Oxford is host to artistic excellence in music," Schwarz added. "Packed crowds in the Oxford Performing Arts Center for band, choir and orchestra concerts and school musicals are testimony to the high performance standard among students and the support of the Oxford community."

Organizations such as Rotary, the Oxford Chamber of Commerce and the Oxford Downtown Development Authority often turn to OCS music programs for event and presentation needs. Oxford Schools regularly partners in community events such as the Oxford Holiday Celebration, Celebrate Lone Ranger, and Backyards & Burgers.

An Oxford parade is not an Oxford parade without the OHS Marching Band.

"Strong, engaging programs that offer students access to music cannot thrive in a vacuum," said Mary Luehrsen, NAMM Foundation executive director in a press release. "The Best Communities designation and the SupportMusic Award bring hard-won visibility to music classes, programs and departments that are keeping music education alive in our schools."

Trevor graduated with degrees in English and communications from Rochester College. He wrote for his college and LA View newspapers before joining The Clarkston News in May 2007.
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