Arts & Entertainment

Mountain Park School Celebrates Music in Our Schools (Photo Gallery)

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BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ - Music Day was celebrated at Mountain Park School last week, thanks to the efforts of Music teachers Thomas Kamp and Stephanie Spano.

Walking down the halls of Mountain Park School, you could hear the voices of Broadway, the sound of the kettle drum, dance music, a marching beat, the plucking of strings of homemade instruments, the electronic wave of techno music, and the rattle of maracas. No matter what room you entered, students were learning something new about music.

This bi-annual event has been embraced by the school community and includes 23 workshops that introduce students to music that is not taught in Band, Orchestra, Chorus or General Music classes. "It reminds the students that everyone does music and shows them how many ways music is in their life," said Kamp.

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The district has historically celebrated Read Across America and the elementary schools participate in Field Day -- Kamp thought it would be cool to have everyone involved in music at the same time in recognition of Music in the School month which is nationally recognized in March.

The purpose of Music In Our Schools Month® is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that schools is where all children should have access to music, according to the MIOSM website.  MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and the community, and to display the benefits that school music brings to students of all ages.

"I hope everything we do reminds them to continue to keep music in their life," said Spano. "These are activities they usually wouldn't do -- it gets them thinking about music in other places."

The event involves every classroom "with great support from our teachers, who usually find something they want to do," said Kamp. He also recruits [borrows] music staff from the district as well as parent volunteers. "It's a great recruiting opportunity for them to meet the students that will attend Columbia in the future."

Kamp involved both Elefante Music & School for the Performing Arts and Wharton Institute for the Performing Arts to teach classes. They also generously donate giveaways and raffle items that were presented at the end of the event in the multi-purpose room. Each class had a winner of a $10 iTunes gift card and two grand prizes were drawn for a private music lesson from Wharton and a youth guitar donated by Elefante.

Music Day was generously supported by the Mountain Park PTO through funding and parent volunteers.

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