RANDOLPH, NJ - “The study of music contributes to young people’s development through heightened skills in listening, reading, self-expression and creativity,” read Superintendent Jennifer Fano, proclaiming the month of March to be Music in Our Schools Month and Youth Art Month.
Music in Our Schools Month began as a state-wide celebration in 1973 and has since grown to a designation by the National Association for Music Education, Fano explained. However, Youth Art Month began even earlier in March 1961.
“I know it is embedded in our culture in Randolph” Fano said. “The arts are recognized and supported, so it seems almost redundant to say we’re going to take March out to celebrate them, but we’re happy to participate in these nationally recognized events.”
Frank Perrone, Director of Visual and Performing Arts, thanked the board for their support of these months and accepted the proclamations from Fano.
“In the fast-paced world that we live in, I think that it’s important to take a step back during the month of March to look at the true benefits of music and art in the child’s education,” Perrone began. “I’m proud to say that no matter where you look in the Randolph school district, music and art are alive and well.”
Fano also read from the Youth Art Month proclamation before presenting to Perrone.
“Art education develops students’ creative problem-solving and critical thinking abilities;... teaches sensitivity to beauty, order, and other expressive qualities;... [and] gives students a deeper understanding of multi-cultural values and beliefs,” read the Youth Art Month proclamation.
Board member Susan Devito pointed out several events in March celebrating these two arts-focused proclamations.
“The Bands of Randolph is in the beginning of March, and that comprises approximately 230 of our students,” Devito mentioned. “At the end of March, there’s District Band Night which comprises roughly 475 of our students, and that’s excluding two bands because apparently the fire marshall said they had too many participants, and they had to cut two bands from the program.”
“I’m really proud of our district for supporting the arts. I know it does amazing things for the students,” she added. “It really helped me with more than just music; it gave me tons of life skills… My younger sister was involved heavily in the art program, and she’s now thriving as a costume designer in New York.”
During public discussion, two residents expressed their approval of the arts and music programs in the Randolph School District.
“The main reason we should have music in our school is so that every child can have music lessons, and the same thing with art, so that they become appreciative,” said resident Judith Stewart.
Antoinette Corbett, a part-time Randolph School District employee uses music and the arts to explain things differently to students.
“I am all for the art programs in our schools,” Corbett said. “I have so many children that I’ve worked with, that if it wasn’t for the art, they wouldn’t have a place to be. It’s amazing how when they learn something in music, it opens them up to math in a fun way.”