By Abby Krull
When cuts are made to programs in schools, the music program is often one of the first programs to reach the chopping block.
But not at Thurston.
In fact, on September 9th, 2016, Thurston High School Students walked into the school’s new choir class for the first time in 5 years. Walking into the class, students knew nothing about their new teacher, not even his name, but he introduced himself as Mr. Schoenherr.
Mr. Schoenherr is not only teaching choir at Thurston, but also at Pierce Middle School. New to this semester, Schoenherr will be teaching two choir classes at Thurston with a second hour added.
For the first semester, the choir has learned to match pitch and read music. Since then, they’ve had three concerts, including a performance, accompanied by Redford Union’s choir, at St. Roberts Bellarmine for the Martin Luther King Breakfast Ceremony to celebrate equality for all.
“We’ve had a strong start to the year, and we are still improving as we go. A lot of my students did not have much experience with music or singing, but we have accomplished a lot this first semester. I’m very proud that I have had opportunity to teach and mend such great students,” said Mr. Schoenherr.
Although there were some students with little experience, student Trevor Pevovar took charge of leading the choir in many ways. When Mr. Schoenherr had out of school emergencies, Trevor made sure the choir was continuing to practice and perfect their performance.
“It’s one thing to be apart of the choir, and it’s completely different to actually lead the choir and have to be responsible for keeping the choir together and working proficiently,” said Trevor about leading warm ups and practicing song.
Thurston’s first hour choir is currently preparing for their upcoming performances. The choir has the amazing opportunity to perform at MSVMA District 12 Choral Festival in March and MSVMA State Choral Festival in April.
When Chorus America gathered research in 2009, it revealed that music programs highly benefit student growth.
“The data in this report confirms that, in addition to providing great musical performances, choruses advance many of the positive qualities associated with success in life for children and adults,” said Ann Meier Baker, President and CEO of Chorus America. “These benefits are particularly relevant in addressing the challenges in society today.”
In a recent article called The Benefits of Music Education, Laura Lewis Brown highlighed the plethora of benefits of choir.
“Children who were given music lessons over the school year tested on average three IQ points higher than the other groups” she explained about a study group of six year olds who had choir class.
Dr. Eric Rasmussen also explained, “There’s some good neuroscience research that children involved in music have larger growth of neural activity than people not in music training. When you’re a musician and you’re playing an instrument, you have to be using more of your brain.”
Thurston can’t wait to see how the rest of the the year goes for the school’s new choir program, but one thing we know for sure, the addition of choir will be so beneficial to South Redford Students.