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Music Program will Benefit from Maroon & Gray Society Banquet ProceedsThe path to these accomplishments has always been a forged by a team effort, according to Paul Leskowicz, currently in his third year as Coordinator of Music for the district, his seventh as Director of Bands, and his 23rd as a teacher. Paul credits hardworking students, dedicated staff in the music department, and a strong community of parents and supporters.

“It’s really a synergistic function: the commitment level of our music faculty and the care that they have and that our community has for the students,” says Leskowicz. “We’re a family. The department is a family, and we really work well together and try to look out for each other.”

Of course, at the center of it all are the students, whose hard work shines in every performance.

“To perform music, not only do they have to personally give one hundred percent, they also have to do it in front of hundreds of people,” Leskowicz says. “That’s a tall order for anyone, let alone a high school student. I applaud their passion and their desire to go after that.”

“We’ve taken these students on trips domestically and around the world, and they always wow the audience—every time,” says Leskowicz. “Seeing the students at their finest is one of the most rewarding parts.”

Maintaining this exceptional program has taken a commitment to excellence and incredible support from families, friends and supporters. Leskowicz points out that the basic equipment needs are vast for the program, which serves hundreds of students at a time at various levels of instruction and performance.

Fortunately, the community steps up. Ask a music faculty member and they’ll always have an opportunity (or ten!) for the community to get involved.

Right now, marching band uniforms are a focus. They’ve aged and are deteriorating—half are 14 years old and half are 24 years old! And they don’t get better with age! New uniforms are a critical item for providing proper functionality, comfort and appearance for current and upcoming classes of students.

Instruments show their age as well. The main stage piano in the auditorium is overdue to be replaced, as are many of the department’s larger instruments like bass clarinets, tenor saxophones and percussion equipment.

Leskowicz says the district does a great job supporting the music program at all levels. The nature of the program—which requires many tangible items like uniforms, equipment and instruments—requires additional support.

“It’s true--the needs we have seem great,” says Leskowicz. “We are grateful for the generosity of parents, families, and friends—these gifts help us meet the needs for more kids.”

Leskowicz stresses that financial support, attendance at concerts and events, and spreading the word about the music program all help to make a difference.

“When we look back, 20 or 50 years from now, what do we want to be able to say about how much we valued music and the arts for our students?” Leskowicz asks. “I would like for us to be able to say we placed a high value on these areas because they truly generate a high reward. They benefit all students with lifelong skills.”

How You Can Help

Remember that the community gets to enjoy many of the benefits of the music program, too. A strong arts program yields a stronger, more vibrant community, with plenty of opportunities to see students at their best. Leskowicz encourages the public to come out to concert by checking the music department’s event calendar on the SCASD website.

Even if you don’t have a student in the program, he says, the performances are a great way to connect with the community and to hear and see students at their finest. He is confident that just one performance is enough to demonstrate why they deserve your support.

“The heart of what we do is for the students,” says Leskowicz. “It’s a lifelong experience for them, and if we wait, they will never have it.”

Proceeds from the upcoming Maroon & Gray Society Banquet will benefit the State High Marching Band to help purchase their much-needed new uniforms. The State High Music Program will be on-hand for a special appearance so get your tickets at www.scasdfoundation.org.