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LETTER: Music expands boundaries for students

I am writing on behalf of the Victoria Children’s Choir, which for the past 20 years has been an advocate for music education in Victoria and beyond. We have received the news that the Greater Victoria School District (SD61) is considering major cuts to the elementary and middle school music programs and we are deeply concerned about the effects such cuts will have on the spiritual, emotional and physical health of children.

Every year more than 100 families join our choir, and we have seen how the school music programs influence and inspire lifelong love and connection with the arts. Not every child has the chance to be introduced to musical education in their family circle or as an extracurricular activity. In fact, for many, it is the school music teacher who first opens the door to the world of non-consumer-oriented music.

It is the elementary and middle schools that cultivate music as a discipline that develops the intellect, teaches emotional and psychological awareness, and offers safe and collaborative socialization.

Music challenges our boundaries through interaction with the esthetic beauty of different cultures and has the transformational potential of interacting with something bigger than individual goals.

We acknowledge that COVID-19 has had a devastating impact on our schools and on everyone involved with our school system – teachers, families and students. Put in the suffocating grip of restrictions, music educators have faithfully remained the lifeline needed to maintain the mental and physical health of our children. We implore you to recognize the essential role of music as part of the school curriculum and to continue supporting it as an equal right to holistic integral education and not as privilege of elitism.

We at the Victoria Children’s Choir have confidence that the school district will hear our voices and will stand with us in support of music.

Teodora Georgieva, artistic director

Victoria Children’s Choir