For 34 years, the National Association of Music Education has designated March as “Music In Our Schools Month” 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. In March 2019, the CSO will join with local educators and organizations and celebrate music in Chattanooga schools.
Read Across America Celebration
As a part of MIOSM, the CSO will celebrate music through storytelling. CSO musicians, staff, and volunteers will read Ada’s Violin and present the book to the music teacher or school library. In this extraordinary true tale, award-winning author Susan Hood and illustrator Sally Wern Comport portray the message of hope and innovation spread by the Recycled Orchestra of Paraguay.
This year’s book is also available in Spanish.
Readers will be available March 1-8. Please fill out the reservation form below to have someone visit your school to read and present the book.
Want to volunteer to visit a school to read? Please fill out the form below.
Ada Ríos grew up in Cateura, a small town in Paraguay built on a landfill. She dreamed of playing the violin, but with little money for anything but the bare essentials, it was never an option…until a music teacher named Favio Chávez arrived. He wanted to give the children of Cateura something special, so he made them instruments out of materials found in the trash. It was a crazy idea, but one that would leave Ada—and her town—forever changed. Now, the Recycled Orchestra plays venues around the world, spreading their message of hope and innovation.
Susan Hood has written more than 200 picture books. She has received starred reviews in Publishers Weekly and Booklist, and her book Spike, The Mixed-Up Monster won the 2013 International Latino Award and was selected for the Charlotte Zolotow Highly Commended List. The Tooth Mouse was named a 2013 Best Book of the Year by Bank Street and the Cooperative Children’s Book Center. Prior to becoming an author, Susan was a children’s magazine editor at Scholastic and Instructor Magazine, a book editor at Sesame Workshop, and the Children’s Content Director of Nick Jr. Magazine. Ada’s Violin is her latest nonfiction picture book and Lifeboat 12 is her first novel in verse. Visit her at SusanHoodBooks.com/Home.
Sally Wern Comport has illustrated numerous picture books and novels, including Love Will See You Through: Martin Luther King Jr.’s Six Guiding Beliefs; Brave Margaret: An Irish Adventure; Hanging Off Jefferson’s Nose: Growing Up on Mt. Rushmore; and the Spy Mice series. She has also translated her picture making skills to various large scale public, private, and institutional artworks. Sally lives with her husband and two daughters in Annapolis, Maryland, where she operates Art at Large Inc. Learn more at ArtAtLargeInc.com.
Why I wrote this book
Moment for Music
Celebrate Music in your school every day with Moment for Music. Developed by the CSO and tested by several Hamilton County music teachers, this includes musical samples curated for each school day and a corresponding information and activities. Share these musical moments over your school’s PA system during announcements, at a morning assembly, or to kick off each music class for a short, fun way to put Music in Your School. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information or to request a hard copy. Click here to access the online version!
Join the CSO for a celebration of music educators and music education on our Shostakovich No. 10 concert, featuring bass trombonist John Lofton (LA Philharmonic) in a performance of Chris Brubeck’s Concerto for Bass Trombone. Teachers are invited to attend the VIP Lounge as celebrated guests of the CSO during intermission for free hors d’oeuvres and wine. Please mention the music educator discount when purchasing your ticket to ensure your RSVP.
During this concert, we’ll also highlight CSO Education programs and partners, including UNUM. Audience members will have the opportunity to write a letter thanking their music teacher or take a selfie and share why music education is important – join us!
Support Music In Schools
An easy way to show your support for music in local schools is to share your support with elected officials who, every year, make important decisions regarding music and arts in the schools.
Write a letter to your elected officials.
One of the best ways to show your support is to write a letter to your particular official. Download these sample letters, change the appropriate information, and mail them to your City Councilperson, County Commissioner, or School Board Representative. Consider including a short, handwritten note at the bottom describing how music has played a role in your life.
General letter of support:
Letter encouraging County to adopt a District wide Music Supervisor:
Stay up-to-date on current Music Education legislation.
In December, 2015, the U.S. House of Representatives passed, by overwhelming majority, the Every Child Succeeds Act (ESSA), an education bill that clearly articulates that music should be a part of every child’s education, no matter their personal circumstance and demonstrates clear intent to support the inclusion of the music and other art forms in a well-rounded education.
Read up on this important legislation and how it will affect music in our schools.
Not sure who your elected official is?
Chattanooga City Council
100 Lindsay Street
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Hamilton County Commission
625 Georgia Avenue, #401
Chattanooga, TN 37402
Hamilton County School Board
3074 Hickory Valley Road
Chattanooga, TN 37421
CSO Musicians can be seen on the stage, but many can also be found in K-12 classrooms and universities. Here, we spotlight three who regularly perform with the CSO.
Mary Benno, 2nd Violin
- I am currently teaching at Chattanooga School for the Liberal Arts. I teach general music to grades K-4, 5th Grade beginning strings (violin, viola, cello, bass), 6-8th grade string orchestra, and 6-8th grade general music/music appreciation.
- Music has always been a part of my life. My mother was a pianist and organist and my father played cornet in grade school. Mom and Dad insisted that I play an instrument of some sort. I began with piano at age 5, then in 3rd grade was introduced to flute (but braces kind of made playing flute tough), and then began playing the violin in 4th Most of my violin and orchestra experience was as a result of public school string programs. Unfortunately, only 4 thriving public school string programs still exist in Hamilton County (most were cut due to budget). I played violin in class and orchestra at Bess T. Shepherd Elementary, Tyner Junior High, Tyner High School, the Chattanooga Youth Orchestra, and UTC. I’m definitely a product of our local community!
- I always tell my colleagues. I teach music, not to produce virtuosic prodigies, I teach music so that my students will one day become music consumers. That is what I am training them to be. I want them to listen to all kinds of music, to be able to express in words why they like the music they do, to make a voluntary effort to attend concerts as adults, and to be advocates for music in schools and the world around them. When I see my students “grow-up” to be music consumers, that is my biggest reward.
Anthony Henderson, percussion
- I am currently the band director at Soddy Daisy Middle School, grades 6-8.
- Growing up I was exposed to a lot of music at home, although it was mainly pop. I was one of those kids who beat on tables, pots, and pans, so when the opportunity to join the school band came around I jumped at the chance to play a real percussion instrument. Being a performer always gave me a goal to work for growing up and that has shaped my attitudes toward many aspects of my life.
- By my junior year of high school I had decided on a career as a music educator. I had excellent teachers in band and chorus going back to 5th grade and I knew I wanted to bring those experiences to the next generation.
- The most rewarding aspect of my job is seeing young people continue in music even after leaving 8th grade. It means that their love for music is going to stay with them.
- We are advocates every time the band performs in our community. It also requires constant promotion of the importance of our band and music program in our school and community. Parents need to understand the critical role music education plays in the development of their children.
Jessica Peck, 2nd Violin
- I currently teach at Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts; it is an arts magnet school in Chattanooga. I teach music theory and strings, grades 6-12. I also teach a Music Composition class and an AP theory class.
- Music shapes my life in almost every aspect. Professionally, my life completely revolves around music. I have three jobs: Full time public school music teacher, CSO violin section player, and a part time job as a church pianist. In my “free time” I stay busy with additional gigs. Personally, since I spend so much time in music, many of my friends are musicians.Music has been a huge part of my life since I was 6. I began taking piano lessons from Ms. Francis Bondranko. At first I was terrified because she would hit my hands when I made mistakes; the tough love approach worked and eventually I fell in love with music. Around 8, I begged my mother to let me begin taking violin lessons. I loved my first teacher, Carry, and taking lessons from her for the first few years really solidified my love for violin. These early teachers of mine are no doubt the inspiration for forming my own career in music education.
- Teaching is such a satisfying profession. We hear a lot in the news about how underpaid teachers are. This is true, but the rewards far outweigh the low pay. The most rewarding aspect of the job is being able to watch my students succeed and know that I was part of that. Watching a program come together from the first rehearsal sight reading to the successful concert, getting Superior rating at festival, finding out students were accepted to Sr. Clinic or Governors school: these are all moments that make teaching so worth the long hours. Being able to watch as students gain confidence and joy in their lives through music is very rewarding.
Would you like to shine a light on your music program?
Email email@example.com with a short paragraph.
Fifth Grade students from across Hamilton County came together on October 24, 2017 to make beautiful music in the inagural Hamilton Sings! music event. Approximately 130 students participated; this is 4 percent of the fifth grade students from across the county. Students were selected by their school’s music teacher because they exhibited a natural ability and interest in music performance.
Prior to attending Hamilton Sings! the students and their teachers prepared to sing six selections. When they arrived at Hamilton Sings! they joined with all the other students for vocal rehearsals, instruction in recorder, drumming ,mallet percussion skills, May pole dancing and even learned a “barbershop quartet” style song. Instructors were Hamilton County elementary music teachers.
They learned to make music with lots of people, follow a very tight rehearsal schedule and met other students from across the county. They closed the day with a public performance that included all they had learned.
The event would not have been possible without the support of the Public Education Foundation, 1st Baptist Church, Chattanooga and the Hamilton County Department of Education.