Southern Maryland music program makes changes

Christen Holmes, Contributor

For the 2016 school year, the Southern Maryland Tri-County program will be in rotation between orchestra, chorus, and band ensembles. This alteration was born due to budgeting issues and a chance to explore different opportunities.

Tri-County orchestra, chorus, and band is an opportunity for high school and middle school students to audition and perform advanced music with students from local counties. It provides young musicians with more playing experience and a chance to meet players from other high schools.

Ms. Jessica Valadie, Calvert County Public Schools supervisor of Fine Arts, said one reason for the new rotation schedule was that students were losing interest in the program. Another factor was cost. “Generally speaking, each county spends over $20,000 to run these events,” said Ms. Valadie. “We have to look carefully at how we spend our limited resources, and determine if we are getting the most ‘bang for our buck’ that we can for our students.”

There are a few benefits and drawbacks to the decision. The extra finance allows for better resources for the fine arts programs. They are also able to improve the Tri-County experience in an entirety when focusing on one ensemble at a time. However, it doesn’t allow every student to participate annually. Due to the audition process, students that have participated multiple years prior to the change have a better chance of being chosen.

For the future, Ms. Valadie said that there are no changes for the music programs. “We are committed to doing a three year rotation at this point and will revisit the challenges after each component has had one Tri-County year,” said Valadie. She believes that the Southern Maryland music programs are strong and will continue to thrive.