Living in the Fergus Falls community provides us with a very rich array of amenities. The area has a natural beauty which affords us all kinds of opportunities to enjoy nature – prairie wetlands is right on our doorstep, along with numerous parks found throughout the community. We are only minutes away from outstanding hunting, fishing and hiking. Of course, we enjoy the opportunity to spend time on the water – especially during those hot, sticky summer days. The community has a special appreciation for the arts. Museums, art galleries and theater proudly support our appreciation for history and love of the fine arts.
That brings me to a special recognition for music that takes place annually in the month of March. For more than 30 years, March has been officially designated by the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) for the observance of Music In Our Schools Month (MIOSM), the time of year when music education becomes the focus of schools across the nation.
The purpose of MIOSM is to raise awareness of the importance of music education for all children – and to remind citizens that school is where all children should have access to music. MIOSM is an opportunity for music teachers to bring their music programs to the attention of the school and the community, and to display the benefits that school music brings to students of all ages.
Typically in Fergus Falls this month is full of concerts by all of our school music groups, but with COVID-19 restrictions that is not possible. That said, our students are still learning and creating wonderful music every day in school. Fergus Falls is very unique in that we offer band, choir and orchestra and students may be involved in any combination of those classes.
In 2020, Fergus Falls was recognized (for the fourth time) as a “Best Community for Music Education.” Our district’s teacher of the year is band director Scott Kummrow. And in February this year, the men’s choir, under the direction of Dane Froiland, was selected to perform virtually for the Minnesota Music Educator Association’s annual conference!
The Fergus Falls Public Schools music staff includes: Ruth Umlauf, Kaele Peterson, Michelle Danielson, Denise Wiese, Scott Kummrow, Josh McGowan, Janel Trosvig, Dane Froiland, Valerie Johnson, Dave Stordalen and Craig Peterson.
Special thanks to our community for your continued support of music and the fine arts and to the 544 Foundation for its ongoing support of our programs. The 544 Foundation grants most recently supported classroom risers at Adams Elementary School and bucket drumming supplies at Kennedy Secondary School.
As our opportunities to resume normal activity continue to open up, it will be nice to fully experience all the opportunities living in Fergus Falls offers. We are truly blessed!
Jeff Drake is the superintendent of Fergus Falls Public Schools.