Keath Fenton: Music needs support, too


To the editor:

In regard to every local newspaper I have read, I have noticed that the music department at Moffat County High School is overlooked.

Sports very often will have a line on the front page of the paper. Furthermore, the sports section is almost always two pages just about MCHS teams.

Around the city, there are posters wishing a team good luck at whatever game is coming up. From this, I see that Craig is sports-oriented.

Not that this is a bad thing.

Team morale goes up when they know people support them. But, with the lack of publicity of music, we lose kids because they think it's nerdy and not as important as sports.

One student from our chorale department, Daniel McClellan, was accepted to all-state choir. From the band, five people auditioned and were accepted to all-state band. The choir and band participants are selected from hundreds of kids throughout Colorado who audition.

This is a great accomplishment.

For example, Sarah Bolton, a senior at MCHS, has gone to all-state band all three years that she was eligible. Also, she was one of two clarinetists from all of Colorado chosen for all-state orchestra, which is even more elite than all-state band.

She has also been in the fall musical orchestra for all four years of her high school career. She has been accepted to UNC to study with one of the best clarinet professors in the country.

On the other hand, there are senior athletes who get full page write-ups on their accomplishments and future plans.

However, what about Sarah? Are her accomplishments less?

The football team gets new uniforms every year. The marching band? No new uniforms for a minimum of 20 years. The ones that we have are stained, smell bad, and don't fit well. Also, many of the instruments used by band members belong to the school.

With the small budget allotted to the department, it is hard to get the instruments repaired.

Consequently, many instruments don't sound good and many kids quit because they never sound good. It seems to me that Craig thinks that more kids will make it to college with a sports scholarship than a music scholarship.

That is not the case.

In the music department, there are several people who do both sports and music.

In my opinion, kids who take a music class do better in school. It is a proven fact that people who take a music class do better in math.

I am not against the sports programs at MCHS and I recognize the positive benefits of being involved in them.

In conclusion, I'm not saying that sports should be diminished, but that the music department deserves more community support and recognition than what we're receiving now.

Keath Fenton

Junior in the MCHS Band


lgmillernl 8 years ago

I applaud you for what you are saying everyone deserves to be recognized for their accomplishments....however you have stated some false things. My son played football for four years and he never once played when they had new uniforms, this year is the first for the new uniforms to my knowledge. Not all athletes get a story about where they are going and how they are doing....many times this is initiated by the school they attend now or their coaches from high maybe the band teacher needs to notify the paper of these things, I am not sure maybe he has but just an idea. Also sometimes different sports or groups get things because they are out fund maybe this would be an idea for the band. Also alot of signs you see around town are made by parents or businesses that the athletes have went into and asked for a parent I know I made many signs and put many hours into decorating for games, team dinners and all of that stuff. I also find it not fair to say that music students do better than athletes....I am not sure if I have the wording exactly right on that...I think any kids involved in anything will help them stay focused so they can play in the band, on a team, debate in speech or whatever. I applaud your efforts once again and congratulations to all doing so well in band and music, however please don't take away from it by being critical of another group....good luck to all kids in all they are doing!


speech_geek 8 years ago

Right On Man!!! Keath you are amazing, it's about time someones brought that up. I'm in Choir here at the high school and we work our butts off and never get recognized for it. Also what about the 3 students who took award winning photos here? They are amazing photos!!! Or what about the speech and debate team? They are taking 3 students to NATIONALS!!! And they took 2 last year and not once was a story written about how they did. And Michael Zehner earned a amazing honor by being chosen as the Outstanding Senior in Speech and Debate....through the whole district not just the school. The only student they ever talk about in speech is Curtis (which isn't really cool). Either way great letter!!! You Rock!!!


calvinhobbs 8 years ago

Nice letter and I agree on the most part. The high school band and choir does an outstanding job, as well as speech and debate, art, FFA etc. The high school athletic teams are funded differently than the band. They get their budget money from the gate of the athletic events. No general fund money. They DO NOT get uniforms every year. They are on a rotation 4-5 years I believe for varsity, those are then handed down and so on. I know that the uniform my daughter had as a freshman was 13 years old, and it is still being used.. It is wrong that the band does not have new uniforms though. Keep up the great work all of you at MCHS.


Denise Bagley 8 years ago

Good for you Keath! My daughter is a straight A student, who plays clarinet and tenor saxophone in the high school band, and I have often wondered the same thing. Why do the athletes at the high school get way more press coverage than other groups, like band, debate, academics, etc? In response to lgmillernl, I don't think Keith is being critical of sports players, he is being critical of the media's lack of coverage of other programs. Also, there have been numerous studies involving the effects of studying music on brain development. All these studies have shown that children who study music (i.e. piano lessons, school band, etc) perform better in many academic areas, especially math. Keath is merely stating the facts. Here is a link to an article about one of these studies: The bottom line is that all the students involved in various programs at the high school deserve recognition and coverage equally, and the newspaper is not doing that. Kudos to you Keath for bringing this to their attention.


Fergy130 8 years ago

It is mildly ironic that I have been on both sides of this issue, as a competitor in Track and football, as well as a four-year participant in newspaper and debate.

To those who say the football team is on a 4 year jersey rotation, you are wrong. Varsity got new jerseys my freshman and junior years. I do not know about my sophomore or this year. Why is it the band has to wait so long?

To those who talk about how all the money the team makes is from the gate and concessions, that is false too. They are well funded through the Athletics Department. The same could not be said for the theater department or choirs. ANY Club for that matter.

It doesn't stop there. The pop machines in the high school garner a huge amount of revenue. ALL of it is earmarked for the athletics teams, primarily the football team. How do I know? I'm the editor-in-chief of the high school paper, but I was an investigative and sports reporter my freshman and sophomore years. I wrote a huge feature story on the topic, having in-depth interviews with the then Principal and Athletic Director.

They confirmed it, and could not give me a viable reason then. I'm curious if Mr.'s Matt Ray and Thom Schnellinger will look to cut the team's funding when the Colorado Board of Education's ban on soda takes effect.


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