A private foundation has given the Fountain Valley School District $14,000 to bring back a vocal music program eliminated eight years ago because of budget cuts.
“It’s really exciting. It’s something we’ve lost and haven’t had for some time,” said Marc Ecker, assistant superintendent of administration-business.
The grant by the Fountain Valley Educational Foundation, a nonprofit group aimed at enhancing local education, will fund a choir program for students in fifth through eighth grades.
Marge Schneider, foundation executive director, said that while arts programs have been the first to be cut because of district budget constraints, “we feel the arts should be included for a well-rounded education.”
Board of Trustees President Robert Sedlak said the program will boost community pride and offer students a positive activity.
“I think it will give the community a chance to see the talent of our students,” Sedlak said. “We’ve had to cut so many things, it’s great to be able to add programs like this.”
The grant money will be used to hire Ted Reid, Fountain Valley High School’s vocal music teacher, to direct the program. Reid, who has taught at the high school for eight years, recently took a group of his choir students to New York to perform at Carnegie Hall.
In the years since the district cut the vocal music program, Reid said, he has noticed that his first-year students don’t have a background in music and must work harder to catch up.
“But now we’re going to have the chance to get kids interested in the activity, and they’re going to be better prepared, and it’ll make for better-quality work,” he said.
The music program will begin in September and will be held after school. Reid said a districtwide chorale group will be formed that will meet at different schools during the year to give all students a chance to participate.
Ecker agreed that the program will “give kids an opportunity to perform and make the kids feel good about themselves.”
Ecker said that when children are involved in arts programs, they tend to excel in academics as well.
“There’s a strong correlation that a person who plays the violin will also do well in math,” he said.