Updated: 02/12/2014 10:16 PM
Created: 02/12/2014 9:24 PM WDIO.com
Duluth Public Schools have a proud history of strong music programs, but some parents and a passionate private instructor feel that is slipping away. They spoke out at the district's community meeting on Wednesday night.
“Music is sometimes considered like the universal language,” Rianna Amberg said.
Amberg is an 8th grader at Holy Rosary, and she's fluent in music after years of clarinet and piano lessons. However, she's headed to Duluth East next year and worries about communicating with students there.
“I'm just wondering if it's going to turn out okay all these different levels of musicians,” Amberg said.
Her mother, Barbi Lee, said she has heard the music program at the Duluth schools is out of tune.
“I don't understand how you can have a band who doesn't have lessons, who don't do group practicing, and like actually be able to put on a concert,” Lee said.
Amberg's private instructor Janna Blomquist said cuts to the district's program have left teachers stretched thin over too many students.
“They can't just be thrown in a room with one band director and say, 'Here, here you go. Teach. Teach all these students.' Because the needs of a percussionist are very different than the needs of a clarinet player,” Blomquist said.
She said that one-on-one lessons have vanished due to the cuts, and teachers do not have time to properly train students on their instruments. Blomquist said students can stay on tempo with a little more help.
“We need to restore some of the personnel that we used to have to get these kids alone at least in a group of clarinets, a group of flutes,” Blomquist said.
She is not alone. Parents and other community members brought up the music program reductions at the district's Think Kids meeting at Lowell Elementary Wednesday night.
Superintendent Bill Gronseth said those concerns and others from meetings held at other schools will be factored into next year's budget.
“As the board continues to meet and talk about the budget and they finalize that budget in March all of this information will be part of those decisions,” Gronseth said.
Blomquist hopes to volunteer at Ordean-East Middle School in the meantime.
The district is looking for comments on any issue as part of the Think Kid's Initiative. If you can't make it to a meeting you can contact the administration online by clicking here.
Former Religious Leader Sought in Sexual Conduct Case
A man has been charged with 59 counts of criminal sexual conduct involving two members of a "Maidens Group" within a Pine County-based church he led called the River Road Fellowship.
Duluth Police Investigate Decomposing Body Found in Lincoln Park Neighborhood
Duluth police are investigating after finding a decomposing body in the Lincoln Park neighborhood Tuesday. Just after 2:00 p.m., a passerby spotted the body about 100 yards north of the intersection of 19th Avenue West and 2nd Street along a fence and brush line, according to police.
10 Whitetails Killed by Dog Attack on Webster, Wis. Deer Farm
According to a USDA Wildlife Services report obtained by Eyewitness News through the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources, nine buck fawns and one adult breed doe in a captive facility were killed Tuesday. The report says some deer died from trauma associated with running into the fence.
Allegiant Passengers: Whole Plane Smelled After Hitting Swarm of Bees
Some Northland flyers are relieved to be home today after a fiasco in the air. Their Duluth-bound plane had to turn around Monday, after hitting a swarm of bees. The Allegiant plane landed safely back in Las Vegas, but the passengers said it was one strange, scary experience.
Social Workers Want To Prevent Child Abuse Before It Happens
Social workers for Saint Louis County were reaching out during Child Abuse Prevention Month. They gave board members a breakdown of what they deal with during a workshop.