Dear Editor,

As the Band Director of Almont Community Schools who has worked in all three buildings, and as a parent who decided to move his two children into the school system when they were young, I can attest to the much-needed improvements in the district’s music facilities and the importance of voting in support of next month’s bond proposal.

We currently have 73 students in our high school band, but our current band room is not large enough to accommodate our needs.

Our shelves are worn down–some pieces have fallen off entirely– and we don’t have enough storage space. Our uniforms are crammed into cabinets, and many of our instruments are scattered around the floor and on top of cabinets.

The acoustics in the room are also a serious problem and have many dead spots that make it difficult to hear which effects our performance, especially when we perform in another school’s auditorium in front of a panel of Judges for MSBOA Band Festival.

The thin wall that separates us from the choir room means we can hear each other, which is distracting during class time. Even our auditorium is too small, and we cannot fit the HS school band on stage, let alone enough seating for parents, families and the community.

So we have to perform in the gym. When the Middle School bands all performed in the gym this past December we had 200 folding chairs and all the bleachers full of people. There is no way they would be able to perform in the auditorium.

Outdoors, we also struggle with adequate practice space for our marching band. Since our current football field is grass, we’d damage it if we marched on it every day and have to practice in the parking lot, which is filled with cracks which are becoming dangerous and sometimes has cars of students that forget not to park there.

The new millage would fix these problems. The bond would create a new expanded music room in the fieldhouse that would accommodate all our space and storage needs, plus include better acoustics and soundproof practice rooms.

It would also replace the grass field with a turf one, which would allow our marching band to practice on a safe space and on the grounds we actually perform on.

It would also provide an indoor field for the overly hot days of Marching Band Camp and days of inclement weather.

The fieldhouse would also include a band shell for all of our performances and a large enough audience space to accommodate parents, family and the community.

The bond would also create a designated music room for students at Orchard Primary School. The students currently practice on the school’s cafetorium stage with only a curtain separating them from the lunchroom, which is distracting for kids during lunchtime.

Music is a vital part of a well-rounded education with studies showing its positive effect on brain development, concentration, creativity, IQ and emotional well-being.

Our students deserve educational facilities that reflect that importance, and I urge the community in joining me to vote “yes” next month.

— Adam Wetzel,
Band Director,
Almont Community Schools