Albion’s music program makes it 13 straight years of national recognition

Photos by Tom Rivers: Gary Simboli leads the high school choir during its year-end concert last June. The choir has more than 150 students and performs at many community events throughout the year. Albion has earned national recognition for its school music program for the 13thstraight year. It is one of 754 districts across the nation named a “Best Communities for Music Education” by the NAMM Foundation.

Posted 8 April 2020 at 5:21 pm

Press Release, Albion Central School

ALBION – The Albion Central School District has been named a Best Community for Music Education for 13 years in a row!

This designation comes from The NAMM Foundation for Albion’s outstanding commitment to music education.

Now in its 21st year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, Albion answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities and support for the music programs. Responses were verified with school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

This award recognizes that Albion is leading the way with learning opportunities as outlined in the Every Student Succeeds Act (ESSA). The legislation guides implementation in the states and replaces the No Child Left Behind Act (NCLB) which was often criticized for an overemphasis on testing-while leaving behind subjects such as music. ESSA recommends music and the arts as important elements of a well-rounded education for all children.

“Making music is the artistic synthesis of all academics,” said High School Choral Director Gary Simboli. “When presented in a public forum, not only does it allow students to demonstrate their skills in real world settings, but it also enriches the lives of those giving and receiving the performances.”

The pep band enlivens the crowd during the homecoming football game on Oct. 5. Albion runs an active music program in the elementary, middle and high schools. The high school puts on two full-scale musical and students also perform in several different instrumental and choral groups. In all, high school musicians perform numerous times during the school year.

Research into music education continues to demonstrate educational/cognitive and social skill benefits for children who make music. After two years of music education, research found that participants showed more substantial improvements in how the brain processes speech and reading scores that their less-involved peers and that students who are involved in music are not only more likely to graduate high school, but also to attend college as well.

Everyday listening skills are stronger in musically-trained children that in those without music training. Significantly, listening skills are closely tied to the ability to: perceive speech in a noisy background, pay attention, and keep sounds in memory. Later in life, individuals who took music lessons as children show stronger neural processing of sound; young adults and even older adults who have not played an instrument for up to 50 years show enhanced neural processing compared to their peers. Not to mention, social benefits include conflict resolution, teamwork skills, and how to give and receive constructive criticism.

A 2015 study supported by The NAMM Foundation, “Striking A Chord,” also outlines the overwhelming desire by teachers and parents for music education opportunities for all children as part of the school curriculum.

About The NAMM Foundation

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving, and public service programs. For more information about the NAMM Foundation, please visit

The High School performed The Big Bad Musical in November, one of two musicals scheduled for the high school drama program. The middle school also typically does two musicals. In this photo Chase Froman, sitting, stars as the Big Bad Wolf and Aubrey Boyer is Sydney Grimm, a flashy reporter for a cable news channel, EFN – Enchanted Forest News. In back from left are the Wolfettes, from left: Olivia Morrison, Hannah Coolbaugh, Hannah Brewer and Sydney Mulka.

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