‘Welcome To A Best Community For Music Education’

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 1 April 2014 at 12:00 am


Albion, Holley should proclaim musical stature

File photos by Tom Rivers – Holley and Kendall schools last year debuted a combined marching band. They are shown in the Albion Strawberry Festival last June.

Holley did it for the first time and Albion Central School made it seven in a row. Both school districts earned designations as a “Best Community for Music Education,” according to the North American Music Merchants.

About 2,100 schools sought the honor from the NAMM Foundation, but only 376 across the country earned it in 2014. Albion has been a perennial winner of the award. Only a select group pulls that off.

Holley is new to the list this year. In the rural GLOW counties (Genesee, Livingston, Orleans and Wyoming), only Le Roy made the list outside of the two schools from Orleans. The big, wealthy suburban school districts – Clarence, Williamsville, Penfield and Webster – tend to dominate the list.

But some rural schools make music and the arts a priority. That’s something worth promoting in the community and to people passing through. Albion and Holley should celebrate the honor with prominent signs leading into the community.

Kyle Thaine played the Tinman in Albion High School’s production of “The Wiz.” The school performed the musical on March 28-29. Albion students typically receive several awards from the Rochester Broadway Theatre League for its shows.

Just like Medina basks in its state champion marching band, and Elba proclaims the achievements of its state champion girls basketball team, Albion and Holley should proudly spread the news about the achievements of their music programs, and the school districts should do so at the gateways into the villages.

Both the villages of Albion and Holley have been struggling in recent years with a shrinking tax base. Proclaiming the music program could be a major selling point for the communities. The NAMM designation should definitely go on signs and web sites about Albion and Holley.

There will be more home-hunters driving through Albion and Holley as Genesee County and the state work to develop and open STAMP in the town of Alabama, only about a mile south of the Orleans County line. The state moved to fast track the Science, Technology, and Advanced Manufacturing Park in Alabama, committing $33 million to the project in the new state budget. The state wouldn’t do that if there weren’t companies serious about the park, which could add 10,000 high-paying jobs to the community.

We want a lot of those people who will be earning big paychecks to settle in Orleans, especially in some of our villages. Celebrating the music programs may be the drawing card that sways people to move and stay here.