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Students show off their talents

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By Don Pace

Music lovers all over the country are complaining that programs at schools are either being slashed or completely abandoned. Studies say not only do band and choir programs lift the spirits of students, they also lift the grade point average in student’s academic pursuits.

During a recent band and choir presentation at a Las Vegas City Schools board meeting by students from Mike “Mateo” Sena Elementary, band director Wallace “Wally” Sanchez said students from elementary through high school are getting more time to learn about the arts.

“Music is really happening Instead of once a week, we are at the schools two to three times a week. It’s amazing how eager students are to learn, class starts at 8 a.m., and I’m there by 7:30 a.m. and students are already in the band room practicing. They’re just loving it, and it’s neat to see,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said there has been some restructuring at all the schools to accommodate music appreciation. “We’ve offered the instrumental and choir programs to all fourth- and fifth-graders, so they’re either in band or choir. We felt the program was dying and now it’s really blossoming,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez said there were more than 120 elementary children in band and about 75 kids in choir. He said these students would eventually filter into the middle school.

“Hopefully, we will have over a hundred-piece group at the middle school,” Sanchez said.

Sanchez told the board that Los Nios Elementary School and Memorial Middle School had started mariachi groups and said they are amazing to listen to.

West Las Vegas is also building its music program, with more students than ever competing and making All-State.

Both school districts held their winter concerts before the Christmas break to packed venues.