Music heard in Forks schools once again

  • By Debbie Ross-Preston For Peninsula Daily News
  • Monday, July 4, 2011 12:01am
  • Life

By Debbie Ross-Preston For Peninsula Daily News

FORKS — The rhythmic sound of drumsticks striking plastic chairs reverberated in the Forks Middle School band room as music teacher Erika Rudnicki took students through a percussion piece.

Though the school was nearing the end of the school year before the summer break, the restless students focused once Rudnicki readied her own sticks for another run through the exercise.

The class, called STOMP, was just one way to get students interested in music.

“Because we started this program from scratch and didn’t have enough percussion instruments for everyone, the drum sticks and chairs were an accessible way for kids to get excited about music,” Rudnicki said.

The excitement has spread.

Rudnicki will go from having about 10 students who stayed after school for band during the last school year to more than 60 fifth-grade students who signed up for band in the 2011-2012 school year.

“It’s amazing. That’s more than 90 percent of the incoming students. It presents some challenges, but it’s a great problem to have,” Rudnicki said.

Quillayute Valley School District voters approved a two-year $626,348 property tax levy in February to pay for reinstatement of the district’s music program, which was eliminated five years ago under state budget cuts, as well as for such maintenance projects as replacing the roof of one of the high school gymnasiums and upgrading the heating system at Forks Elementary School.

The levy is paying for a second music teacher in 2012 that will be dedicated to Forks Elementary School and assist Rudnicki with building music literacy throughout the district.

“Erika has excellent rapport with the students,” said Patti Fouts, Forks Middle School principal.

“She gets kids motivated and excited.”

Maya Trettevik, 12, plays clarinet. She is already looking forward to her second year of music.

“I wanted to have more music — the teacher was always happy to see us,” Trettevik said.

“I like playing with the rest of the class and not by myself.”

Rudnicki makes it a point not to schedule public performances for students until they are confident in their own abilities.

“To perform in public takes time,” Fouts said.

“We hope parents are patient and willing to wait until the performance is rewarding for the kids and the parents.”

Rudnicki will re-start the Forks High School Band next year following two years without it.

She hopes to have a band traveling to festivals by the third year.

“Forks has a history of doing well at music festivals in the past. We’re building back to that point,” Rudnicki said.

“The school board and the voters have been so supportive of bringing music back,” Fouts said.

“The district commits to paying for the teachers, and we’re able to compete for grants to pay for instruments for kids who can’t afford them.”

“It’s exciting,” Rudnicki said. “It’s going to really start moving next year with building the literacy component and all these new kids and an additional teacher.”

________

Debbie Ross-Preston is a freelance writer and photographer living in Forks.

More in Life

During the PSHA game show at the Crosby arena in Agnew last weekend, Duncan Parks, 18, and Ed ran a blazingly fast “A” division time of 8.45 in the Keyrace. (Karen Griffiths/for Peninsula Daily News)
HORSEPLAY: Olympic Peninsula equestrians beat the heat

ARE YOU FEELING beat by the heat? It’s sure had me feeling… Continue reading

Scribble Bots STEAM event for tweens at NOLS locations

Kids in grades 4–7 will build robots that scribble… Continue reading

Emma Weller
Former Port Angeles Roughrider graduates from Harvard

Port Angeles High School alumna Emma Weller recently graduated… Continue reading

Dan Peacock, on left, receives the 2024 Community Service Award from Lora Brabant, president of the Clallam County School Retirees Association.
Peacock receives retirees’ community service award

Dan Peacock has received the 2024 Community Service Award… Continue reading

The DAISY Foundation has recognized Thomas Batey with its DAISY award.
Thomas Batey recognized

The DAISY Foundation has recognized Thomas Batey with its DAISY award. Batey… Continue reading

A GROWING CONCERN: Gardening fun in the summer sun

SUMMER HAS OFFICIALLY begun, school is out, for a couple weeks the… Continue reading

ISSUES OF FAITH: Living honorably is a marathon, not a sprint

THE OPENING CEREMONY of the Paris Olympics is a week away. The… Continue reading

Jamal Rahman will discuss teaching stories and sacred verses that transformed his life at 11 a.m. Sunday. Rahman will be the guest speaker at Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship.
Olympic Unitarian Universalist Fellowship speaker set

Jamal Rahman will present “Healing Extremism and Polarization” at… Continue reading

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith.
Unity in Port Townsend planning for Sunday services

The Rev. Pam Douglas-Smith will present “Maintain Peace of… Continue reading

The Rev. Donna Little will present “The View From Here - 2024” at 10:30 a.m. Sunday.
Unity speaker slated Sunday

The Rev. Donna Little will present “The View From… Continue reading

Repair jewelry, bicycles at Sunday event

Volunteers to show participants how to fix common items

Diane Fatzinger uses the wind phone in Sequim, located just north of the Olympic Discovery Trail on West Hendrickson Road. (Elijah Sussman/Olympic Peninsula News Group)
Wind phone offers a place for therapeutic discussion

Sequim woman constructs unwired booth to speak to lost loved one