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November 9, 2012
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Nevada Union music club looks to build stability for students

When visual and performing arts have taken the brunt of school program cuts, Nevada Union High School still has hope to improve its music club through community support.

“We want to be able to have a consistent program to teach students in this creative community and help them grow,” said Nevada Union teacher and one of the program supporters, Chris Bishop.

“Right now we are reaching for community support,” he added.

The club started as a senior project by former student Spencer Awbry, and has been able to continue with the efforts and support of Bishop, head librarian Jill Sonnenberg, assistant principal Bruce Kinseth, and producer and program coach Tommy Daly.

According to Daly, the arts deserve just as much attention as athletic clubs, but fail to be equally supported.

“The arts don’t get the community support that athletics get,” Daly said. “It should be involved in public schools like an athletic program, to make the same experience open to all, not just kids who have the means.”

The project is not limited to producing music, but is intended to teach students sound track production, video dubbing, and to be used for the productions of Public Service Announcements to be used on campus.

“We want to make it like a rock and roll little league,” Daly said.

The club currently uses donated computers and basic equipment, but is trying to raise funds for more extensive resources. The program estimates needing $10,000-$15,000 for computers and software to establish the recording studio; $3,000-$5,000 for performing equipment, and funds for musical instruments, so even students without their own instruments can participate.

According to the program coordinators, the end result would be to assemble and operate a recording studio, be a repository for musicians to unite potential band members or provide studio musicians for individual artists, be an agency for musician and band performance, offer student instruction in sound engineering and record production, and offer a platform for students to showcase their talents.

The club currently resides in two small rooms in the back of the library, which Sonnenberg has offered for use. The space cannot accommodate the more than 70 students that initially signed up for the club, according to Bishop.

“We have two really small rooms that are not much larger than a small office,” Bishop said. “We actually have musicians play and we do sing in there once in a while, but we can’t fit a whole band in there. We only just do one group at a time.”

Despite the slim provisions, students are still able to use the area as a resource to facilitate learning and help them follow career paths and goals.

“It’s potential job training,” said music club participant and junior Dennis Hogan.

“Music acts as a hobby, but is also a field I’m looking into as a performer and a producer.”

Hogan said he also enjoys the independence the club promotes.

“I like the access to recording and the way it’s helped us learn how to do it on our own,” Hogan said.

Shawna Bacon said the studio has allowed her to record an audition for the Sierra College Honor Band, and avoid the pricey expense of other recording studios.

“It’s convenient because recording studios are expensive and getting a hold of any other recording studio is really hard because they don’t call you back,” Bacon said.

Music has provided the junior a passion and a focus, after playing clarinet for eight years, she said.

“It is relaxing and gives me something to focus on other than regular school,” Bacon said. “It’s like my own world type thing.”

Morgan Hopkins, a sophomore, said the music club provides feedback and training in order to pursue her dream of being a professional performer.

“One of my dreams is to do this in real life,” Hopkins said.

“The experience I get in here, the different opinions, set me in the direction I need to go into.”

Producer Daly is an alumni of Nevada Union and has wanted to give back to the community after understanding how hard it is to be a music lover and a student.

“When I was that age, I was fending for myself and trying to get whoever’s garage I could find to play in,” Daly said. “We want to give kids access.”

Studio improvement can offer resources to better educate students, according to Daly.

“Resources would help augment the studio so we would have more time able to teach and we could bring in other mentors,” Daly said. “We want to change the mindset for kids so they know they can do this. It’s just as viable as a career as being a teacher or scientist.”

Daly said he would like the club to be a community resource and project.

“This particular community is very creative and there are a lot of really good young artists and they just need the legup and the support. This is open to the community to be able to support it in whichever way they feel they can.”

To contact Staff Writer Jennifer Terman, email or call (530) 477-4230.

““The experience I get in here, the different opinions, set me in the direction I need to go into.”

— Morgan Hopkins, sophomore

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The Union Updated Nov 9, 2012 04:16PM Published Nov 9, 2012 10:39PM Copyright 2012 The Union. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.