Crunch time in Upper Darby
As it turns out, drumline is not the only champion coming out of the Upper Darby School District music program.
Two weeks ago the Upper Darby High School Indoor Drumline team captured a national championship. This past weekend the high school's acclaimed Concert Choir and Encore Singers got into the act, snagging another trinket to add to the school's burgeoning trophy case.
They captured a gold medal in a competition in a Music Festival at Williamsburg, Va. You can read that story here.
All of which will make what happens tonight in the financially struggling school district even mkore interesting. The Upper Darby School Board tonight is poised to roll out the latest cuts as they battle a huge deficit. The board already has indicated taxes are going up, now residents are holding their breath as they wait to hear what else will be slashed.
Once again it appears as if the district's vaunted music program is in the crosshairs.
We'll be there to tell you what happens. We can pretty much guarantee it won't be music to anyone's ears.
The pride in the music program was evident last year when the district unveiled a curriculum change rooted in the district's financial crisis. The idea was to eliminate the special music classes in the elementary schools, as well as some language and library cuts. A lot of teaching positions also were axed. A huge public outcry ensued; more money was found in Harrisburg to avert the cuts.
Tonight most people are expecting the news to be similar.
Music is deep-rooted in the diverse district. Listen to choir director Barbara Benglian talk about their kids' performance in Virginia and you get an idea why.
"The sound that came out of these kids was incredible," Benglian said. "The judges loved them so much. Judges would come up and critique them and the judges kept saying, ‘Oh, my God.’ They were so good.
"One of the judges commented that the Upper Darby students were not only good musicians, but good citizens. I was so proud."
The Concert Choir is 120 members strong.
Lauryn Thomas, a soprano soloist, received the maestro award for excellence at the 2013 Williamsburg Music Festival.
Tonight a different kind of sound likely will be emanating from Upper Darby. It won't be music to anyone'e ears.