Students’ musical achievement deserve recognition
It's been an outstanding but not exceptional year for the music programs at De Soto High School. The numerous superior ratings the students in the vocal and instrumental programs received at festivals this year aren't exceptional because that success is the norm under Mary Etta Copeland and Justin Love's programs.
With the exception of those trying to reach a niche audience, most newspapers have sports sections. This newspaper makes a real commitment to thoroughly cover De Soto's high school varsity sports scene. Every team, regardless of success, will get weekly coverage. Those athletes signing to play at college may well have a formula photograph of the signing with beaming parents looking on, a public moment not afforded De Soto High School senior Michelle Prescott, who accepted a scholarship to the prestigious Peabody Institute in Baltimore.
While we're proud of our effort in regard to sports, it is a reflection of our cultural priorities that there isn't a similar number of pages dedicated every week to the arts in our local schools.
The arts attract as many participants in our schools as athletic endeavors but they are carrying on with only occasional publicity. Students dedicated to those pursuits can expect to make their way in the paper during the high school's two large annual stage presentations, some photos of marching bands -- often at sporting events -- or in recognition of achievement at state festivals.
De Soto's music students also have a way of forcing their way onto our pages by the habit of getting invitations to take part in festivals or special events, such as the Madrigals trip in June to perform at New York City's Carnegie Hall.
This relative lack of recognition makes the students' commitment to instrumental or vocal music all the more noteworthy. Students toil in private working to improve their skills with little expectation of acclaim in the hallways or the community. Instructors push them in that effort out of their joy of teaching and love of music.
We applaud the work of the students and their instructors. After the students' bodies have moved on past any serious athletic pursuit, the musical skills they developed in high school will still be enriching their lives.
That is a secret the talented musicians can entertain while they hone their skills in empty practice studios.