As school budgets tighten, new sources of income have become necessary to continue to provide important programs and services. The Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation is a nonprofit corporation formed to improve the quality of educational and cultural programs in the Upper Darby School District. The Foundation provides a means for those who support our schools to contribute directly to the educational programs offered to our students.
This first FAST Five spotlights the Upper Darby Marching Band, through an interview with Victor Cummings, Band Director for the Upper Darby High School, who was eager to share his thoughts about what makes the Marching Band such a powerful influence in its students' lives.
There's an interesting dichotomy in the mission of the Upper Darby Marching Band. In this program, kids will learn two seemingly opposite things: how to work together as a team to create harmonized music AND how to perform as an individual. Combined, these two goals help the students grow as unique artists, as well as become well-rounded team players who understand the importance of teamwork.
Over the past few years, there has been much to celebrate in the Upper Darby Marching Band. In 2011 and 2012, we enjoyed undefeated seasons, and in our 2013 / 2014 season, our Indoor Drum Line achieved "world class status," meaning that they compete among a more selective talent pool. The caliber of our performers is outstanding, and I'm looking forward to another year of amazing achievements.
It's often tough for the students to balance practice time with their studies. In order to perform a new piece, each student has hundreds of things to learn-and they are also responsible for maintaining their own instrument. Figuring out how to manage their time and be successful is part of the learning process-and our students navigate these challenges exceptionally well.
We have a growing program-with 96 current students-and therefore, funding is most definitely another ongoing issue we face.
Before the UDAEF funding, we hadn't replaced our brass instruments in 13 years, but with the funding, we were able to update a decent amount of our equipment-and the kids were thrilled. The UDAEF also helped us track down a new amplifier (which makes the band sound better as a group), and we were able to begin using it just in time for our most recent Band Camp.
I love seeing how happy the kids are when they are making music together-particularly when they learn a new piece, or get to know a new instrument. Most of the teachers here put in 18+ hour days, so knowing there are organizations out there like the UDAEF that can help keep that happiness and passion alive for these kids keeps us all motivated and optimistic for another winning season.
The Upper Darby Arts & Education Foundation is proud to announce that the technology initiative promoting 100% literacy in kindergarten through third grade classrooms as well as the MusicMan Camp have been accepted by the Pennsylvania Department of Community and Economic Development as eligible for EITC funding! This mean EITC eligible businesses can now receive tax credits for making financial contributions to these programs along with 5 other UDAEF supported programs:
Artist in Residence, Dual Enrollment, Advanced Placement Courses, Engineering Program and Robotics.
For more information on Educational Improvement Tax Credit, please click here.