Hamilton receives national recognition for music education support

For the second consecutive year, Hamilton City Schools has been recognized with one of the best music education programs.

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) honored the 9,200-plus-student school district with the Best Communities for Music Education designation for outstanding commitment to music education.

The school’s administrators, staff and music teachers collaborated to showcase the Hamilton City School District’s music programs, Band director Patrick Naylor said the district’s students have teachers, directors and administrators that provide a well-rounded education involving the fine arts.

“Through the process of music education, our students develop not only a deep understanding and love for music but the life skills necessary to be successful and to positively impact the communities our students will live in once they leave the Hamilton City Schools,” Naylor said.

Hamilton’s reputation for musical excellence has been growing, and the national recognition places it with other high-caliber programs, such as neighboring Fairfield City Schools which received the same destination for the sixth straight school year. They are two of the more than 1,000 schools and districts that earned the BCME honor. There are more than 13,400 public schools in the country.

To qualify for the Best Communities designation, the Hamilton school district answered detailed questions about funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, support for the music program, and community music-making programs. Responses were verified by school officials and reviewed by The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas.

The Best Communities for Music Education designation is in its 25th year and is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in providing music access and education to all students.

“Our unwavering commitment is steadfast in embracing and rewarding educators, administrators, parents and community leaders who applaud and support comprehensive music instruction as a fundamental part of core learning opportunities,” said John Mlynczak, NAMM president and CEO. “These leaders offer an extraordinary model of teaching that ignites a foundation of success we can all honor and celebrate.”

District officials say music education inspires creative thinking and builds a sense of community. Music education provides both an educational/cognitive benefit as well as social skill benefits, according to Wendy Spurlock, the interim Fine Arts Director at Hamilton City Schools according to research.

All 12 Hamilton City School District schools provide music education to their students through general music, choir, band and orchestra. Each area is further broken down into subgroups, such as show choir, an a cappella group, marching band, winter winds, indoor percussion, jazz band, symphony orchestra, and rock orchestra.

Some of the highlights for the 2023-2024 music season include school-best and first-place finishes at competitions.

The marching band earned its highest-ever rating at the Bands of America Grand National Championships and earned a “superior” rating in all captions, from all judges, at the Ohio Music Education Association’s Marching Band Finals.

The winter groups also excelled this year with the Indoor Percussion receiving first place in Regional A Class, Winter Winds receiving first place in Class A, JV Winter Guard receiving first place in Senior Flag Line, and Varsity Winter Guard receiving first place in A Class.

For the choir programs, Prestige was first in their category and a finalist for best choreography at Teays Valley Competition and earned a People’s Choice Award at Voices in the Grove. The district’s first a cappella group, Enharmonix, won first place at the Midwest quarter-finals in the International Championship High School A Capella, and won third place in the semi-finals. Overall, they were 21st in the country.

Also, the Hamilton Winder Winds and Hamilton Indoor Percussion ensembles won the Gold Medal in their respective class at the Mid East Performance Association Championships earlier this month.

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