Letter: A Chance to Nourish the Soul
To the Editor:
The op-ed article in Tuesday’s Valley News by Mascoma High School music director David Wilson on behalf of the performing arts addition that is being planned for the high school was passionate and well-documented. The points he made regarding the value of arts education during the lives of today’s students are often overlooked by our overtaxed citizens. While student athletic programs are well publicized and recognized by the general public, an equal number of dedicated students in high school participate in music, drama, art and dance. Even though they rarely get the press that they deserve, it has been proven that these subjects often become lifelong and much loved parts of their lives. Those of us who have seen how important the arts are to a total school program hope that the performing arts facility at Mascoma will be built with pride and become an integral part of the community.
To quote the distinguished 20th-century American composer, conductor, educator and founder of the Eastman School of Music, Howard Hanson, “In this age of the machine, of the digital computer and the split atom, I think we must admit that the arts are of little material value. You can neither eat them, wear them, nor sleep in them. The creative arts — literature, music, painting, sculpture — add little or nothing to the gross national product. Nor do philosophy or religion. They are parasites on the economic body of the nation. They are important only if the soul of man is important.”
Hopefully, the folks in the Mascoma School district will take this opportunity to give their students something that will remain with them throughout their lives.
Conductor Emeritus, Hopkins Center for the Arts