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Colonie music programs hit a high note

Despite financial hardship, South Colonie’s music program remains competitive

South Colonie Music Department Peter Cannistraci said that district students have access to an award-winning music program despite budget woes.

South Colonie Music Department Peter Cannistraci said that district students have access to an award-winning music program despite budget woes.

— Both Colonie school districts have been recognized nationally as some of the best communities in the country for music education programs.

The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) released their list of the best-ranked communities for music education in the country. South Colonie made the list for the second year in a row, and North Colonie made the list for its fourth consecutive year.

Despite dealing with financial hardships and cuts to staffing, South Colonie remains competitive in the music department.

“Last year, we lost two music teachers to the budget, but were able to maintain the programs. It was kind of bittersweet finding out we won because the same day we won the award, we found out a teacher may be lost. But with the increased money coming back, hopefully that can change,” said Chairman of the South Colonie Music Department Peter Cannistraci.

Cannistraci stressed that he knows the school board is in a tough spot with funding and that the board does the best it can with what it has

“The Board of Education is extremely supportive of us, and many of the board members have children in one of the music programs. We regularly see them at our concerts, and many of them are part of the South Colonie Friends of Music, which is kind like the PTA,” said Cannistraci.

Cannistraci said that the Friends of Music advocate for music programs and support and enhance the program by being active behind the scenes. The Friends of Music also provide awards and scholarships and after-concert receptions.

“South Colonie and our superintendent, Jonathan Buhner, have a real philosophy of teaching the whole student, not just math and science. We’re teaching them to be well rounded by demonstrating the importance of what are often considered exploratory subjects,” said Cannistraci.

The Best Communities for Music Education is in its 15th year and recognizes school districts that demonstrate exceptional efforts to maintain high-quality music education programs as part of their main curriculums.

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