By Laura Raines, Artistic Development Intern
The Music Man is a classic American musical that reminds us of the power of the arts to rejuvenate a struggling community, so when it was chosen for the 2011-2012 Season, we felt it was necessary to connect with our own artistic community in the DC metropolitan area. As such, we have partnered with several local marching bands that will be featured in select performances of The Music Man over the course of its run. On July 3, our partner will be the Jackson Liberty High School Liberty Lion Band of Jackson, New Jersey. Scott Katona, the band director at Jackson Liberty High School, was kind enough to speak to us about his band, and the importance of arts education in our community.
What made you want to become a music educator?
I was inspired to become a music educator by my high school band director.
How does being in the marching band have a positive impact on your students?
It teaches the students discipline as well as problem solving skills. It teaches them to read a foreign language and it helps them develop a sense of pride.
What are some of your band’s greatest achievements?
We are currently ranked one of the best marching bands and jazz bands in the state of New Jersey. We've taken awards for best percussion, best colorguard, best music and best visual design. This past year, the marching band had taken 12 1st place finishes at local competitions.
What is it about your band that makes it different from any other?
The students work hard, and they have fun and achieve.
What excites you about being involved in Arena Stage’s production of The Music Man?
This gives the students another opportunity to perform in a venue that not many other students have done. It shows another way music and the arts directly relate to each other.
Why do you believe arts education is important?
Exposure to art education promotes self-directed learning and sharpens critical and creative skills. It also promotes students' self-image and increased their academic success in the areas of math, science and the language arts.