Music Program receives national recognition

DPS music education program receives national recognition
Posted on 04/02/2019

The Danbury Public Schools district has been named a 2019 “Best Communities for Music Education School District” for its commitment to and support of music education.

On March 26, the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) released a list of 623 school districts nationwide, 18 of them in Connecticut, recognized as 2019 Best Communities for Music Education.

The NAMM Foundation is a nonprofit supported in part by the National Association of Music Merchants and its approximately 10,400 members around the world. The foundation advances active participation in music making across the lifespan by supporting scientific research, philanthropic giving and public service programs.

Jill Russell-Benner, the DPS k-8 music department head, serves as the liaison between schools and nonprofit organizations and has been instrumental in getting funding to the schools specifically for music education.

Last fall, the Redding-based SpreadMusicNow presented a check for $40,000 to VH1 Save the Music Foundation to support the donation of musical instruments to the Danbury schools. VH1Save the Music donated $120,000 worth of musical instruments and supplies to support the elementary band programs at Ellsworth, Hayestown Avenue and Stadley Rough elementary schools. NAMM donated $20,000 to the foundation, as well.

“With six Core Band Grants in place to date, we are well on our way to ensuring all Danbury students have access to a high quality musical instrument in school and can reach their full potential,” Jaclyn Rudderow, VH1 Save The Music Foundation program director, said at the SpreadMusicNow check presentation.

Since that time, efforts continue to make certain that eventually all K-8 students will have access to musical instruments and education.

“The fact that the music program in our schools has seen significant growth is due in large part to a partnership between the schools, thanks to Jill, and the nonprofit communities who have supported it,” said Superintendent Dr. Sal Pascarella. “The benefit of music education is immeasurable, from the joy it brings to students playing an instrument to the confidence it builds and the skills it promotes. Music education is an important part of a student’s learning experience, and we are fortunate to have these community partners who help us make it possible.”