4: APS Fine Arts

4: APS Fine Arts


(jazz music) – [Male Voice] Why can’t
APS just pay teachers more? – [Female Voice] Can my child really learn in a classroom of 30? – [Second Female Voice] Is
public education as bad as the media and everyone else says it is? (jazz music) – [Male Narrator] Everyone
has an opinion about Albuquerque Public Schools. But where do you go to sort out fact from fiction and rumor? Right here. Welcome to the APS Open
Book Podcast with your host, Mark Goodrum. – Welcome to our APS Open
Book Podcast, episode four: Fine arts in our schools. This is Mark Goodrum, your host. And our guests today are Gina Rasinski, Fine Arts Director for
Albuquerque Public Schools. Luis Delgado, retired Fine Arts Director and music educator. And… Also, Ron Lipke. We have music educator, musician, mentor and recently a nominee for the 2019 Platinum Music Award. Congratulations on that. – Well, thank you. It was an honor to be nominated. – [Mark] Well thank you all
so much for taking the time for being here. We sure do appreciate it. Later in the show after we take a break we’re gonna have some comments
from students and teachers from fine arts programs and we’ll be getting
to that down the road. But, take us into today, Gina, about the fine arts. What’s happening today in our schools? – The school year ’18/19
is a pretty exciting time to be in fine arts in APS, because this year we, the APS Board of Education approved an expansion for our
Elementary Fine Arts Program to be phased in over five years. Phase one and two have already happened. Phase one happened in January, we hired 20 new elementary
art and music teachers and placed them in 20 elementary schools. And we just completed
the application process for 20 more elementary schools. 10 more music, 10 more art teachers. So in the fall this year our
elementary program we will have 140 teachers total and 40
schools of the 90 elementaries will have a permanent
art and music teacher. – [Mark] And that just
started this year, right? – That just started in January. – [Mark] Wow. – [Ron] But Gina, was that difficult to find that many teachers? – We are in the process right now. It was a little difficult, especially in January in
the middle of the year. We do have some teachers
that are already currently teaching in APS in general
education or special education who would like to transfer over but they didn’t want to transfer in the middle of the school year. Which we were, you know, that was definitely, I understood that. So this fall we’re just
beginning interviews for the, for the next school year and
it’s looking really good. We have quite a few
graduates from UNM coming up, we have some people moving around from other places in APS
and other school districts. And we’re also taking
advantage of the APS’s international teacher
program we have going on. And we have, one new teacher just came
to us from the Philippines and we have a couple more I think will be joining our staff also. So, in the middle and high schools, we have continual programming
that we’ve had forever, not forever, I shouldn’t say that. We do have some schools
with our drama programs. We have always band, orchestra and choir is going strong in the middle schools. We have some unique programs also such as steel drum band at Tony Hillerman. And in our high schools similar, we have our band, orchestra, choir. Some Mariachi programs, some Baile Folklorico programs. Also steel drums, so there’s quite a lot going on. A lot of guitar programs at the middle and high schools also. – And we were just reading
about the Dance Institute. Is APS involved with the
Dance Institute at all? – There are several schools that are involved with the
National Dance Institute, mhmm, but that is, that’s a separate – Entity.
– program from APS Fine Arts. – So the blood is going. – The blood is going. – That’s great.
– It’s pretty, pretty exciting. We’re also in a couple partnerships with the Kennedy Center. And one of those partnerships
is Any Given Child which is a City-County and APS initiative. So we have identified eight schools
to be elevated arts, is what we’re calling them. And we’re working hard to
get them some additional fine arts experiences and teaching artists into their schools as well. – What does that mean, elevated arts? What is gonna encompass?
– It’s in collaboration with the city and the county, it will be a lot of teaching
artists and experiences, things like that that we’ll bring into those eight identified schools. And also some staff development for
after school providers to continue programs like
drama and those types of things in the after school programs
so that the kids have the, if they can’t get that opportunity
during the day, you know, things like NDI or things like that will be in the after school– – Are those all certified
teachers teaching the after school programs?
– They’re not… The teaching artists won’t
always be certified teachers, but they will have gone through, we’re setting up in partnership
with the Santa Fe Opera, a training that those teaching artists will need to go through in
order to be in the classroom with the students. You know, basic things
like classroom management, those types of things. So we are having a press
conference next Wednesday at the Albuquerque Museum to announce the eight schools for the elevated arts. One of them is a middle
school and the other seven are elementaries at this point. – [Mark] That’s exciting. – Yeah, it’s a very exciting
time to be in fine arts. – [Mark] You might pull some
of us out of retirement. – Yes, please!
(laughing) – [Ron] I don’t think so.
(laughing) – [Mark] That’s great. You know, I’m just
really excited about that because it has not always been that case. It seems like there’s an upswing and things are moving. And Luis, tell us, give us a little history. Not that they were the
dark ages, but…(laughing) – No, it was… We went through a period which I would, you could label the dark ages
(laughing) going way back into the ’30s and ’40s. I mean, APS has had the
presence of fine arts in its schools, particularly the secondary schools, because they were electives
and so you had band, choir, orchestra, drama, art, visual art programs in the schools. This goes back, from my knowledge, way back to the days when Virginia Lapine was in charge of fine arts programs and when she retired, Dale Kempter took over the position as Director of Fine Arts and he continued working with the School Board to get support for the fine arts. At that time, in music we had
elementary band and orchestra, where they had itinerant teachers that would go to the elementary schools and deliver instruction and curriculum. – [Mark] And what year was this about just for some perspective?
– Oh I would say this was in the ’60s, ’70s. Even as far as to when all of the cuts took place in the ’80s. But there was a presence
of fine arts, like I said, especially at the secondary schools. Because it was very visual, I mean, it was out there. The music programs
performed for the public, the drama programs
performed for the public, so it was something that the public was used to seeing and attending. Not so much at the elementary school, but there were some programs. There was elementary music and art but the programs were quite small. And so they continued under the leadership of Dale Kempter and Jim Bonnell, Diane Bonnell was the
elementary music specialist and we had an Art Director,
Peter Fitzpatrick, who was in charge of all of
the visual arts at that time. And then in the ’80s we had a series of budget deficits. It was a hard time for schools, not just APS but all around the state. As far as funding from
the state there was just, after the Big Mac tax
cut in the middle ’80s there were a lot of unfunded mandates that were coming through
to the school districts, and so they had to meet those mandates. And so consequently what happened is there’s programs that were cut. And unfortunately what was targeted was at the elementary level primarily, so we lost elementary counselors, we lost nurses at the elementary level, we lost some PE teachers and we lost all of elementary
art and elementary music. – Was that when, and you started a thought, was that when a lot of the band teachers elementary sort of moved
up to middle school? – Absolutely, because we
had itinerant teachers doing orchestra and band, but there were no more programs, so they had to be placed in positions within the school. They couldn’t lose their jobs ’cause of union contracts etc. So they were placed at
middle school positions or as in an assistant role, maybe at a high school
or two high schools. So they were at that time redirected, they went to
a different grade level. And we lost all elementary
art and music for, I think it was like six or seven years, there was none in the elementary schools. – Well, some forward-looking
principals picked up and let individual private teacher
come in and pick up programs. – Right, some schools
where the parent community was very active wanted to have that. I can think that my daughter
had elementary music, or elementary band at
Comanche where we paid a teacher who came in and
had band in the mornings. – [Ron] Des Jarvis and Georgia O’Keeffe? – Yeah, there were a number
of schools that did that. So… Some programs did continue, but they were not official APS programs. They were PTA funded
or PTO funded programs. So what happened is at that time elementary orchestra and elementary band started at the middle school level. Which is some ways was better, because instead of a
music class twice a week, where they would make, or three times a week where they would make minimal progress, when they switched it to middle school the classes met every day
with a certified teacher and the progress that the kids
experienced was much faster, and physically, developmentally
they were more ready to handle that kind of instruction. – Because before they’d
started in the fifth grade, is that right?
– Yeah, fourth or fifth grade. Strings started in fourth grade and band was started in fifth grade. And, quite frankly, a lot of the time those
kids weren’t quite ready for handling the instruments. So, after about six or seven years without
elementary programs, in the middle, I wanna say, ’95, ’96, there was actually a
budget surplus that year. And Peter Horoschak was the
Superintendent of the schools and he held some parent community meetings and the message he heard was, “We want elementary music
and art back in the schools.” – [Mark] From the community? – From the community, right. From the parents and
the community members. Some of the arts organizations etc. They certainly made their voices heard and so he used half of
that surplus that year for closed campuses at the high schools, and the other half was to start a elementary music and art program. And that was 1996. Janet Kahn was appointed or hired as the Coordinator of Fine Arts and so she held meetings with all the interested
parties in the city to develop a fine arts
plan which would guide the reintroduction of
elementary fine arts. And so there was people
from the community, arts organizations, certainly the school district, the University. Anybody who was a valid
and interested partner was invited to attend. – [Mark] Grassroots? – Grassroots, right. And so she heard the message very clearly from the principals that
they did not necessarily want band and orchestra but
they wanted general music for everybody. They did not want a pull-out
program like we had before. They wanted music for, or art and music for everybody. So what we settled on at that time was general music and
general art instruction rather than specialized
instrumental instruction. So that started the elementary
music and art program and we started with 11 art
teachers and 11 music teachers. We were able in ensuing years, for the three or four years we were able to hire one or
two more to add to that staff. But what really was the
catalyst for the growth in the elementary fine
arts program was in 1993, no 2003.
– 2003. – 2003, was the passage of the Elementary Fine Arts
Education Act in Santa Fe. The legislature that year
under the guidance and the, the guidance of Senator
Max Coll from Santa Fe. He introduced a bill that would fund elementary art or music, or elementary fine arts I should say ’cause that includes dance and drama, for the elementary schools in New Mexico. ‘Cause there was, at this time, because of all the tax cuts and like I mentioned before, all the districts had suffered
setbacks as far as budget. So… There was a lot of need to address this across the state. So, he introduced the Elementary
Fine Arts Education Act which set aside monies, through the state
Equalization Funding Formula, for the reintroduction or the expansion of fine arts at the elementary
schools particularly. So this was a bill that
targeted K5 and/or K6 depending how your elementary
school was structured. – Now that was funding
that couldn’t be canceled by the districts. – [Luis] Absolutely, because it was guaranteed
– Good point. – through the funding formula. – [Ron And Gina] Right. – Every district was
guaranteed to be able to access this money but you had to
do an application for it. But there was enough money, I believe. When we first started we were
getting like $50 a student. And then the multiplier
kicked in and so the next year it was a $100 a student
and then pretty soon it was the full values to
the point that the state was, the full amount of the
Fine Arts Education Act was like 33 million for the
state, across the state. And so all the districts were
able to access that money. Now, for Albuquerque that
meant right off the top that we were starting with, you know, a couple million dollars extra to start expanding our
program to the point that when I finished my term
as Director of Fine Arts our allocation through the
FAEA was closer to $10 million, to help with staffing and
to pay, primarily, salaries and supplies and
materials for the program. – That’s great. – So, the expansion cost
the district nothing for the most part. What the district did is
whatever they used the money from the state to
supplant what the district was originally putting in. And so it really didn’t
cost the district anything to expand and continue
expanding the fine arts program. – Fortunately you had a fine
arts department established when this money came on. – [Luis] Well, it was
established at the same time. Well no, it was, you’re right, you’re right. – Janet Kahn came in. – [Luis] Right, Janet was, yeah, it was ’96 when we
started the fine arts program. This came by later and so
we were already established. So Janet did take the lead. Janet was very instrumental in lobbying and advocating for the funding at the state
level with the legislature, along with the New Mexico Activities, or the New Mexico Advisory
Council on Arts Education. And continued to advocate
with the legislators and the governor for the funding and expressing the need for the funding so that it wasn’t taken away. And it’s not a grant, it’s actual guaranteed funding. – ‘Cause I remember at one
time it was threatened. – [Luis] Right.
– Yes. – We’d all got together. – I believe it was the
first or second year and the Governor at that
time, Bill Richardson, decided he wanted to use the
money for another reason. And luckily for us, he made that announcement
right when the all-state, the New Mexico Music Educators’ all-state music conference was going on. So, at that time, there were people attending
the all-state concerts from across the state. So we were able to get our
message out real quickly. And the Governor’s office
and the legislators, they received over a thousand phone calls, which really did get their attention about why that was such a bad idea. And so within a week we were
meeting with the Governor to explain the entire situation, after which he was very
gracious and he says, “No, this is something
that needs to be done and we’re gonna see it through.” – You know, all of this is so important for our listeners to hear, because this doesn’t get put out there. I’ll use it as the down beat. And there’s so much work that is being done behind the curtain. And has done, been done behind the curtain. So, it’s good information
to be put out there and to know what has been laid down and move forward so we
can get to this point where we are now. – And Mark I would just like to add too that this expansion
that I spoke of earlier with the addition, that APS is funding that. That goes above and beyond
what we are receiving from the state.
– Yeah, that, that was a point I wanted to make is that APS started the elementary
fine arts program with APS operational funds, then supplanted and
now they are once again funding the expansion. And about four or five
years ago we started, we were able to use the, leverage the funds from the FAEA to expand into the middle school, to hire middle school choir
teachers and drama teachers to be able to expand fine arts offering at the middle school. ‘Cause is there was one spot that was like no-man’s-land
it was the middle school. We were able to adjust the
needs at the elementary and we’ve always addressed
the needs of the high school, but middle school always seemed to be lacking.
– Stepchild. – It was the stepchild, exactly. So we were able to– – You were acquiring drama teachers right? Because it wasn’t funded in the same way. – Right, it wasn’t funded. The secondary teachers are not funded the same way as the elementary. They are all school-based positions. So, even though the funding, the allocations come through fine arts, they are school-based so
if a principal thought that he had other pressing
needs in the school, he could cut those programs. – I often wondered when
I found out about that, how did that come to be? ‘Cause band directors are funded through the district, correct? – [Gina] Yes. – [Luis] Right. – [Gina] Yes, the secondary
teachers are funded through the district.
– Right, but like you said the chorus and drama, how did that come to be like? – It was, historically that’s the way it was when Dale Kempter was the
Director of Fine Arts. It was set up that way. Guitar teachers, drama, choir, all of those were school-based teachers and it was up to the principal if he wanted to have them or not. Whereas the band directors
and the orchestra teachers were funded through the district office. – And subject, not to interrupt, subject to dropping that program. – Absolutely. – And that was the problem.
– Right. So, it was three years ago that Luis wrote an addendum to the FAEA to expand it to the sixth grade which is how we’re now funding the choir and drama positions. And I’m excited for the fall this year, because this will the first year our entering freshman into
high school choir programs have had choirs since sixth grade. So I’m hoping to hear from
these secondary choir teachers that the middle schoolers have now come up more prepared
– With some skill. – and with a place to go. Because they had general
music in elementary and then if there was no choir at their middle school for three years, then they got to high school and went, “Oh, I think I remember
liking that in fifth grade.” But now they’ve had three years off. So I’m excited to see the fall. – Now has that been a
major program problem, hiring adequate, certified choir teachers? – I have been able to get choir teachers for the middle schools. – [Ron] Okay, that’s amazing. – That’s been, yes, I only have one that didn’t get funded and that was because the school has a very difficult schedule. ‘Cause they are 0.5 positions, so most of them teach at two schools. – I wanna mention two other events or things that happened while, during my tenure in the fine arts office that were really very beneficial
to the fine arts program, particularly music programs. And that was the one of the
passage of the mill levy. It started about 13, 14 years ago where they started including
a percentage of the mill levy for the replacement of
fine arts equipment. And so what happened is, what happened as a result
was that every school, middle and high school, was guaranteed a certain
amount of money every year for equipment replacement. Whereas before it was
just kinda hit and miss, depending what the principal wanted to do or whatever the parent
groups, booster groups could manage to raise funds for. So this was, it was very important
because it was a huge support for replacement of instruments, replacement of equipment
for the theater programs, for music programs. – Band uniforms. – Right, and band uniforms
became part of that, so… – Oh, the band uniforms
were part of the mill levy? – Yes.
– Right. So now the band uniforms are on a scheduled replacement cycle. The other thing that
happened was really important for the Music Department
was the establishment of the William and
Lillian Doly Trust Fund. William and Lillian Doly
were Vice Presidents with I guess what was at the
time First National Bank. They didn’t have any children and they wanted to support
arts in the school, particularly music programs. So they established a trust fund of which the interest from that goes, part of that goes to the Albuquerque Public
Schools Fine Arts Office for use to support music programs. So, that funded things like trips to the symphony for
the fourth and fifth grades to go hear live music at Poltra Hall, the mentoring program
for secondary teachers, establish a mentoring program. We have paid mentors to help them survive the first three years of teaching. (laughing) Which is really important. – Yes it is.
– Mentoring supports professional development for classroom teachers
and arts integration. Those type of things. So it was a huge, it was a nice benefit to have, to have those funds available. – I was there during those days and talk about why those
instruments need to be replaced. I mean on a yearly basis. – Well, you know, they get used a lot.
– They do. – The life span of an instrument at best in public schools is ten years. – [Mark And Gina] At best (laughing). – When it’s used every day and sometimes by multiple students. I remember teaching at Sandy High School where my tubas were 35 years old. And they had metal fatigue, you know. You just had to be really careful, ’cause if you pushed at the wrong place it would just dent and bend. – Weather, marching band, the whole– – Yeah, weather, the marching band, everything it’s just, they just need to be replaced. If you want the kids to have
a really good experience in, then they have to have good equipment. – And if you stop by our
instrument repair shop, they have a nice little
shelf of all of the things they’ve pulled out of
some brass instruments. – I remember while I was
teaching at Los Alamos, a sousaphone wasn’t working right. And we finally got into the bottom of it. There was a Bible.
(laughing) You know, the military used
to have the small Bibles. Yeah, there was a Bible down inside the sousaphone.
(laughing) – I should take a picture of the shelf with the water bottles and stuffies. – Well, Ron, we’ve talked about the fine arts and the schools and people doing amazing
work now, in the past. But, talk to our parents and our listeners about why it’s so important. – Yes, so I think one of the things that we
need to get established, and the Fine Arts Department
has made a lot of progress in, is establishing that the
fine arts are fundamental. That, everybody involved, school boards and principals
especially realize that, indeed, fine arts are fundamental. It is as important to have a fine arts program have the choices of general education as well as skilled education in every school available
for every student. Because I think we’ve
hit on it a little bit, we had site-based administration
has kept some of that from happening that not
everyone administrating realizes that indeed every
child must have available a fine arts education. And so, we’ve gone through some times when it was considered, “Well, it’s more
important for this student to have extra education in math than to be in band, orchestra or chorus, so we’ll just taken
them out of that class.” – Let me stop you there for a
minute, because the thinking, correct me if I’m wrong, from parents and people I’ve
talked to in my experience is that, “Well, it’s just more important.” “I don’t want my kid to be a musician.” “Where they gonna draw all day.” – [Ron] Yeah, well, the reason, the practical reason for establishing that with parents is that all of us who’ve taught these
fine arts classes realize that one of the main reasons their child is coming to
school is to be involved in those fine arts classes. That’s why they are there every day. They’re there at six in the morning whether they’re sick or
not to take place in band, in chorus, in orchestra, in drama, in choir and the arts classes. That’s why that student comes every day. And yeah… – Well, the other thing why it’s important is because we’re
educating the whole child. Not just the left brain or the right brain part of the child. We’re educating the whole child
so that they have a sense of their emotional growth as
well as their physical growth and their intellectual growth. And the arts are are
really important to help accomplish all three of those areas. Arts are good for students. It helps them grow in every area. It helps them with interpersonal skills, it helps them with work skills, because it teaches all of those things that the students need to be able to be successful in society. So, to have an education without arts is maleducation in my opinion. – [Mark] That’s right. – [Ron] We’ve gotta
sell the Mozart effect. It’s called the Mozart effect because everybody realizes that the involvement in music affects everything else a child does. – You know, when I was very active in the field, Goals 2000 under Bill Clinton, the arts were part of the core. Under No Child Left
Behind with the Bush era, the arts were part of the core. This was defined at the federal
level in educational policy. In Obama’s Race to the Top, the arts were part of the core curriculum. They were all defined
there in those policies. It’s just that somewhere
in the translation into the state and the local level, sometimes that message got lost. – It gets clouded. – Yeah. – Well, everything we’ve
talked about so far is defined and put into place, and you will hear from the students, ’cause you will hear I
went out to several schools and they had comments about exactly what we’ve
been talking about. We’re gonna take a break here
for a minute and come back. We’re gonna visit LBJ Middle School first, and
we’ll be right back with that. – You are listening to
the APS Open Book Podcast and our topic today is
Fine Arts in Our Schools. We have Gina Risinski,
Fine Arts Director for APS. Luis Delgado, music educator, retired Fine Arts Director. Ron Lipke, our music educator, mentor and legendary teacher
around our district here. We were talking about
teaching the whole student, and we’re gonna go out
to LBJ Middle School, the orchestra out there, and we’re gonna listen to some comments from the student there
and Karen Schindwolf, the orchestra teacher. What made you start
playing in the orchestra? – [Student] In sixth
grade they had a class, I believe it was called
music appreciation. And in there they were
learning to play the ukulele and I learned how to play
that string instrument. I was like, “Well, might
as well play orchestra.” And it turned out great and I love it. – [Mark] Did you ever think about this in elementary school that
you would be in orchestra? – [Student] Probably not, I didn’t even know what
orchestra was in elementary. – [Mark] Like in fifth grade or, you never even knew. – [Student] No, I didn’t
even know what is was. – [Mark] But you’re glad
you made the choice? – [Student] Yeah, I’m
glad I made the choice. – [Mark] So you’re an eighth grader right? – [Student] Yes. – [Mark] You’ve been
playing for three years? – [Student] I’ve been playing
for two years actually, I started last year. – [Mark] Oh okay, very good. Do you think you’ll
play up at high school? – [Student] More than likely yeah. I put it on my registration card, so. – [Mark] Absolutely, and it’s a part of your whole
body and being now is it? – [Student] Yeah. – [Mark] What do you get out of music? – [Student] Like to me, it gives me a type of feeling, kind of. So like if… That’s basically when I think of music, I think it’s there to give
you a feeling almost, yeah. – [Mark] It’s uplifting. – [Student] Yeah, it’s kind of… You understand music in a different way when you actually play an instrument. – [Mark] Very good, yeah. What would you tell an
incoming sixth grader that’s trying to make a decision? – [Student] Follow what you wanna do and try something new. And if join orchestra be
confident and practice a lot– – [Mark] Yeah, let’s talk
about confidence for a minute. Doesn’t it give you that? – [Student] It does give
you a sense of confidence, especially like as a sixth
grader I was very shy, I didn’t have many friends. And as I started to play music
it kinda gave me a little more confidence, yeah.
(jazz music) – [Mark] Tell us, tell
the audience why should fine arts, orchestra,
music be in the schools. – [Teacher] I can’t think
of anything more personal or more human than music. And music is a language all of its own, just like English or Spanish and it’s a way of communicating
to people who you are and what you believe in. And I’m so glad that
our fine arts department is gonna extend that so that more elementary
school kids can do it. ‘Cause who doesn’t love to sing? Oh my gosh! And then… Just to see students
when they fall in love with an instrument and love to play it, it chokes me up lots of times. Just to see students this age
performing what they can do and giving it their all and just loving it and sharing that creativity with me. It’s just, it’s what gets me up in the morning. – [Mark] I know, I’m right there with you. – [Teacher] Yeah. – [Mark] I’m a parent and I got a new kid coming into school. I don’t have a lot of money, I’m worried about them being
at the school by themselves. Reassure me. – [Teacher] The schools
all have instruments that the students can borrow. So they don’t have to worry about money. There might be a few peripherals, but the schools can always help with that because we want to get every
single student that we can involved in music. Because we know that
music fires the brains, the brain in different ways
that doesn’t happen just alone or just in an English class
or just in a math class. So we want to engage that with every student that we possibly can. And so, the music teachers do
everything they possibly can. If a student wants to play an instrument, if they wanna be in choir, we will make sure that happens. – I mean, just out of the mouth of babes. – [Gina] Mhmm. – You know. – You know I think what
both those students touched on a little bit
is the social aspect of being involved in
the fine arts program. That it gives the students
a home within the school, if they can be involved in any
of the fine arts programs… It’s different from being
involved in an academic class. If you’re in a math class,
you’re in a math class. But if you’re in an orchestra, you’re a member of an active group. – [Luis] Right. I love the fact that
she expressed about her, how it gives her feeling. And it talks about
developing the confidence and how she can participate and gives her a sense, an orientation about who she is a person. That personal growth,
– Yeah. really important. – Yeah, I love the comment about you feel, you can feel what you’re
playing and be more involved in the music while you’re
playing than listening, you know. Because I just can’t express, I sit in front of the low brass
section in the band we play and when the trombones
and the tubas come in it’s like, “Whoa!” You just feel it in
your body and your soul. – You know, I’m glad you referenced that. Mark and I both play in and I
conduct a band, New Horizons, in Rio Rancho which is older musicians who learned to play these
instruments when they were nine, ten, eleven years old. And now they are 60 plus, still playing and getting this feeling. And for me conducting up there in front when this 50 piece band opens
up some really nice piece and there’s this glorious sound, everybody there is tingling. It’s what happens. – And if you’re missing a
person not there that day, like your first flute player
or your first clarinet player, I think that’s the other piece
that these kids feel too, especially in middle school. That, “If I’m not there to cover my part, then I’m not disappointing but, they’re gonna notice I’m not there.” “Where, if I don’t show
up to my math class…” And that’s not to say that
no-one would completely notice, but there’s more of a
responsibility and an ownership of, “I need to be there because
they’re counting on me to play my part to make the whole.” That… Need to come to school for that and that engagement when they’re there, I think is really– – Yeah, I wanted to address what Karen Schindwolf
mentioned about creativity, because creativity and looking at it in the broader picture of the arts, creativity is really important
whether it’s through music, or drama or visual arts or dance. Creativity is part of
being human, and again, it’s developing that human side of us.
– Exactly. – Really bringing out creativity, creativity is defined by
Partnership for the 21st Century as one of the essential
skills they look for. Employers look for creativity, they look for the ability to
collaborate and cooperate, to be able to work in a team. Which are all the things that, that you’re talking about here. And so it’s really, really important that whether it’s through visual arts and being able to look at
and interpret something, and if you make a mistake
being able to fix that mistake. – Exactly. – And that’s what
employers are looking for. It’s part of the new
national core arts standards. Creativity is a major strand into, it’s an artistic process
which is keystone. It’s very key to everything
we do in the arts. – Before we got into the podcast, Kevin and I were just talking about just being able to adjust and to deal with problems that come up and to come up with ways to
troubleshoot whatever you have. And that’s music. You’re just responding, you know. And it’s just great, Gina go ahead, – For me, being a performing artist too and raising performing
artists and teaching them, is that creation of the art
in the moment on the stage or at the performance. And things don’t always go right, and you have to fix it in the moment. You know, you don’t get
24 hours to think about, “Okay how will I do this?” So, you have to fix it
in the moment which then, what I see too as a big
piece of it is vulnerability. We’re putting kids out there, you know, playing solo in front of everyone else, playing on a stage where
you can make mistakes and fumble through it. That’s a very vulnerable thing to do and the growth that comes with that. You know, you’re outta
step in the marching band and everyone knows ’cause the
line’s not straight, right. And we just correct
each other and move on, and that builds so much
character to be able to, I mean, student-led, you know, student assessment. Everybody’s constantly, you know, helping their peers
again back to that whole. – Yeah, yeah. – Well let’s move on to
Eldorado High School. And take a listen to this
and comments from there. – [Mark] Why have fine
arts in the schools? What would you say, also, about why APS should have fine arts. – [Student] Well, I mean
I kind of did a report on this last year actually. And I looked at kind of more
the statistical side of things and I noticed how the presence
of a strong fine arts program helped students improve other
scores outside of music, such as math and English, and how they did much better
on standardized testing compared to non-fine arts kids. And I just, that’s kind of been the main reason I’ve been so supportive
of fine arts in schools, is just because I think
that it gives students a chance to thrive and
it also kind of is this small little community in schools where kids are guaranteed to
have at least a friend or, in my case, multiple. – Right.
– So. – [Mark] And like you said, it really gets the brain
moving toward those other subject matters as well. – [Student] Yeah. So, music. If you were talking to a young person coming into sixth grade, let’s say, and doesn’t know what they wanna do, what would you tell them? – [Student] I’d say
really to try everything and kind of find your passion. I really didn’t follow that. I went into band actually
because some of my friends were going into band and I just kinda wanted to stay with them. But, I really found that I
had a true passion for it, and so I think that you really
just need to keep searching until you find that one thing
you have a true passion for and you know that you could
do for the rest of your life and be happy. – [Mark] Speaking of
the rest of your life, so what is the next step for you? – [Student] So I’m going to college. I’m not quite sure where
yet but I’m for sure studying music education.
– Oh, okay. – [Student] And I hope to be a high school band director some day. – [Mark] We’re talking
about fine arts in APS and we’re talking, of course, drama, chorus and the whole shebang. Give us your best commercial for that. – [Teacher] Well, it’s pretty cliche, but I think when you hear people talk about the arts in schools
they’ll say that it’s a necessary part of the school
culture and what have you. And I would agree with that 100%. I believe wholeheartedly that kids need to have arts and other types
of activities at school to keep them going. If it was strictly core
classes then we might not see as many kids on the campus. Band kids are good kids,
– Yeah. – [Teacher] and they
wanna be in these classes. And there are requirements for them to be able to participate in
festivals and competitions and things like that. And one of those requirements
is to have good grades. And so, we preach that quite a bit. You know, in the time
I’ve been here at Eldorado and even my time at Manzano High School, I’ve had many students in the top 10 with a handful of valedictorians. – [Mark] You’re in a rare situation where you came in playing in APS, you’ve gone through the ranks. I just got through
talking to I think it was Jennifer and Zac? And they wanna go into music
education and you did it. And so, tell us first of all, looking back, going into college and
for music education, some of the pitfalls and your
experience going into it. And now you’re doing it for so many years. Tell us a little bit about your journey. – [Teacher] Well, again, I
grew up in the district here. I’m a product of public
school education, of APS. And I’m a believer in the system. I think, you know, there’s lots of negative
things that are put out there just not only about, you know, maybe the school system or
our district or our city or our state, our community, whatever that might be. But… But I don’t, I think if you don’t
have people that believe and that great things can happen
then it’s not gonna happen. So, I had a couple of
very inspiring teachers when I was growing up and that kinda led me to
this path that I’ve taken, and I attended the
University of New Mexico, had some great mentors, you being one of them. For giving me the opportunity
to teach at schools, at various camps which gave me
a lot of teaching experience. And I’ve just been very blessed
to have a culture around me of individuals that care about music and that wanna strive to keep music a part of a
curriculum in our district. And I just, that’s kinda my story… My hope is that, I think in the younger days I was wanting to change the world and I was wanting every
kid to go into music when they graduated out of high school. And that philosophy I think
has changed over the years. And if they go into music, great. If they don’t, if they learned something from
being a part of my program or whatever music program they’re in, and it makes them a better person and a better member of our community to make this world better, then I feel like I’ve
accomplished something. – Pretty powerful. – [Gina] Mhmm. – What I was thinking about is, you know, we have great teachers like Brad Dubbs and how important having
great teachers is. Because I think one of the
things we haven’t addressed yet is that success in music is not affected by
socio-economic background. – [Mark] There you go. – That all of the students can participate at the highest level in music. You know, I taught 14 years at Eldorado, Golden Ghetto as it was
called when I first started. But also, 7 years at
Rio Grande High School in the South Valley. I don’t see the difference in the ability of the students to participate at the
highest level in the arts, whether they are way
down in the South Valley or whether they’re way up in the Heights where they have all the
economic advantages. They can still participate
at the highest levels. But, it’s important that they
have really great teachers. And I think one of the things
he said is about believing. For a teacher to be great, they have to believe
that all of the students that they are addressing are capable of participating at the
highest levels in fine arts. – [Mark] Yeah. – Right. I kinda wanted to talk a little bit about his comment about students’
experiences in the arts in their school and their education. Making them a better person, making the world a better place, and so… My feeling is, you know, there isn’t a
single culture that I know of, and I’m not an anthropologist but I just, that doesn’t do art or doesn’t do music in
any way or shape or form. And the arts are important
to every culture, or… That’s why they’re there. It’s an innate expression of
the humanness of that culture. And likewise the arts inform
us about what’s gone on before. I mean if you look at way back 2000 years, what you know about those cultures pretty much passed on through the arts whether it’s poetry or the
visual art or any of the music or the musical compositions that have come from the different eras. They inform us and so to be
a better member of the world, to have a better
understanding of our world, if we at look at it through the arts, we get the bigger picture
of what’s really going on. And to Ron’s point about opening up doors for you. I grew up in a really
small town in Los Lunas when it was a really small town. You know, one flashing
red light or yellow light that never changed colors. It just flashed all the time. And, you know, I’ve had some amazing
experiences and done some, I mean, for a kid from a really
small town in New Mexico, and some of the things I’ve
done at the national level and at the state level
and leadership positions. And all of that I attribute specifically to my involvement in music. That’s what brought that out in me. That’s what started me on
the road to better academics. It started me on the road to being from an introverted, shy kid to being able to speak to people and… The arts are very powerful, it’s a powerful catalyst
for human development. – Human development, yeah. Gina? – And for me it’s been a very eye-opening, even just listening to the
students and the teachers, so many of us still here in Albuquerque, I’m a product of APS myself and of a single parent in the
’70s who didn’t have money. I did not own my own cello
until I was in college and it too was donated. And all of the great teachers
I had along the way, you know, Art Sheinberg, Ruth Striegel, David Ostrowitz, who I
had the amazing pleasure of getting to introduce as
he was awarded the Gold Bar. I mean, just… And those people are still here, which speaks volumes about Albuquerque and the way we
embrace musicians, whether… I mean, Art Sheinberg gave
me private lessons for free, because that’s his gift
to growing musicians. And he’s still here working with… That we all stay here and we
all still have this community and I know I’ll probably get backlash but, you don’t have a math community like that. You know, where people, for me to sit down and play
a piece next to Art Sheinberg or with David Ostrowitz is to me just– – It’s golden.
– Right. Where else do you get that? Where else? – And it all passes down because, you know, my wife Sandra
was Art Sheinberg’s teacher when he was a very small child
in Los Alamos (laughing). – [Gina] That I didn’t know! To hear us all say we
came through, you know, APS and this phenomenal community of artists and
musicians and this town forever, years and years. – And it continues, that’s
the important thing. Pass the baton. Let’s go to Hoover Middle School. And this just bouldered me over, because I told Dale, the teacher there. You know, as a band director, for me anyway, speaking for myself, I lived in this tunnel
of just band, you know. And whether the chorus or
the drama was going on, oh my goodness, the amazing things that’s
going on over there at Hoover. If you don’t know, go by and check out Hoover
and Eldorado drama program. Let’s take a listen. Okay, we’re here at Hoover Middle School. And Avery,
– Yeah. Avery, I got it right? How you doing? – [Avery] I’m doing good. – [Mark] Good, so Avery, what grade are you in? – [Avery] I’m in eighth grade. – [Mark] Eighth grade, very good. Three years, moving on to high school. – [Avery] Yep. (laughing) – [Mark] There you go. How long have you been in drama? – [Avery] I’ve been in drama since the fifth grade.
– Wow! – [Avery] Yeah. – [Mark] What school
was that in fifth grade? – [Avery] In fifth grade I was at Osuna. I heard about a drama program
and I ended up working with MTS, Musical Theater Southwest. – [Mark] Now at fifth
grade you got into drama. What got you into that at that age? – [Avery] Well, a lot of my family has done drama-like things, and so my aunt introduced me to a Little Mermaid audition
– Oh wow! – [Avery] that was happening. So that’s how I really started it and I’ve done 10 shows
since in community theater. – [Mark] Talk to that student
that is nervous, worried, never been on stage. What do you think? – [Avery] I think if
you take a deep breath and go over what you need to know, you really will be fine. And tons of people say get no’s all the time with auditions, but when you get that yes it’ll feel great and you’ll be really confident
about your next work. – [Mark] What do you get out of drama? – [Avery] I get, I become
really happy and I get to make a lot of friends that are like me, that loves theater and stuff. But it also has helped my education in which I’m more
excited to come to school because I have drama to look up to. – [Mark] You know, some of the
other students I’ve talked to have said similar things like that. It’s what brings them to school. Do you feel any benefits
toward your other classes? – [Avery] Yes, especially English. In English I’ve read a
bunch of Shakespeare books, just because theater is my thing. And so I’ve gotten a lot
of different literature due to scripts and stuff from theater. – [Mark] Drama and fine
arts in the school. Do you think it’s important? – [Avery] I think it’s very important. Some kids go through so
much at home that they need something to come to
school to and be happy and enjoy in life.
(jazz music) – What are they working on?
(students rehearsing) – [Teacher] Alright, so
this is a scene called The Case for Two Spies. It’s kind of a spoof of a spy series. In the beginning we start
off with a traditional spy and then they reset and they
do it with a more modern spy. And just how to solve a
weird, bizarre mystery. It’s a fun performance piece. – [Mark] I heard you off script, off mics talk about ad libbing or not going with the script. Tell us a little bit about that. – [Teacher] Well what I was referring to, I was telling the students that I wanted to challenge them today to not be on script in a rehearsal, but I wanted to be very
clear with them that that didn’t mean they were
just making it up altogether. And not just completely
going askew from the script, but instead challenging
themselves not to need the script so that they can truly get into character, have reaction, have expression and really be focused on what their character is going through. – [Mark] So they have to,
and correct me if I’m wrong, they have to stay in the
content of the storyline… – [Teacher] Correct. – [Mark] But they can modify
the lines a little bit. – [Teacher] At this
point in rehearsal, yes, because they’re just trying to get the feel for the character, what the character’s going through and then as we finish the rehearsal, (teacher drowned out by
shouting in rehearsal) – [Mark] We’re talking to Dale
here at Hoover Middle School, the drama teacher. How long have you been here? – [Dale] This is my 10th year at Hoover. – [Mark] And you’re a product of APS. – [Dale] I am. – [Mark] Tell us a little bit about that. – [Dale] I went through Apache Elementary to Kennedy Middle School
and Manzano High School. – [Mark] Alright, who did you have for drama in those schools? – [Dale] The only drama
education I got was at Manzano with Paula Stein who is a living legend in the APS drama world. She retired in 2008 which
was about the same year that I was becoming a drama teacher. – [Mark] Talk about drama
in the public schools. What does it offer to the kids? – [Dale] It offers an outlet, it offers an experience, it offers activity. Things that school
students are desperate for. – [Mark] Yes. Some way to express themselves and to work together to
accomplish something. There’s nothing more exciting than the opening day of the show, when you get to look out and
see 40 or so middle schoolers who have all worked together
to accomplish something. And they get the payoff and they get the audience recognition and everybody gets to see how
amazing middle school students can be when they’re
working towards something. – [Mark] Talk a little
bit about your program. What have you got here, numbers? – [Dale] Well, we’ve got a
really good program going. We’ve got three different
levels of drama education. Sixth grade Drama, Drama 1 and Drama 2. We offer an all-year-long Drama Club. We go to the George Nason
Drama Showcase Festival every November where we
perform on level or above level with a lot of the high
school programs around. And we get fives, excellent
reviews every time. We do a yearly spring play. We’ve just finished our play
this year which is called “Life is like a Double Cheeseburger.” – [Mark] I love that title. – [Dale] We got to see
a lot of great stuff. You know, the “Life is
like a Double Cheeseburger” we were only about the 17th
group to ever perform that play. – [Mark] Wow. – [Dale] It’s a brand new play that just got released like in August. – [Mark] Wow, yeah. That’s amazing. You love what you do, I can see it in your face. – [Dale] I totally do, I have the best job in all of APS. Getting to come teach drama
every day to middle schoolers who are just ready to experience things and ready to show what all they can do. They keep me on my toes, they keep me guessing, but I find that if I let them go with it and I let them experience
their theater education, they get a lot out of it and
they teach me a lot as well. – [Mark] Last question. I’m a parent, I’ve got my kid going into middle school. I’m worried. What will you or drama give to my kids getting into this kind
of program as we go in? – [Dale] It will give a lot. Number one, it will give
them a sense of purpose. A reason to show up. They get to work with their
friends building something. Theater is all about constructing stories, constructing events. Whether they’re interested in
technical theater or acting, there’s stuff that they can do. There is a reason they
can show up every day that’s gonna allow them
to demonstrate themselves. I’m a very shy person in my everyday life, but you put me in a drama room and I have no problem
talking as much as I want. When I started doing drama in 9th grade, it brought me out of my shell really well. And it brought me into what I should do. So if you have somebody
who’s going to be… A kid who’s gonna be a sixth grader, they should be looking for
things like drama opportunities because regardless of what they wind up doing in their lives, they’re gonna need to
be able to speak clearly and confidently to a group of people. And that’s my number one
focus in drama classes. – [Mark] And don’t we,
in real life as adults, we put on a face in front of people, the public, all the time? – [Dale] We do, we do. We are improvisers at heart. Nobody writes our daily script. We don’t know what to say
at any moment in time. We’re gonna come across situations where we have to really
quickly assess what’s going on and figure out how to respond. And drama helps you understand that. – [Mark] That’s good teaching out there. – [Gina] Mhmm. – Well he said it all, a reason to show up. – That’s it. It really is and– – Well, you know, the good teaching is, once again, it’s the legacy from George
Nason to Paula Stein to Dale. I mean, this drama connection putting all these people
together and teaching thousands of students
– Thousands. – across those years. – Yep. – And did you know he’s one of our Apple Distinguished Educators as well? (laughing) – Oh, yes. – Yes, he’s, he’s phenomenal. – Great things. Alright we’re gonna take a quick break and we’ll come back with our last segment. When we come back we’ll go
out to Atrisco High School. – You are listening to
the APS Open Book Podcast. This is Mark Goodrum, your host. And our topic today is the
Fine Arts in Our School. Our guests are Gina Risinski, Fine Arts Director for APS. Luis Delgado, retired music educator and retired Fine Arts Director. Ron Lipke, music educator, mentor and a legendary
teacher in our district. We’re gonna go out to Atrisco High School. Wonderful things with
their Mariachi program. Okay, we’re here at Atrisco High School, who am I talking to? – [Female Student] Lucy Lozano. – [Male Student] Guillermo Palacios. – [Mark] Okay, great, and you all are in the Mariachi band. – [Lucy And Guillermo] Yes. – [Mark] What grade are you in? – [Lucy] I’m a senior in high school. – [Guillermo] Junior in high school. – [Mark] Talk about why
you got in the program. – [Lucy] At first it was an accident. I accidentally was put in the program because they didn’t have, they had spots to fill. And then my first year
I picked up the violin and I really, really, I really loved it. So ever since then I’ve been coming back to the class and learning. – [Mark] You started as a freshman? – [Lucy] No, I started off as a sophomore. – [Mark] Oh, sophomore? – Yeah, so I
– Oh, wow. – [Lucy] I started pretty late. – [Mark] Okay, what about you? – [Guillermo] The same
thing happened to me, I was accidentally put in the class. I actually wanted to drop it. Yeah, I wanted to drop the class because I just didn’t
see any purpose in it. But, again, I came back sophomore year, I started my freshman year. It’s just what we love to do now. – [Mark] And you’ve used the word purpose. Tell me about it, I mean, do you see a purpose now? – [Guillermo] Yes. I think… We’ve been taking a lot of steps, we’ve been progressing a lot as a group. And the purpose of it is
just to become the voice of many people. – [Lucy] I feel like we’ve made a change, because before, Mariachi wasn’t
really known around here. And we were the ones
to kind of go out there and expand it and play everywhere in town. And we actually played at
Mariachi Spectacular, which was the very first time.
– We made history. – [Lucy] Like we made
history being the first high school students to play from here. ‘Cause the conference is held here but, no-one’s ever competed here besides us. – Really?
– Yeah. – [Mark] When was that? – Last, just last summer.
– Last summer. – [Lucy] So we’re competing
this summer in July as well. – [Mark] I can hear the enthusiasm. – Yeah, we’re so excited!
– Yeah, we’re super excited! – [Mark] That’s great. Talk about what it
means to you personally, the music, the culture, the whole nine yards. – [Lucy] I feel like I can
express myself in the music, to my family. My culture is really
represented with that. I feel like people really just
know me because of Mariachi, because that’s how I define myself – Right, right on.
– with the aesthetic and the clothes and the music. – [Mark] It’s you! – [Lucy] Yeah, it’s me! It defines me and some
people may think like, oh you must have more but that’s how I define myself
– No right on! – [Lucy] with the music. – [Mark] That’s what we have to do, is find who we are. And music helps us do that. – [Lucy] Yeah, it really does. It’s a different feeling when
you start playing the violin and then you bring it all
together with the group. You’re just like, mesmerized. You’re like, “We can do this.” Like, we’ve done this and people, like I’ve seen people cry
sometimes when we’re playing. It’s beautiful. – [Guillermo] Mariachi has a
very special place in my heart. It just makes me, it makes me happy that
I get to play the music that my parents listen to,
– Absolutely. – [Guillermo] that my whole
family has listened to. I sometimes talk to my grandma in Mexico and she’s just super happy that
I’m wearing the trajes and, (laughing) Yeah, it’s just become like a passion. – [Mark] Sure. – [Guillermo] Like I
said, we become the voice of so many people and
it’s just I think a place where I feel like I fit in. Because high school is
such a crazy mess out there and when I come in here I feel safe and I feel
– You’re home. – [Guillermo] Yeah, it’s
like I’m with family. My whole group has become my family, my second family too. – [Mark] And the one
word that comes to mind as I hear you talk is pride. – [Lucy] Yeah, we’re very prideful. – [Guillermo] When we wear
the trajes and we go anywhere, people will just, even you know, they just stare at us and we’re just like, “Okay.” We feel proud being able
to wear trajes, you know, being able to stand on that stage and sing in front of so many people. It’s just a whole other feeling. – [Lucy] Like at the
beginning it was crazy, because we were, I guess you could say a little bit shy and embarrassed, because people at first we’re
looking at us weird, like, “What’s the Mariachi band
doing here, why are they here?” – [Mark] It was different. – [Lucy] Who are they? – [Guillermo] Like at assemblies they wouldn’t even pay attention to us and now we’re the main
attraction (laughing). – [Lucy] Everyone’s like, “Oh my gosh!” And screaming everyone’s names, ’cause a lot of our students are really, really good students. – Involved.
– Educated and involved, top ten. Like they’re involved so that
also attracts students, like, “Oh, the Mariachi students
are good students.” You know, we’re not
really bad kids and stuff. We may have a couple, but– (laughing) – [Guillermo] You know me. – [Lucy] But it’s cool
to see how people have– – [Guillermo] Changed the perspective of what Mariachi really is. – Absolutely.
– Yeah. And began to like us a lot more. (jazz music) – [Mark] Mrs Gonzalez, here at, well, being formal. – Okay.
(laughing) – [Mark] Here at Atrisco
High School, how are you? – [Mrs Gonzalez] I’m good thank you. – [Mark] Thank you so much
for letting me come in. So tell us about the Mariachi class. – [Mrs Gonzalez] We have… Full time high school Mariachi. It’s the only full time
high school in Albuquerque. It started out 10 years ago with our Spanish teacher, Robert Espinoza. He was a member of… Los Tigres in… Taos. He’s gonna kill me for
not remembering that. So then, he had a great time in Mariachi in high school then. So he wanted to bring it
here so he started a club. So it was an after school club, and so popular it ended up becoming a class you could register for
as part of modern languages. – [Mark] How long ago was that? – [Mrs Gonzalez] This
was about 10 years ago, when it first started. And then one year they had a class with over 60 kids enrolled. So they knew that it was popular and they had to do something about it. So that’s when they made
it a full time program. And now we have 137 kids enrolled. Three beginning classes, intermediate and advanced that competes. – [Mark] Wow, unbelievable. That’s beautiful. Talk a little bit about the music, the culture and just
having the kids involved. – [Mrs Gonzalez] What’s
interesting about this class is it offers beginning instruction in music at the high school level
which is very unique. And then you add in the fact that it is culturally
responsive to the students here. This population of school has close to 90% Mexican
American heritage. So, it really speaks to the school, I think that’s why it’s been so popular. – [Mark] Absolutely. – [Mrs Gonzalez] So we
have students who either were in band or orchestra
as middle school students that didn’t quite fit with their culture. And then they have another opportunity to continue their music education. And I’ve seen kids
really flourish with the achievement that they get
from learning an instrument at a high school level. Number one, it’s faster for
them because they’re older. And number two, they’re learning music that their family at home recognize. So when they go home and they play “Allá en el Rancho Grande,” like, “I know that!” – [Mark] Exactly. – [Mrs Gonzalez] And then the
parents come to the concerts and we have a packed 500 capacity. It’s always packed. It’s always plenty of people there. So there’s a lot of pride in it from the students and myself
and the administration. Everybody really supports it. And the best part about it is
the Bilingual Seal program. They recommend students take
Mariachi for their fine arts. Either this or Baile Folklorico. So that we have students that are working toward
their Bilingual Seal and that in this class
we typically do the class in both languages.
– Oh wow. – [Mrs Gonzalez] So if you
look at all the anchor charts and word walls, we’re teaching the words
in English and in Spanish. Yeah so, that is really unique. A lot of people who visit the class say, “I didn’t know that a
treble clef was called la clave de sol, that’s real interesting.” So everybody learns a little bit about it so the goal for this class is
that they continue playing. So the skills they learn here, whether they just gonna
get a guitar after dinner and play some folk songs for their family or play in church. But… We just had 12 seniors that are graduating this year and that’s a pretty big
number for a music class. ‘Cause most seniors don’t have to have their fine arts credit. There are 12, that’s a big number. And all those 12 are
saying they’re gonna join the UNM Mariachi, (speaking in Spanish). THey’re gonna continue there, and a lot of them said they
wanna start their own groups. – [Mark] That’s great. – [Mrs Gonzalez] And that’s, that’s the legacy that
this class is gonna do. We pump 100 musicians
out into the community every year or so, the whole
city is gonna be better for it. – [Mark] You’ve only been
here for two years, you say? – [Mrs Gonzalez] It’s my second year, yes. – [Mark] Do you love it? – [Mrs Gonzalez] I have the best job, well there’s no other music
profession other than– (speakers drown each other out) There’s nothing else seeing
a student start at nothing and then just be able a scale in tune. It gives me tingles just to
work with these kids doing that. And then Mariachi is my passion. This is my dream job. I remember… Let’s see, fift– I’m gonna say how old I am! Fifteen years ago I was
in a music ed program, saying I wanna teach Mariachi education. And that panel of teachers
said, “You’re nuts!” “That’s not a thing, you can’t do it!” And so it was always my dream. I knew that some day I was
gonna be able to do it. And after teaching band and orchestra, elementary music, choir, I worked my way up and
the opportunity came and I was a willing participant. And it’s the hardest job I ever had, but it’s the most satisfying
at the end of the day. And I think I pulled about
a 70 hour week last week with senior banquet and senior concert. And I came back the next
day ready to do it again. That’s how you know it. I’m pretty sure that’s, I mean it’s my second
year here but I think I got another 30 or so years in me. So they’re gonna have
to wheel me outta here. (laughing) Yep, they’re gonna have to tap my shoulder when the concerts are over
’cause I have no hearing. But I’m still gonna do it. – Pride and culture. – Wow! – Yes. – There’s so much I could say about that. I mean, those, the two students and yeah
the pride and culture, and just that connection, you know, when he talks about his
grandmother and how proud she is that he’s wearing the trajes
and playing music of their… Yeah, there’s just so much… And I do wanna say also that this is the, without the bond passing, it’s these students in
particular that I think about, because we didn’t buy
instruments for students now this year the APS has
swept the money to a pool to reallocate it. These are the students I think of, because we do buy those trajes and we buy those specialty instruments, the guitarróns and the
vihuelas and that’s, that’s not happening now. And they’re the ones, and then to hear them talk
like that and think, “Ah!” The other thing I wanna say here too about Carolina, the director, is there is no particular
Mariachi curriculum. She has written one and it’s a mixture of very traditional kinds
of things and then very standard space also. – [Ron] And you know, she had
to overcome the disrespect of many other teachers
who had the same kind of tunnel vision that Mark has talked about. Having, you know, tunnel
band and orchestra. And Carolina had to overcome
that to become accepted as a Mariachi teacher. – You know, I’m so glad that that program is really blossoming at that school. I pushed to try and get
Mariachi reintroduced into public schools when I
was Director of Fine Arts. It was very hard to get it going. I mean, they have a huge
full arts stream program in a lot of the Texas schools, especially along the boarder. And Las Vegas has Mariachi
at all of its high schools. California they’re really
in all the schools there, but here where we have, here in Albuquerque it just
didn’t seem to take off. And so it was important
to kinda get that started. And I’m hoping it gets
replicated in other schools in the district. – [Mark] Absolutely, I
love the comment about, when she talked about the students that just didn’t find a
home in those other areas but then came to the Mariachi and that was where they found it. And that’s what it’s all about. – Yeah, music programs
have a tendency to do that. They create a home for the students that meet the needs of those students, whether it’s the guitar program, Mariachi program, steel drum program, all of which are in the
schools at this point. They find the students that are attracted to those particular forms of music. – And I’d like to speak to that as well, because having been a cellist, you know, fourth grade on. When I discovered Mr O. He actually discovered
me in a practice room where I shouldn’t have been. It was, you know, that’s where I felt that bit of I didn’t have private lessons, I wasn’t gonna be first
chair in the orchestra. But in guitar it was different. We didn’t sit by how, you know, good we played the guitar or, it was a very different way and that’s where I started
feeling very comfortable. Which then made me appreciate
and stay also in orchestra. I found my family in both of those. The structure, you know, the more kind of traditional. And then the more… – Relaxed.
– Yes, and folk and family and yeah. So it’s not always, “Band is for everyone” or “Choir is for everyone,” or, but all within that, that connection is the music. – Out of the mouth of babes. One of the students said,
“Find your passion.” And then APS provides that
a lot of times in fine arts. Well, our last school, we’re gonna go out to Grant Middle School, my alumni where I retired from. And we have two programs
we’re gonna take a listen to. First one and we’ll come
back and talk about that one and then we’ll finish up with the chorus. The first one is going
to be the visual arts, the art class at Grant Middle School. – [Student] Well, art has
actually changed my life a lot. ‘Cause a lot of my family
members actually know how to sketch or draw very well. I can tell how they’re
feeling and what they’re doing and how positive they are. And then some moments I
usually take what they have and I would usually try
to sketch what they have and I’d usually draw patterns around it. I would usually do zig-zags, squares, circles. – [Mark] Cool. – [Student] something like that. And I’ll just add a little shading to it. Add different things to it. That’s what it really did and it really took a change
in my life most of the times. ‘Cause some hard times that
I had I would usually just pick up my drawing pad. And I would usually just write patterns, how I’m feeling, what I’m doing. And usually when I’m usually mad, I would just draw like
aggressive patterns. But I’d still like do them perfectly, because there’s certain patterns like triangles, squares, circles, that would express how I’m feeling.
– How you’re feeling. – [Student] Yeah. – [Mark] So, you have
a lot of background on APS and the fine arts and… Talk to the audience a
little bit about that. Why in the world do I need to
have fine arts in a school? – [Teahcer] Yeah, well
fine arts is an easy way to show your expressions of how you feel. – [Mark] Right. – [Teahcer] Unfortunately, a
lot of these kids don’t know that I have some training
in interpreting their art. And I can identify some of their feelings and maybe even report them to a counselor. So, if I have certain
kids using a certain type, I never reveal, what the type’s I’m looking for or that would give me an alert, because some kids just
like to act out and say, “Look at me, I’m doing this,” or whatever. Art is important in as
far as two dimensional art that we mostly do, we do some sculpture as well, but it’s important in every
aspect of every class. The way that they present their writing. The way they may present a
powerpoint on the computer. Everything relates to art. In middle school we go through quickly, we do a lot of things but we
do a short amount of time. And then in the high school, they might spend the whole semester, the whole year on just
drawing or just clay or just photography. So as they get older
they get more of a focus. In elementary school they
have very structured lessons, but again, like my lessons they have a lot of chance for creativity. But in the middle school the
thing I focus on the most is to allow each child to be
successful and feel successful. And if they follow my directions, (laughing) if they follow the directions
on taking the photograph, copying it four times on the film, adding the background, it looks good. And I learned that, in my college I have a
Master’s of Art Education, that if you give a kid
a formula for success, they’ll feel better. And they can be as creative as they want within that formula. But any child can have a
product that looks good. – [Mark] Being successful, doesn’t it, I mean, everyone can find
a spot in the fine arts and be successful and feel
that accomplishment. – We’re just kind of wrapping up our art show season that’s been
going on since February when we opened the Metro
art show this year. Which is high school
and middle school art. We’re just getting ready to take down our elementary art show
which has been hanging at the State Fair for several weeks. And then we had another impromptu show at the opening of the new facility, Berna Facio training center. And… It’s been very interesting to
follow some of these students. To see their artwork year after year and having seen it as
an elementary student and then in the Metro
show as a middle schooler and then, now as a high schooler. And it goes back. To me, looking when I walk
through it’s that same piece that I spoke of before, about the vulnerability. And overcoming that fear of
putting your work out there. And having something so personal be, well, for lack of a better term, judged by people to either like it or not. That’s what our teachers do too, is they give those students
that confidence and that, you know, that little
nudge to hang that artwork and put yourself out there and accept that and be proud of that and own it, yeah. – Yeah I like that Susan
talks about success. So, you take the success
the student experiences in the art classroom and
through the study of the arts, not just visual art but all the arts, you are able to engender success at other levels in particular. The success becomes part of your life, becomes part of what you
contribute to society. It contributes to the creative economy of our city and our state. ‘Cause we do live in
a very artistic place. So, I think that it’s really important that people recognize that
the arts are everywhere and they are part of our everyday life. And that it’s a big influence. Everything from architecture
to the color of buildings to how things are designed
and the function of things, to how we entertain or
entertain ourselves. All this is really arts-based
and so it’s important that the kids have that exposure and that knowledge in the arts world, in the arts media in order
for them to be successful. – [Mark] Alright let’s finish up at, at Grant Middle School with the chorus. Chorus is back at Grant Middle School and we’re so excited about that. And your name, I’m sorry? – [Student] Is Kiara. – [Mark] Kiara and… – [Other Student] Crystal. – [Mark] Crystal, alright. Nice to meet you. So you’re in the chorus at
Grant Middle School, Kiara? – [Kiara] Yes. – [Mark] And tell us about that, how do you like it? – [Kiara] I feel like choir
helps a lot of people. When you walk in the door
you kinda get a happy mood. You’re kinda ready to go and
sing and talk to your teacher and warm up and everything. Especially since we’re like a team, and we’re supposed to be a
team and singing together. And I feel like choir’s a very good- – [Mark] Gets the endorphins going. – [Kiara] Yeah, yeah. – [Mark] You can’t come in and be bored, is that right? – [Kiara] Yeah, you can’t
come in and be bored, ever. ‘Cause if you are, your teacher’s like, you can’t do that. (laughing) – [Mark] She’s in your ear yelling at you. That’s good, that’s good. Give me your name. – [Student] Crystal. – [Mark] Crystal, nice
to meet you Crystal. So, tell me about your experience. – [Crystal] My experience
so far with choir, it’s really fun and it helped me kind of break out of my shell from
not really wanting to sing in front of people. – Wow.
– And now I can, which is great. – [Mark] Wow, that stirs a thought. Tell me about that, how did it do that? You said you were sorta in a shell? – [Crystal] So pretty
much in seventh grade I wasn’t very open about singing in front of a bunch of people, until towards the end of the school year and like this year towards the end where I just completely opened up and was able to sing in
front of people more, instead of kind of just mumbling stuff – Right.
to myself. – [Mark] Does that help you
in other parts of your life? – [Crystal] Yeah. – [Mark] What about you, tell me your name again. – [Kiara] Kiara. – I’m an old man Kiara.
(giggles) – [Mark] So, do you
think this has helped you in other parts of your life, Kiara? – [Kiara] Socially, yes. ‘Cause like Crys said, we kind of open up more and you’re supposed to be all out there. So after you leave this class
you’re pretty much crazy in the hallways and
you’re singing your part and you’re remembering and, it’s helped me socially.
– Sure. And you stirred a thought in my mind. If you could take yourself
ahead in the future, looking for jobs, don’t you think that will help you? – [Kiara] Oh yeah, choir makes you social and I think it could
possibly help you get a job. And like, be open more. – [Mark] Okay, so now Crys, tell us you got a student
coming in as a fifth grader. Never, you know, of course first year
going into middle school and talk a little bit
about why they may choose to go into chorus. – [Crystal] Some of them
may choose to go into choir to probably help out
their singing a bit more. I know some people
who’ve wanted to do that. And then they’ll probably do
it to break their stage fright. – [Mark] Sure. Deanna Amend! How are you? – [Deanna] Mark Goodrum! Fine thank you, how are you? – [Mark] Doing well. Fine arts, music, APS, students. How important is it? – [Deanna] Oh my goodness, it’s so important. You know, we need to
educate the entire child. The whole child. I hear a lot, I heard this morning that
they’re honoring STEM students with some kind of a
reception or signing day. And I thought, how sad
that it’s not STEAM. You know, because we
ought to be celebrating our students who are going into the arts as well as a vocation, really. That’s a wonderful thing. I think it gives them a chance
to be their whole people. They are beyond just the
testing material that they have, I’m sure. And this is testing season
so I’m thinking about that. But, I was not the kind of kid
who really excelled at math. I was okay in science and
I was good in English, but where I came to life
was when we could sing or when we on the stage doing musicals or in show choir or in all-state auditions and accessing wonderful, wonderful music that changed my life. I see that for kids these days too, they will tell us just
looking at this piece of music that asked me to think about other people or to bring peace. Or… To think outside of myself. That changed my life, so we’re hearing that. We’re hearing that all over the place that this is important to them. And it’s changing their
cultural responsiveness, it’s really cool what we’re
able to do with kids and music. Particularly in choir. But everywhere. – [Mark] Talk a little
bit about that choir. – [Deanna] Oh, gosh. Oh, well I am the middle
school choir resource teacher for APS now which is great. That means I’ve moved out
of an everyday classroom and into all of these 28 classrooms where we’ve installed at least
a 0.5 choir music teacher at middle schools. – It’s been a struggle.
– It has, because five years ago we had six
middle school choir programs. But our Fine Arts Office, especially under the
direction of Gina Risinski, our Fine Arts Director, they’ve really valued what we do and so they’re reinvigorating
these programs, putting great musicians out there. Many of those teachers share two schools, like Mrs Rayder does. – [Mark] Mrs Rayder come on over. – [Deanna] She shares, she is shared between two schools. And so I get the chance to see her at a couple of different places. But I go in and I’m a resource, so sometimes I play the piano. Like I was able to help
and assist with Grant at the music performance assessment. I get to know the kids and just help them any way I can. – [Mark] We have Megan here, how are you? – [Megan] I’m great, how are you? – [Mark] Oh, we’re doing good. Talk a little bit about your relationship with your mentor here and also– – [Megan] She is. She is my mentor and has been
since I started my career. I started at Desert Ridge Middle School and Deanna was heading
back to the classroom. And she was at Eisenhower and
she took me under her wing and I’ll never forget she, one of the first major
things she taught me was how to program for… program for rep and
especially for festival. And, you know, she kinda taught me you
had to have three pieces diverse in nature and
one had to be, you know, lyrical and I always remember it as like, lyrical and lovely, and then one had to be
an old dead white guy. I’m sure Miss Amend did
not say it like that. – [Deanne] No, I think– (laughing and talking drowns out speaker) – [Megan] That’s right, I think she did, you’re right. And then, you know, one had to be kinda cool and X-factor. So I keep that now and I still
utilize what she taught me when I’m choosing and
selecting repertoire. – [Mark] Chorus is back
at Grant Middle School. – [Deanne and Megan] Yay! – [Deanne] Back and better than ever. – [Mark] You’ve been here for two years, talk a little bit about that. – [Megan] Well, I would
say, first and foremost, the school, the staff, the administration are so supportive and that makes it a wonderful place to be. They want chorus to flourish here and you know, that creates an environment where it can. And we are encouraged to participate in all kinds of, like I said, festival. We went to Empath last year and this year and we’re featured at assemblies, they want us to perform, and… I think choir is doing at Grant
what it did for Miss Amend, what it did for me. I went to Hoover and
that is where I first had the choral experience and
it really impacts kids. And it’s sort of this
tried and trued experience that needs to stay, you know. Where kids find themself and
they tap into something that, like she said is different than a screen, is different than testing, is different than multiple choice. – [Mark] I’m a parent. I don’t want my kid to
know how to do this stuff. I don’t know why it’s in the classroom. Change my mind. – [Megan] Oh god, that’s you, I’m taking that to Miss Amend. – [Deanne] Well, I think
there’s no better place for a student to learn about
themselves, number one. They carry their instrument
within themselves. That’s a different thing. So they’re gonna start by
learning about themselves. And I think that would be a
great thing for some students who maybe haven’t tapped into, “Who am I and who can I be?” “Maybe I can move out of what
I think my future’s gonna be to something even greater.” You know, so I think they can just start to learn about themselves to begin with. But then, I think they can also learn that it’s important to
be a part of the group. That it’s important to
get outside of yourself and not just, you know, see beyond the end of your own nose. And know that there’s a world out there that you can affect for good. I really think that’s a way that we can come together as a group. Choir is a, it’s a group activity. It can’t just be solo. You can’t just be the diva star. (laughing) You do have to be a part
of blending and balancing and all of those great
words that we actually use in our vocabulary in choir. Blend and balance and timbre, they way we sound and just the creativity and the
beauty that we can bring. – Be greater than what we think we can be. Closing thoughts, I wanna thank you all for being here, what do you think? – Wow.
– Gina? – It’s a good time. It’s a good time for fine arts in APS. – [Mark] It is. – It always has been, just a little more, seems a little more visible
with the expansion and… the choirs and… the steel bands and the Mariachis. Going, representing at
nation-wide conference here in Albuquerque. Good things are happening
across the board. Our Metro, you know, being on Colotus, yeah. – A lot of people have done
wonderful things in the past and it’s paying off now. And I wanna thank you all so much. – Thank you for having me
as part of this discussion. This has opened my eyes
to the greater things that are happening in the
APS Fine Arts Program. It’s expanded so much to
have something for everybody. – And Ron you’ve been a catalyst, I mean, the foundation of all this. – Well thanks, I hope I’ve contributed something
to changing people’s lives for a long career. And it’s been great, as
I’ve said so many times, as a teacher of music I
never had a boring day. (laughing) – Absolutely. So many others, Luis, Dale Kempter, Jim Bonnell. Just have paved the way. – Yeah, absolutely. Albuquerque has a long
history of providing really good experiences in
the arts for its students. I just remember, you know, going back just at state-wide competitions or state-wide events in Albuquerque’s, the groups that I heard or
that are at the art show. The State Fair, the visual
art work was, you know, just absolutely exemplary. And likewise for the
music performing groups. That compares very well
with what’s going on in the rest of the state. We have a lot of really good teachers, arts teachers in all areas here in APS. I remember watching some of them at the UNM Theater Festival, some of the theater drama performances and just being very, very impressed with what’s going on. The level of education in the
arts is really quite high. – Absolutely, and it’s
been just a blessing to go out to these schools
and listen to the groups and the kids articulate what’s
going on in their hearts and minds and the teachers
and watching the work done. We wanna thank the APS
Media Office, of course. KANW, Kevin Otero that works
the magic here, our producer. And of course, we wanna
thank the listeners that download the podcast. You can find it online, YouTube. So, with that, I will see you next month for
the APS Open Book Podcast. And don’t forget, always keep smiling. – [Male Narrator] This
podcast is produced by Albuquerque Public Schools
and KANW Public Radio. Special thanks to KANW
Program Director, Kevin Otero. Stay tuned for more
meaningful conversation in the months ahead.

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