The Free Press, Mankato, MN


February 15, 2014

Our View: Sing praises of sixth-grade choir

Thumbs up to organizers and supporters of new sixth grade choirs at Franklin and Garfield elementaries.

Franklin teacher Jonathan Shevy got the idea to start a Franklin choir coming from Owatonna where kids had opportunities for choir in sixth grade and earlier. Shevy got the support of the Franklin Parent Teacher Organization who provided funds for a piano player and music.

He already has 50 kids participating in the after school choir, and they’ve performed the National Anthem recently at a Minnesota State University basketball game.

Across town in North Mankato, Garfield teacher Kathy Hopf also has started a sixth-grade choir. About 36 students are participating in the program before school on Wednesday and they’ve performed at some West athletic events. Hopf notes students by sixth grade are ready to learn harmonies and other voice techniques.

Most of the choirs in Mankato school start in junior high, but exposing kids to performance music earlier in their education can do nothing but help those later choir programs with kids who have experience and have honed their singing skills.

Mankato’s music programs are impressive. So getting kids started even a little earlier should make those programs even stronger. The community-building value of a choir can’t be underestimated.

GOP shows courage on debt ceiling

Thumbs up to Republican Speaker of the House John Boehner and Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell for their courageous decisions to move forward on a debt ceiling vote without all the political hijinks that were associated with the last one.

Boehner risked the ire of his Tea Party caucus by simply moving the bill through without lots of politically-motivated amendments. He and his top lieutenants and a couple of dozen other Republicans in the House voted for the measure joining with almost all Democrats to extend the borrowing authority for 13 months.

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