WB music community recognized nationally

From left, Junior Mario Chick, Senior Tessa Wells, Ann McDaniel, Bryan Stehura, Lori McLaughlin, Krista Clay and John Zamarelli. (Submitted photo)

BELOIT — The West Branch Local School District was named one of the Best Communities for Music Education in the country by the National Association of Music Merchants Foundation (NAMM).

Now in its 20th year, the Best Communities for Music Education designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in efforts to provide music access and education to all students. West Branch was the only school district in the tri-county area to receive this award.

At West Branch, students are encouraged to participate in one or more subject areas, including band, choir and theatre. John Zamarelli, high school director of band, choir and theatre programs, said, “We try to work our rehearsal schedules around the athletic schedules to allow our students to have a truly well-rounded, unique experience to use their talents in all our amazing extracurricular activities offered here in West Branch.”

Eighth grade student Ella Scofinsky has been involved with the school’s vocal, instrumental and theatre programs since elementary school. Ella became involved in music because of inspiration from her grandfather, an instrumental music teacher and professional clarinetist.

Ella said, “My love for music has sprouted due to the insane amount of programs offered here. I love every second I spend here, and I’m so proud of the person I’ve become because of the music programs and our teachers.”

West Branch officials said they feel this award is about more than just its teachers and students, but also for the supportive community, which provides volunteers and assistance to the program throughout each school year. The goal of the West Branch music department is to create lifelong lessons and fond memories for all students.

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