There is a lot of music in Keizer.  The Keizer Community Stage Band has grown into an excellent and passionate group of musicians.

The music programs at the high school and middle schools are envied by other schools.  Local groups such as Steelhead attract loyal followers wherever they play.  Keizer is a musical town, it’s one of the facades of the city everyone should promote.

The Keizer Community Band, under the direction of Dennis Bierman, has been playing around the city for years.  They have become a cohesive musical group that its listeners respond to, be it a standard composition or a jazzy number.  The band staged summer concerts this year at the gazebo at Chalmers Jones Park at the Keizer Civic Center.  They have appeared at other community events such as National Night Out.

The band, like many organizations in Keizer, is comprised of volunteers who play for the fun of it and to feed their passion for music.  They are yet another example of volunteers who make life in Keizer a little sweeter.

It’s probable that most of the members in the community band first learned how to play an instrument in school.  As arts programs continue to face budget cuts across the nation, our local schools maintain their programs through massive efforts by the school district, teachers and parents.

The music programs at McNary High School, Claggett Creek Middle  School and Whiteaker Middle School are thriving, actually bursting at the seams.

They are successful due to the herculean fund raising efforts by the students and their families.  And of course the directors themselves.

Jim Taylor, choir director at McNary High School, has fashioned an award-winning singing group.  This choir confirms the positive effect of music on the scholastic achievements of students:  the group boasts an average GPA of 3.5 and last year’s group was the receipent of more than half a million dollars in college scholarships.

David Hodges, the band director, also has a winning group to lead each year at concerts as well as the marching band.

Neither Taylor nor Hodges can have successful programs without the middle schools feeding into the high school.  The Whiteaker Middle School choir has competed at national competitions against high schools and has come out the winner.  When your middle school choir can beat the best high school choirs in the country, you are doing something special.

Whiteaker’s triumvirate of musical instructors are passionate about music and pass it on their kids.  Choir director Andy Thomas, band director Chad Davies and orchestra director Bonnie Gallagher together with Claggett Creek’s Rolland Hayden (choir), Jennifer Bell (band) and Bruce Purdy (orchestra) lead winners and achievers in their own right and get them ready to join the music program at McNary.

The parents and families of music students understand the importance of music and arts in the educational career of their kids.  Without these fierce advocates of the programs, Keizer schools would be a lot less lively.

—LAZ