The Canfield Local Schools Band Department would like to respond to Heather Sullivan’s Letter to the Editor published on Nov. 4, 2010. We strongly feel the need to do so because of the incorrect information Mrs. Sullivan cited as well as our contention that this was no more than a personal attack on Jim Volenik.
Our contention is based on the fact that her son participated in the middle school symphonic band, directed by Mr. Volenik, during the 2008-2009 school-year and in 2009-2010 was a member of the middle school concert band directed by Mr. Pupino. Mrs. Sullivan’s son did not perform on the steel pan either year for neither band. Why was Mr. Pupino left out of the letter if she truly felt her son was not given the opportunities to perform on the steel pan because of Mr. Volenik’s “small minded mentality?”
Secondly, why the letter two years after being a member of Mr. Volenik’s band?
Mrs. Sullivan’s letter contained many statements that were exaggerated, erroneous and clearly showed a lack of knowledge of what she was writing about. Her exaggerations begin with the comment that Canfield is a community with nonexistent crime. Would the Canfield police chief
agree? Would the officers and staff under his supervision concur?
Next, Mrs. Sullivan alludes that the reason her son did not get “playing time” was because he studied with a percussion teacher who was not “preferred.” As a band department and practicing musicians, we do recommend certain teachers based on their qualifications. However, we do not punish students, as Mrs. Sullivan asserts, because they do not select the teachers we recommend. In fact, most of our band students do not even take private lessons and participate fully each and every day in our programs and experience success at all levels.
Mrs. Sullivan then makes erroneous statements regarding Chris, a former student, and Mr. Drevdna, a former teacher. Chris (Murschon) is not a former student of Canfield. He attended Jackson-Milton Local Schools and Mr. Drevna (correct spelling) is not a former teacher of Canfield. He is our percussion paraprofessional as well as marching band percussion instructor.
Either Mrs. Sullivan lacked knowledge of the music competition in which her son participated or once again exaggerated by stating he had scored the highest score at the Ohio State Solo and Ensemble test. There is no such test or event. The event he participated in was the Ohio Music
Education Association District 5 Solo and Ensemble Adjudicated Event for Junior High/Middle School. It was neither a state level event nor a test but rather a local event where students perform for adjudicators and received ratings from a “I” or “Superior” to a “V” or “Very Poor.” There are no total points or percentages given and one’s “Superior” rating is the same as another’s.
Lastly, had Mrs. Sullivan picked Boardman Schools, she would find a band program lacking a steel drum component just like Canfield’s. While there may be a student who plays the steel pan, it is not a regular instrument taught or commonly found within the bands at Boardman. This was confirmed by Boardman High School band director Tom Ruggieri.
At Canfield, we have over 500 students who participate in our band program, grades 5-12. Some of these students also moved in from other areas of the country like our newest families from Saginaw, Mich., and Bossier, La. Both families have multiple children participating in the band program at the middle and high school levels. These students have found acceptance,
adjustment, and friendship through the band program and contribute to each band’s success.
The focus and mission of the Canfield Band Program is through instruction on a band instrument, our band kids develop a lifelong appreciation for not only instrumental music, but also music as whole as well as the arts. While we do not have guitars, strings, accordions, steel drums, or a
multitude of other instruments in our normal ensembles, we do use them when the music or occasion calls for it. It is then, when we count on our outstanding students to not only perform on these instruments but also teach us a something about them as well.
It is our hope that providing the correct information and refuting the allegations and innuendos in Mrs. Sullivan’s submission that our program will be vindicated by such unfounded claims, innuendos, and erroneous statements.
Canfield Band Department