The Arts at Liberty

Ever since Liberty opened, we have been a sport oriented school but there’s lots of other programs that the school has to offer.

The+Liberty+High+School+band+performing+at+the+University+of+Iowas+homecoming.

Courtesy of Liberty Band

The Liberty High School band performing at the University of Iowa’s homecoming.

Sports at Liberty play a big role in recognition. Students get scholarships and go on to play successfully at the collegiate level. They have a signing day where they sign to become an athlete of that college. The performing arts program at Liberty is another activity filled with extremely talented students, many of whom also win awards in competitions and also go on to college with scholarships. But many of the performing arts students don’t receive the same recognition as student-athletes. There needs to be greater support for the performing arts so these students can receive greater recognition and opportunities for their successes.

The performing arts program at Liberty consists of music classes (band, choir, orchestra, etc) and extracurriculars such as show choir, jazz band, jazz choir, free strings, and theater. Many successful students get musical scholarships and get accepted into honor choirs and bands such as All-State and SEIBA (Southeast Iowa BandMasters Association). 

I myself was accepted into SEIBA this year and can attest to how much work and dedication goes into that. Months before the SEIBA audition date, music gets released and it’s practice time. All your scales have to be memorized, you have to play a minute of a solo piece, and the music that was given to you. Then comes the audition day. Every single kid who is auditioning from Southeast Iowa comes to Fairfield high school and you stay there for the whole day. If you make it, you receive music and it’s not easy. Then comes the performance day. You Rehearse for 2 hours, eat lunch, rehearse for 3 more, and then have a concert. All in one day. It’s not easy and it’s not fun sometimes.

But attendance at concerts and shows are nowhere near what they are at athletic events. Many students are more drawn to watching a game than watching a band perform for 2 hours. Yes, watching a basketball game is very entertaining but so is watching a band or choir concert. Tanvi Vibhakar, 10, who is involved in band and show choir at Liberty shared her opinion of the situation, 

“It makes me frustrated. The music department works just as hard as the athletic department,” said Vibhakar.

Elizabeth Hanson

Promoting the arts can improve attendance and recognition. I’ve been in the performing arts since 5th grade. I’ve seen very little advertising about band or choir concerts at Liberty. It’s really hard to see that the arts program isn’t being credited and awarded for its hard work. There is no signing day for band people. There’s little to no recognition for students awarded scholarships in the performing arts. If the performing arts programs could also participate in a signing day that would just be for them, that would lead to more public recognition for the arts program.

Many people may argue that sports get more publicly recognized which leads to more people going and supporting the athletics program. If the arts programs had more funding, more people would attend because it could do more interesting performances with newer equipment like instruments, sound, lighting, and be able to advertise its concerts more. For example, the marching band finally received enough funding to add a color guard to their marching band performances. Having a color guard allows the band more opportunities to do more visually interesting performances and also possibly go to competitions. Also, students would be able to have more experiences at competitions, trips and learn new skills from visiting instructors. 

Being in the performing arts program can lead to many benefits. It helps people improve their performance anxiety which improves self-esteem. According to College Board, students have higher than 150 points SAT scores from being in the arts program. You also will find so many new friends. Friends who are willing to help and encourage you. 

Please don’t misconstrue. I’m not at all saying that sports should never get recognized. Sports work very hard as well and deserve to get recognition but, the arts program should get the same recognition too.  So although sports are more recognized than the arts program, it is clear that it needs to be fixed by recognizing the arts program more than it currently is.