75 Years of Music Excellence

  • In 1971, talented Rush-Henrietta band students appealed to the community to help them travel to Switzerland. The stage band was one of only five high school musical groups in the United States selected to perform at the prestigious Montreux Jazz Festival. This international event has long featured leading professional, collegiate, and high school musicians.

    The proud community supported these students by participating in car washes, attending a film festival at the high school, purchasing coupon books, and donating directly to the band to cover costs. As Henrietta resident Allan Couch said in the March 10, 1971, Henrietta Weekly Journal, “This band is one of the best reasons we can be proud of our young people today.”

    Rush-Henrietta’s music program continues to provide outstanding opportunities for our young musicians, and gives the community a reason to boast. This year, our district again has been named one of the nation’s Best Communities for Music Education by The NAMM Foundation. This recognition is based on our commitment to music education.

    Incredibly, this is the 13th consecutive year, and 17th year overall, our district has received this prestigious honor. The designation is awarded to districts that demonstrate outstanding achievement in their efforts to provide music access and education to all students. To qualify, Rush-Henrietta met criteria concerning funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, instruction time, facilities, and support for music programs. This national award recognizes that Rush-Henrietta is leading the way with learning opportunities for students, with music and the arts being viewed here as important elements of a well-rounded education.

    It’s the product of decades of music excellence, led by many special people who have come before us. Those leaders and influencers of the past include the likes of Paul Cimicata, Roger Eckers, Christine Sargent, Rich Thompson, and Fred Weingarten, among many others.

    Still today, Rush-Henrietta’s music program helps students develop as musicians and as people. In fact, R-H Singers, a choral group from the Senior High School, is making plans to perform in Washington, D.C., next spring. It's all part of helping our students grow into well-rounded adults.

    “Music education continues to play an important role in the student experience in Rush-Henrietta, developing essential life skills and strengthening connections within the school and in the community,” says Donna Watts, director of music. “It is a tradition of excellence that we cherish and continue to nurture.”

    Our school community should be exceptionally proud of what we have accomplished together. Many thanks to our teachers, staff members, administrators, and Board of Education members, past and present. In addition, the district recognizes the contributions made by parents, students, and community members. We know we can’t do this without you!

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