By David Fong
TROY — Troy is known far and wide for many things: the Hobart family, WACO airplanes, the Troy Strawberry Festival and the Troy-Piqua football rivalry.
Add music education to that list.
The National Association of Music Merchants recently named Troy as one of the “Best Communities for Music Education” in the United States. Troy City Schools was one of 476 districts chosen from the nation’s 13,515 districts to achieve the honor.
“This is a really nice thing for the schools,” said Kathy McIntosh, the head of music education and director of bands for the school district. It was McIntosh who submitted the application on behalf of Troy City Schools. “It really is an awesome award. It’s nice to be honored and to be recognized for all the hard work people throughout the district put in to our music education program.”
The Best Communities for Music Education program evaluates schools and districts based on “funding, staffing of highly qualified teachers, commitment to standards, community support, participation and access to music instruction. The NAMM Foundation, with the assistance of researchers at The Music Research Institute at the University of Kansas, evaluates participants on these factors. Designations are made to districts and schools that demonstrate an exceptionally high commitment and access to music education.”
“I was really pleasantly surprised when I found out we had received the honor,” McIntosh said. “I had no idea what criteria they were looking at exactly.”
What McIntosh — who started teaching at Troy in 1998 — did know, though, is that Troy has made a solid commitment to music education, particularly in the past two decades.
“The past 20 years, we’ve really had a good, strong commitment to music education,” McIntosh said. “Honestly, I didn’t apply for this before because I didn’t feel like we were quite ready. But I feel like we are now at a point where we are starting to excel and I thought we had a chance.”
Troy was recognized for its music, choir and band programs at every level of education, from the elementary schools all the way through high school.
McIntosh was quick to credit the support of the school administrators and the Troy Board of Education in helping the music program attain the honor.
“They let our kids go a lot of places and do a lot of things,” she said. “Our band just got back from a trip to Toronto. We do a lot of performances in town they let us get out of school for. We have good facilities and they support us as much as they can financially — it is expensive. They are very supportive of us.”
Troy City Schools Superintendent Eric Herman said the music program will continue to have his support.
“We wholeheartedly believe in the value of our music program,” he said. “The quality is fantastic and the participation is extremely high. It is a top notch quality program that rounds out the overall curriculum of the district.”
Contact David Fong at [email protected]; follow him on Twitter @thefong