The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

The School Newspaper of Lawrence High School.

The Budget

District makes neglectful decision to cut choir staff

As the school year settles into place, the choir program sees effect from budget cuts
Eliza Naumann
Assistant choir director Angela Loganbill led students during the Winter Prelude in 2022. Her job was eliminated at the of the school year.

The music department has been a longtime pride for Lawrence High School, but staff cuts have left a gap in it.

From the band driving our school spirit at home games to the orchestra and choir programs winning awards at state contests, this department and its staff have been a source of success for our community.

  In April, the district announced it would eliminate high school teaching jobs as it increased class size ratios. Angela Loganbill, the assistant choir director at the time, was one of those staff members.

“She was essential to treble choir,” junior Adele Erickson said. “Choir is still fun, but she really made it an interesting, educational and accessible place.”

Loganbill was a central part of the lower level treble choirs in particular, connecting deeply with all of the students and making a lasting impression.

The day Loganbill announced her position was being cut, junior Cooper Grant created a GroupMe in an attempt to protest the district’s decision, providing the choir members with the emails of district leaders.

“Trying to email district staff was something very important to me,” Grant said. “And everyone else in choir as well.”

Many students in lower level choirs emailed a selection of district staff. In response, the students were told of  the importance of “high quality staff to serve the students,” informing the students who emailed them that some cuts were to begin a nine-month program that would raise competitive salaries among teachers.

This showed an obvious lack of awareness when approaching the choir program, especially the awards it brings home. Before the music cuts, there was a Bellissima and Concert choir for sophomores, juniors and seniors. Bellissima was for treble voices while Concert was for tenor and bass voices. These served as a middle ground before the higher-level choir, A Capella.

But, on their own, these choirs were very accomplished. After the cuts to staff, Bellissima was eliminated and combined with Concert choir to make one of mixed voices.

Before it was cut, Bellissima choir traveled annually to the Blue Valley West festival where choirs from across Kansas performed. Instead of giving younger treble voices this opportunity, Chorale, Lawrence High’s highest-level choir will perform there instead.

Apart from lost opportunities, the smaller music staff could present a new set of challenges during the busy contest season.

“Contest season is just a logistical nightmare,” Grant said. “There is so much going on, I mean especially in the choir program where I think we have our biggest performance of the year right then.”

State contests happen yearly, and last year LHS brought three choirs to the state large ensemble festival, and four to the state small ensemble festival. Many soloists attended and got outstanding marks as well.

By reducing the help that Loganbill provided, the district also reduced the amount of awards the choir programs can take back.

“Until we live through it, it’s hard to say,” choir director Dwayne Dunn said of possible effects. “It may impact how many students or choirs we take to state large ensemble festival. It certainly limits the number of before- and after-school rehearsals that can be managed.”

The loss of these opportunities for students is devastating, and once the spring season rolls around, the way choir works will shift, even with events like Showtime. While Dunn has been attempting to minimize the impact on students, the effect is still there, even if it isn’t an obvious change.

“I think he needs help running a class of 50 students,” Erickson said. “It’s very unreasonable that he’s being asked to do that all by himself.”

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About the Contributors
Beatrix Johnson
Beatrix Johnson, Red and Black Managing Editor
I'm the managing editor of the yearbook, and a second year designer on the journalism staff! Outside of the journalism staff, I'm involved in choir, and theatre. In my free time I'm usually listening to music or hanging out with my friends.
Eliza Naumann
Eliza Naumann, Photographer
I'm a second-year photographer on the journalism staff. When I'm not taking pictures, I'm working at PetWorld, playing tennis, or crocheting in my free time.

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