Concerts back on schedule

By Denebola
Published: March 2008

By Roxy Glazier and Nathan Yeo

After several months of negotiations, Newton South music teachers and school administrators reached an understanding restoring the regular number of concerts.
South will hold spring concerts, voice recitals, Jazz Night, and the Pops Concert. They will also attend festivals and play at graduation as they normally do each year.
While no formal agreement has been reached, music teachers feel they are heading in a positive direction, and they decided to give students the opportunity to perform in the full number of concerts.
“Rather than holding off, we’re going to put [the concerts] back, band teacher Lisa Linde said.
The music department announced at the beginning of the year that it would only hold two concerts due to a payment dispute. Music teachers wanted stipends for the extra time they spent preparing for concerts. They did not receive the compensation and were told by administrators to cut back on concerts.
Despite the cutbacks, no concerts were cancelled. One concert was postponed because the music department wanted to include the Gospel Choir. Several concerts were held during school hours instead of at night so as not to contribe to the issue.
In a letter thanking music students and parents for their support, Youngman and Linde announced the return of the concerts.
Music teachers entered negotiations with school administrators in September and the school committee in December. South choral teacher Benjamin Youngman expects this agreement to be finalized by the end of the year.
South students involved with music expressed joy at the return of the concerts. “I’m so much happier. I wish it would have resolved quicker…but I’m really [glad] that we have it all back because we really deserve it, Senior Elisabeth Jeyeraj said.
Students are particularly excited about playing in the annual Pops concert. “We did a lot of work [to get our concerts back]¦It’s great to know that we get to go to Pops¦ [I'm] very positive about the whole thing, Senior Kathleen Capstick said.
Capstick and Jeyeraj got students to sign a petition urging the School Committee to reach an agreement with the music teachers. Before the concert restoration was announced they planned to bring dozens of students to the School Committee meeting on Monday, March 10.
Sophomore Maddie Willert agrees with Capstick and Jeyeraj. “I’m very excited because I will now participate in Pops for the first time. This band is really great and we deserve the opportunity to show everyone what we’ve been working on all year, Willert said.
The Youngman and Linde hope to set specific dates for the concerts soon.
Youngman says he is relieved that the negotiations resolved the dispute. “I am tired, but I am happy to provide my students with the opportunity that they have earned and they deserve, he said. “I’m a music teacher, not a negotiator. I’m trying to advocate for my students.

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