NP named one of the Best Communities for Music Education


Doug Bell

The North Penn Music Department recently received honors as one of the Best Communities for Music Education.

TOWAMENCIN- North Penn was recently named as one of the Best Communities for Music Education by the National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM). The Best Communities for Music Education (BCME) program seeks to recognize school districts that support music education at all levels. At North Penn in particular, the band program is one area that achieves excellence in education at the elementary, middle school, and high school levels.

North Penn is often recognized for musical success at the high school level, but this success depends on great education and support from all areas, especially the elementary and middle school levels. These levels develop abilities and fuel the passion that is characteristic of the high school musicians.

“Elementary is arguably the most important part of the program because that is where it all begins,” said Mr. Chris Thompson, band director at General Nash and Walton Farm Elementary School, “What we do in elementary is get kids hooked in and signed up, and we try to make a balanced band so that we have got a good program going forward. It is the foundation of the house, so you want it to be cement, not sand.”

It is the foundation of the house, so you want it to be cement, not sand

— Chris Thompson

For the majority of beginner band students, elementary school is their first exposure to instrumental music. Students have to work diligently when starting from the ground up, and many learn the difficulties of practicing an instrument to attain the level of excellence that is the North Penn standard. The excellence that defines North Penn music starts young, becoming a recurring theme throughout the many years of music education to come. Whether it is elementary band on a Thursday morning, or North Penn Marching Knights on Friday night, excellence is the driving force behind it all.

Middle school is when the real dedicated band students can flourish for the first time. Between jazz band, wind ensemble, and pit band, there is no lack of performance opportunities for middle school musicians. For many kids, band plays a huge role in helping them push through the difficult middle school years. Middle school band directors help enhance  the abilities of dedicated students while still keeping the less dedicated students engaged. Without the excellent instruction of North Penn’s middle school band directors, the high school program simply would not thrive the way it currently does.

North Penn High School Band Director Ted Heller sees the benefits that the strong music foundation has on the high school band.

“It’s an extension of the musical excellence developed at the elementary and middle school levels where we can showcase the extraordinary abilities of high school musicians,” said Heller.

At the high school level, the band program is mostly comprised of students who are truly dedicated. With a plethora of audition groups and performance opportunities, students develop into seasoned musicians that represent North Penn in the community. The excellence that was instilled into students’ minds in fourth grade band has now become second nature. In some ways, the hard work has paid off, and now they can reap the benefits that come with participating in one of the best band programs in the country.