WATSONVILLE — This year marks two firsts for Pajaro Valley High School.
The school has a choir for the first time since it opened in 2005, and the group will put on a free concert Wednesday night.
The creation of a choir is notable in Pajaro Valley Unified School District, which is slowly rebuilding its music programs district-wide after slashing them during the recent economic recession.
That has had the double effect of leaving students with almost no school-based musical experience, and the district with a dearth of music teachers, said Choir Director Michele Izor.
“These kids have had literally no music education up until now,” she said. “There are a lot of hurdles.”
PV High cancelled its after-school instrumental music program in 2011.
PVUSD is struggling to hire music teachers in elementary schools, thus building a “feeder program” for secondary schools. The district is also trying to bring music to upper-level students by partnering with Cabrillo College’s Visual and Performing Arts department.
The choir class allows the members – made up largely of freshman – to fill their fine arts requirement for graduation. But the experience means much more than that, Izor said.
“Art and music gives the students an opportunity to be a part of something that’s bigger than themselves,” she said.
The concert will feature a variety of selections including contemporary ballads, African American spirituals, Broadway and Disney songs.
The first-ever Pajaro Valley High School Choir concert, titled “Spring is Here!”, is scheduled for Wednesday at 7 p.m. in the Pajaro Valley High School Library, 500 Harkins Slough Road. Admission is free.
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