2019 Viola Award Finalist for Excellence in the Arts Education
Faun Nichols is the music educator, band, and choir director at Sechrist Elementary School. Students at Sechrist participate in a music class once a week all school year. Part of the Sechrist students’ music education includes singing, performing choreography, and narration in children’s musicals in kindergarten, 1st, 2nd, and 3rd grades. We have a professional piano accompanist, paid through the Sechrist Music Tax Credit Account, at every rehearsal and show.
All 3rd, 4th, and 5th graders have the opportunity to join our Sechrist Choir. Choir meets every Friday after school for one hour and is sponsored through the district FACTS program. FACTS pays for a piano accompanist at every rehearsal and concert. Our Choir ranges in size between 60-75 students each year. This semester students from Marshall Elementary School can join our Choir, too.
Over the past 2 years, our Choir has performed at the Grand Canyon National Park twice and most recently at Montezuma Castle National Monument to celebrate the Centennial of the National Park Service. Along with the Knoles Elementary School Choir, under the direction of Joe Rauschenbach, our Sechrist students produced a professional videotape which was sent to the National Park Service in Washington, DC.
On February 26, 2019, Knoles and Sechrist Choirs will perform at the Grand Canyon National Park Visitors’ Center in honor of the Grand Canyon’s 100th birthday. We will teach songs to the Choir students with a nod to our southwest American heritage and cultures.
Sechrist also offers a band program to 4th and 5th graders. We now include Marshall band students in our after-school band program, also supported by the FACTS program. The Beginning Band meets on Tuesdays and Thursdays for an hour after school while the Intermediate Band rehearses on Mondays and Wednesdays, also for an hour after school. There are approximately 18-24 students in the Intermediate Band and 30-44 students in the Beginning Band. Instruments included are flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, horn, euphonium, trombone, and percussion. This year we are delighted to have a cellist in our beginning band!
We are very humbled by the number of volunteers in our band and choir programs. Our Choir has a lovely lady, who is part of the RSVP program at NAU (retired seniors volunteer program), as an assistant. Former students, now in middle and high school, teach sectionals and work with our band students weekly. The NAU School of Music encourages music majors to observe and work with our band students regularly. Not only do we see many student volunteers from NAU, but we often have music professors from NAU participating in our band program.