BONIFAY – Holmes County High School’s Blue Pride Band Director Zach Dobos and Holmes County Band Booster President Ben Martin were at a recent Bonifay Kiwanis Meeting where they explained that “music should no longer be labeled as an extra-curricular activity in education today.”
“The U.S. Department of Education is in full agreement on the need for access to quality music and arts instruction in schools,” said Martin. “No Child Left Behind legislation defines the arts as a core academic subject. It is our job, in our community, to uphold the intent of that law, to create access to a quality education that includes music and arts instruction and to work so all children have the opportunity to learn and grow with music and the arts.”
He went on to show the link between music and the impact music makes on enhancing children’s learning capabilities.
Music is a basic building block of intelligence and playing music helps critical neural connections, Martin explained, with music promoting math and language skills showing evidence of raising IQ scores.
“Studies show that students involved in music generally tested higher than those who had no musical involvement,” he said. “The test scores studied were not only standardized tests, such as the FCAT, but also reading proficiency exams.”
Martin went on to explain about the Blue Pride Band Director Zachary Dobos and about the Band Boosters.
“All bands of both Holmes County High School and Bonifay Middle School are under the direction of one man, Holmes County District School Board teacher Zachary Dobos,” said Martin.
Dobos is a graduate of Troy University with degrees in Music Education and Education Psychology and accepted the position with Holmes County schools four years ago.
Martin explained that Dobos starts every day at Bonifay Middle School with a general study hall type class, then the sixth grade beginning band students, followed by classes with seventh and eighth grade advanced band musicians, then travels to the high school to conduct the HCHS Blue Pride marching band, HCHS concert band, HCHS color guard, as well as the HCHS jazz band who was recently featured at the annual Troyfest recently. His typical day starts at 7:30 a.m. and ends around 5 p.m. after the last group of students leave scheduled practices, though band trips, football games and festivals extend those hours to late at night and many on Saturdays.
He explained that the students participating in band has grown in both the middle and high school since Dobos began in 2010.
“He started his career in 2010 with 48 middle school students and only 25 high school students and this school year those numbers have grown to 57 middle school students and 41 high school students,” said Martin. “The projections for the upcoming school year are 65 or more middle school students and 55 to 65 high school students that will take the field as the 2014-2015 Blue Pride Band.”
With the increase in student participation there will also be an increase in demands for chaperones, volunteers and financial responsibilities, he explained.
“A group of volunteers known as the Band Boosters fulfill those needs and our goals are to promote excellence in the band programs at BMS and HCHS, to include but not limited to the BMS Beginning and Advanced Bands and the HCHS Marching Band, Color Guard Jazz Band and Concert Band,” said Martin. “To build constructive relationships and improve communication between parents, band students, school and community. To support activities of the Blue Pride Band through fundraising, mentoring, volunteering, participating in band, school and community events, develop and promote an understanding of quality band program and to enhance and enrich our children’s educational/musical environment.”
Routine operations of the high school band costs $12,000 annually, which includes meals and transportation and $3,000 is provided by the school board each year, he explained. The largest expenses come from instrument purchase and maintenance as well as uniforms, which are due to be preplaced since the current uniforms were purchased in 2005.