Music teachers rebel at New York ‘Fame’ schoolmain
The entire music faculty at Fiorello LaGuardia HS – best known as the setting for the movie Fame – have demanded a showdown with the principal over cutbacks in music teaching.
It’s happening everywhere.
Some people (most) simply have no taste or fineness of discernment. The article fails to mention any of the distinguished classical musicians who went there (and appeared in the movie), such as the McDermott sisters of the McDermott Trio, who went on to Manhattan School of Music and great careers.
This belief that arts are optional is bizarre. There was an article in today’s LA Times about artists being evicted from the ironically named ‘Arts District’ due to soaring rents. The comments were the usual sinkhole of ‘get a job and support your arts hobby.’
Was that a rhinoceros I just saw go by?
Just as a word of caution – most New Yorkers do not assume anything they might read in the New York Post to be true on the face of it. They have a reputation of being sensationalist and gossip oriented.
Now – just a bit of correction of the original article. Strictly speaking, the LaGuardia School of Music and Art and the Performing Arts is not the “Fame” school. That would have been the High School of Performing Arts, one of its predecessor institutions located in a different part of the city. Originally there were two arts high schools in New York City: High School of Music and Art (founded in 1936) and located in northern Manhattan, and the High School of Performing Arts (founded after WW II) and located east of Times Square. Supposedly they had different emphases with the latter being more involved in the popular arts. (NYC has a good many specialist high schools covering a number of disciplines, so these schools are not unusual.) In 1984 the city completed a new school that was intended to replace these two schools. This new school was located across the street from Lincoln Center. The new location made sense – since the older schools had no supporting institutions nearby. My guess (and it’s only a guess) is that just the act of combining the two schools was also meant to reduce faculty and programs from the start (in the name of creating efficiencies – as is the usual claim).
My experience with both original schools has only been through friendships with students when I was a teen, and colleagues later on. If they are any example, the standards must have been pretty high, since my friends all ended up in the top conservatories (Juilliard and Manhattan School in NYC as well as others).and have done quite well professionally. (Stanley Drucker, long-time principal clarinetist in the NY Phil was a graduate – but he is hardly the only graduate in a major orchestra.)
As support for the arts seems to grow weaker in NYC – at least from my half-century of close observation – it’s not surprising that it seems logical by those in charge to shift emphasis away from the arts and find ways – not always honestly expressed – to explain it away. It’s very sad, but I’m not sure one should be shocked or surprised at this point.
This is a very good comment. Calling this high school the “Fame” high school, a totally factually incorrect statement, is exactly the kind of disrespectful shorthand the New York Post would use, and a good example of the reason most people don’t trust it.