Music Department Rewarded Again for Overall Excellence

When Kara Medina finds herself with a free period during the school day, you’ll usually find her in the music building at Carmel High School. There’s a reason for that, according to the senior, who is a member of the wind ensemble.

“It’s so much more than everybody just coming in and playing music,” Medina said. “It’s relaxing. It’s a place to come in and share stories. It really comes down to the teachers. Since I was in middle school, they’ve all been so great to us.”

That culture and the music program’s many District-wide offerings resulted in Carmel being designated a Best Communities for Music Education by the NAMM Foundation for the 10th straight year.

We Did It! 2023 Best Communities for Music Education

Meghan Cabral, the district’s director of music, said Carmel earned the honor based on the breadth of its programs, which include two bands, two orchestras, three choirs and two Advanced Placement classes at the high school level, plus elementary and middle school-level classes, bands, choirs and more.

NAMM, the National Association of Music Merchants, recognizes communities for their outstanding achievement and commitment to provide music access and education to all students.

“It’s really fun to play music here,” junior Leah Storminger said. “I’m really glad we got this award because this is such a great music program.”

Students also praised the department for its many extracurricular offerings. The musicians have consistent opportunities to perform live throughout the school year, whether it’s with their classes or their after-school clubs, and it fuels their passion.

“Playing clarinet is such a big part of my life,” sophomore Natalie Escaravage said.

The high school students have made a habit of volunteering at middle school events, which can leave an impression on the younger musicians.

“It made me want to try harder to play as well as they did,” Storminger said.

Senior James Ardisana has seen the impact the music department has throughout the school community. He noted that students play the National Anthem at sporting events. They play at school board meetings. They play Christmas carols during the holidays.

CHS Orchestra students

 When the football team won a state championship in 2021, band members led the “Ram Trot,” blaring their instruments in the hallways as part of a celebratory parade.

“It all makes it more enjoyable for us,” Ardisana said. “There’s always something different going on here.”

To be selected, the District had to provide detailed information about its funding, graduation requirements, music class participation, facilities, support for music programs in the District and community, among other data.

Each of the three elementary schools offers music education beginning in Kindergarten, plus a Grade 4 Chorus that hosts an end-of-year celebration each June. Students have the opportunity to join band, orchestra or chorus beginning in Grade 5 and in Grades 7-8 they can join the jazz band, clarinet choir, select strings or the rock ensemble.

At the high-school level, the Music Department offers Advanced Placement courses in music theory, comprehensive music and music history, in addition to ensemble classes. High school students can also participate in the Tri-M Music Honors Society, Jazz Band, Belle Voce chamber choir, as well as the annual musical or pit orchestra.