Music is important throughout life


VERSAILLES — Versailles Fine Arts staff celebrate Music and Art in Our Schools month during the month of March. Many activities happened this month: Evening with the Arts Concert and Art Show, school wide coloring contest, fourth grade band recruitment, OMEA large group and solo and ensemble events, The Versailles Musical Grease, art students chosen for Darke County art shows, and the high school band joined with the kindergarten class for their sound unit.

Music is an important part of life as it is a way of expressing feelings and emotions. Some people consider music as a way to escape from the pain of life. It gives you relief and allows you to reduce stress. Music creates social cohesion, it speaks to all when words can fail, and wherever you go in the world, it is understood. Music is a universal gift and its power to connect people is without question. It is an art form with human interaction at its center. Music is for the brain. It provides a total brain workout.

Research has shown that listening to music can reduce anxiety, blood pressure, and pain as well as improve sleep quality, mood, mental alertness, and memory. The key reason people listen to music lies in the reward center of the brain. Listening to pleasurable music activates areas of the reward system. It can create a natural high, one without drugs or alcohol. In fact, research has shown that it can lessen the impact of depression and anxiety.

A study done in 2019 found that college students who listened to classical music every day for two months lowered their levels of anxiety significantly. People who learn a band instrument can play in organized groups for their entire lives. High school doesn’t have to be the last time you play in a band. Solo instruments like piano and guitar have their place in society. Singers and guitarists can play in churches and in bars in smaller gig groups. However there is something special about playing in a larger group like a concert band or a marching band.

At Versailles, director Ronda Stammen promotes music after high school. She was a driving force behind the creation of the Versailles Community Band along with Versailles graduates Sharon Kramer, Chad Peyton, Theresa Grilliot and musician and educator Erin Rismiller. Recent graduates from Versailles keep pursuing musical interests at the next level. Matthew Francis (2022) marched in the University of Cincinnati marching band this past fall. Jarrett Barga (2021) is in his second year as a music major at Wright State University and Kayla Cheadle (2022) is completing her first year as a percussion performance major. Owen Francis (2022) played in the Wright State University Pep Band. Audrey Allen (2021) performs in the color guard in the Miami University Marching Band. Brody Hyre (2017) graduate marches in The Ohio State Marching Band. Amber Barga (2018) has participated in the Wright State University pep bands, University of Dayton’s pep bands and marches in the Pride of Dayton Marching Band. Jada Barlage (2020) traveled to Ireland in 2022 and still marches in the Pride of Dayton. Hannah Bey (2020) marched in the Miami University band and traveled with them to a bowl game in 2021. Andrew Heckman (2018) has worked on the Versailles Marching Band staff and performed in the Versailles Community Band. Danielle Marshal (2021) plays in the Ohio State Concert band and comes back and performs in the Versailles Community Band. McKayla Hess (2019) played in the University of Findlay jazz and concert bands. Heather Bey (2016) has just joined a Community Band in the Cleveland area. Grace Francis (2019) has played in the Purdue Concert bands. Alex Barga (2020) graduate is working side by side with the Versailles staff as a percussion instructor and pep band advisor. Dylan Meyer (2020), Eric Peyton (2020), Cassie DeMange (2021), Megan Rismiller (2020), Derek Rauh (2020), Stuart Baltes (2019), Jenna Mangen (2020), Anna Brewer (2022), Alex Brewer (2020), Alex Grilliot (2020), Hannah Grilliot (2017), Brooke Timmerman (2021), Megan Marshal (2017), Noah Brown (2022) and many more are all regular participants in the Versailles area Community band along with the students mentioned above. Emily (Kremer) Barga is a graduate of The University of Dayton and is the band director at Houston High School. She also performs in the Community Band and has tutored Versailles students. Senior Jayme Rethman (2023) is pursuing a music education degree at Ball State University and senior Austin Pierron (2023) will be studying Sound Engineering at Tiffin University and continue playing percussion. Other current seniors are making decisions to play at their college and some are already performing with the Versailles Community Band. There are more students that have played in bands outside of high school too.

The Versailles Community band will be starting back up again to prepare for the Versailles Poultry Day performance. ANYONE with prior band experience is welcome to join the Community Band. If you need an instrument one can be provided for you. Performing in a band together brings people of all ages together and creates life experiences you can not get anywhere else. The Versailles Community Band also provides experiences such as Community Night with the marching band in the fall and again in the winter with the Pep Band. The Community Band has performed at the Versailles Music Fest in September and at the Middle School Christmas Concert. Upcoming rehearsals for the Versailles Community band is (Sunday nights doors open at 6:30 p.m. and rehearse from 7-8 p.m.) April 16, 23, May 7, 31 and June 4. Contact Chad Peyton or Ronda Stammen ([email protected]) for more information.

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