In 2016, St. George School created the Carolyn Kanicki Music Fund to honor and recognize Mrs. Kanicki, who taught band to hundreds of students during her 25 years at St. George School. Mrs. Kanicki believed that all students should have the opportunity to learn a musical instrument and that participation in band enriches a child’s life and provides a lifelong skill. We at St. George School have made it our goal to continue this legacy.
Our alumni are encouraged to stay involved in instrumental music into high school and adulthood. Just the other day, I ran into a St. George School alumni at the grocery store. This former student told me that band is what helped her “get through middle school.” She became a gifted flute player, participating in the Georges Valley High School Band and music festivals around the state throughout her high school years. And currently, Caleb Wight—a very enthusiastic alumnus and sophomore at Lincoln Academy—joins the Middle Level Band for rehearsals whenever he can, performs concerts with us on his tuba, and provides help and encouragement to an up-and-coming 7th grade tuba player!
The students in the St. George School Band love to share their sound and talent with the community on Memorial Day and Veterans Day, at Senior Citizen Luncheons, and in several concerts throughout the school year. On Memorial Day, the band is an integral part of the town parade and ceremony. Our trumpeters perform Taps for the wreath drop and rifle salute at the town landing and then again during the ceremony at the Kinney-Melquist American Legion Post. The band then performs the National Anthem and several patriotic pieces while our community reflects. The St. George School Band performs a similar program on Veterans Day, when several of our community’s veterans are honored in a special ceremony at the school. Every December, our 8th Grade Band is invited to the Senior Luncheon at the Town Office to dine with the Senior Citizens and then provide music, often holiday-themed, for the group. Last March, in celebration of “Music in our Schools Month,” we invited the Mid-Coast Community Band to our annual Music in our Schools Concert. As a grand finale, all musicians, ages 10 to 90, performed together an arrangement of “We Will Rock You.” What we were able to convey through this performance is that music really is a life-long experience that connects us within our school and community.
St. George School 5th graders participate in our Exploratory Band Program, which puts instruments in the hands of all 5th graders, who are taught how to play their instruments in a full band setting as well as in small group lessons. Here at St. George School, out of 87 students in grades five through eight, 74 are currently in band! With this incredible level of participation comes the challenge of making sure that all students have access to quality instruments. The expense of purchasing or renting a quality instrument ranges from $200 (second-hand) to $2,000 (brand new). Since its creation, the Carolyn Kanicki Music Fund has paid more than $3,000 in repairs and maintenance for dozens of school-owned instruments. We were also able to use the fund to purchase a quality, second-hand instrument for a student who otherwise would not be able to participate in the band.
In order to continue providing our students with the unconditional opportunity to play an instrument in the band, we would like to invite our community to contribute to the Carolyn Kanicki Music Fund. Donations can be made by sending a check, payable to “St. George School” with “Carolyn Kanicki Fund” written in the memo line to: St George School, P.O. Box 153, Tenants Harbor, ME 04860. —Kristin O’Neal, St. George School Band Instructor