, Derry, New Hampshire


January 2, 2014

Letters to the editor

Middle school needs an auditorium

To the editor:

Recently, I spent the day listening to the sixth, seventh and eighth grade band, chorus, orchestra and various configurations of the aforementioned student musicians perform in the gymnasium of the middle school. They were terrific. Some were better than terrific.

Unfortunately, I, like many of their parents, grandparents, aunts, uncles, cousins and friends couldn’t see them perform. We were delegated to sit and stand behind the band, chorus, orchestra and various configurations of the aforementioned student musicians because there were not enough seats. The bleachers were packed (this is a gym, after all), the floor was covered in a tarp to protect it and there were five or six rows of chairs on the floor to accommodate the overflow from the bleachers; however, this wasn’t enough. People stood on ether side of the bleachers, along the wall, behind (as mentioned before) the chorus risers and the band chairs. Look for yourself, the concert will soon be playing on Channel 21 (although the videographers were not trying to get the crowd, but rather the singers and other musicians).

I mention this because, for the 13 years I have lived in town (and I realize I am a newbie), I have heard talk of the elusive auditorium. It was something discussed; a dream entity that has been pushed back year after year. Except this year. It was kept for a variety of reasons, not the least of which is so that private funding could be sought and people or endowments that chose this as a worthy cause would see that the school district believes this to be a possibility. The auditorium funding is broken into two years, one for the architectural and engineering fees and the other for the construction.

But let’s get real. Surely, the roofs of the existing buildings take precedence. Of course, they do. And the safety of our public servants in the fire house -- shouldn’t their needs be put ahead of the hundreds of musicians, from elementary school through high school, who take to the gym floors at the middle school and high school several times each year? Well, of course, safety is the priority. But when is it time for the auditorium? How many parents, grandparents, cousins, siblings, aunts and uncles have to sit on an uncomfortable bleacher or stand (after happily making a contribution to support the music programs in the district), while listening to their child, niece, nephew, grandchild, cousin or sibling, before they get tired of it and become willing to pony up for the bond that will be necessary to fund the auditorium? I’m willing.

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