The lights turned down on the Carnegie Hall stage as we finished a performance as a part of a mass choir with Keith and Kristen Getty, the original writers of the modern-day hymn, In Christ Alone. My Honors Choir classmates and I felt a strong sense of pride. We did that. We had the opportunity to praise God through music in one of the most famous performance halls in the world. The excitement we felt was incredible, seemingly unreal. Once the excitement died down, however, we realized that we were staring into the face of various expenses that we could not tackle with our music budget alone.
The Honors Choir, along with the other ensembles of concert choir, orchestra and band all face a similar issue; they have dreams that seem so simple yet they are not able to fulfill because they fall short monetarily. The music program’s goal is to have ample support while also maintaining a healthy budget in order to not have to fundraise so often. Principal David Intlekofer and Marketing Director Rudi Gesch provide insight into the budgeting process, advertisement, and what can be done to further the music program at EC.
Extracurriculars and Budgeting: How Are They Related?
Running a school is incredibly expensive. For example, athletics by their nature takes up a large portion of the extracurricular budget. They need uniforms, they need to pay referees, they need to pay for equipment… the list of expenses is long. Transportation is a large reason as to why athletics needs so much money. Mr. I gives his perspective: “Athletics is expensive because there’s a bus every day. Honestly, if we played every game at home, athletics would be super cheap. But since we travel, athletics takes money, as any high school administrator would tell you that.” But administrators assert there are still ways to ensure the continued viability of the arts; we can equally support both sports and music. Mr. Gesch tells us a possible way that we can have budget activities without straining any particular extracurricular: “If we could pause, take a step back, and focus on one ‘feature’ thing for each group. For example, Carnegie Hall for Honors Choir. Then the group would have smaller events that take up less money. If we attach price tags and timelines to all of these things and submit a proposal, we can decide whether the tuition budget or fundraising could be used.”
Meanwhile in the Marketing Department...
Marketing and advertising play a large role in how much media attention each activity gets. The Ledger is sent out every Friday and contains loads of information. Mr. I controls the Ledger and explains: “Everything’s in the Ledger; it’s like every event that happens, and it’s a lot of noise, so sometimes things get lost in there.” If you take a glance at the EC Instagram page (@ec1892) you’ll see multiple basketball announcements. Why is that? Mr. Gesch puts it simply, saying that there are more photos being sent in. He explains that there are often many parents who take photos and send them in constantly, so he has more content to pull from. He however remains optimistic about advertisement for the arts: “My dream scenario would be to hire someone if I had a lot more money. I think, more practically, if there were to be a fine arts leadership role for a music student or two to head up, they could use their phone to capture content. I would probably want to have a brief training session with them to say ‘here’s what you do on here personally, here’s how you do things a little bit more professionally.’ I think it would be super cool to show rehearsals or choreography to get people excited about it.”
The dreams don’t stop here. We want to do things that the Honors Choir has never done before in the history of EC because music matters and our programs are capable of doing God’s work through music. Mr. Gesch has a poster in his office that says: “Tradition: Just because you’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean it’s not incredibly stupid.” Carnegie Hall was like a dream, and we can achieve more of these dreams if we try new things. “Just because we’ve always done it that way doesn’t mean that that’s the way it should be done,” Mr. Gesch says.
Music Really Does Matter!
In terms of what remains for the rest of this year, we are looking forward to the musical endeavors that EC will take. Recently, we just received a camera that was donated to the school that is capable of recording and live streaming better quality content. Honors Choir is going on a tour at the end of April. The possibilities are seemingly endless.
Mr. I points out a core point involving how change can be implemented within the community: “I love it when we have a packed house, and I love when people are here supporting. When parents come to support the kids in the choir, band, and orchestra, there’s a different energy with a full room rather than an empty room. I don't know if it’s a communication problem. It’s almost a cultural problem, where half of our games don’t have parent’s attendance. There’s just a community, or maybe a cultural distraction that keeps people from focusing on community events. Maybe the way we conquer that is to work on the culture.”