The following letter to the editor appeared in the print edition of the Belmont Citizen Herald on March 11.
For the last 15 years or so, I have had the privilege of teaching trumpet lessons to school age students in our town. The opportunity to do so is a special one. The students work hard and I get the chance to talk about music and art. Before each student graduates, and after their senior recitals are complete, I ask these young adults why they stuck with it. Why trumpet? Why spend all this time at this one thing?
Invariably, it comes down to a sense of identity. One student said that the band room was the first place they felt like they were doing something distinct from their peers. Another said that on the marching band field, she was among like-minded friends. Another said that the musical problems he solved gave him the confidence to meet future challenges.
Belmont students work hard. But amid that work, there are profound moments of identity-making. Students are figuring out who they are by what they do. A successful override will help ensure diverse opportunities exist for Belmont students to learn about the world and their place within it. A failed override risks jeopardizing those opportunities.
My kids are 10, 8 and 4. They are just beginning to find their interests, the interests that will help shape their identities. I ask that you support the override to give our young learners the opportunity to build their identity through music, the arts, and other programs that could suffer setbacks. Please join me in voting “yes” on April 6.
Mike Reavey, Belmont Street