In an era where The Arts seem to play…ahem… “second fiddle” to other disciplines in our schools and communities, it’s important we support educators by recognizing those who go above and beyond to support music education.
One such person is Randy Masterson of Saranac, Michigan. His story came to me from one of our customer service representatives highlighting a conversation they had while he was placing an order with us. She noted, “he is an administrator who has been volunteering his lunch hours to teach choir at the school. He is retiring this year but says that he is going to continue doing this next year, all on a volunteer basis (no pay), because he loves the kids so much and they deserve to have a music program.” Intrigued and inspired by what I had read, I picked up the phone and called him.
Randy originally began working as a counselor for Saranac Middle School. He has degrees in both choral music education and counseling, and eventually took an administrative position as school principal. He later transferred to the high school as assistant principal and counselor. While both the high school and middle school are known for their impressive band programs, no choral program existed. Last year, Randy decided to change that. For 15 minutes a day, three days a week, Randy began teaching choir to students who were willing to join him during their lunch hour. In December he and his wife Pam, who teaches elementary music, combined their efforts and put on a holiday concert consisting of 111 students, 36 from Randy’s “lunch time” choir. “It was the biggest crowd we had seen in a while,” Randy said of the audience.
Randy retired from the school this year, but will continue volunteering his time to maintain what he has started. When I asked him why it is he is doing all of this, he said “I love the kids; I want them to be able to enjoy music for a lifetime and they need positive experiences as youths in order for this to happen.”
The Saranac community is very lucky to have such an advocate for children and for music in their midst. We want to extend a heartfelt “Thank You” to Mr. Masterson as well as to all the hard-working music educators out there. You are an inspiration to us all!