Held during National Music in the Schools Month and Alameda County Art IS Education Month, the Annual Performing Arts Showcase took place on Sunday, March 23, 2014 in the Community Theater at Berkeley High School. This year’s Showcase marks twenty years of Berkeley’s commitment to using local taxes to fund music education as part of the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP).
The concert featured BUSD students in grades 5-12 performing in leveled bands, string orchestras, jazz bands and chorus. For fifth graders and middle schools students the PAS is often the first opportunity to play with a very large ensemble of 60-120 students. The students at all levels rehearse the pieces during music classes at school and then attend a required dress rehearsal at the Community Theater the day before the concert.
Believing in the power of large performances, the music teachers plan and execute the logistics of the Showcase including selecting the pieces, organizing and arranging the seating and creating the stage maps. See links to photos and video of the performances below.
Berkeley voters have a right to be proud that BUSD is one of the few districts in California that provides music for all students grades 3-4-5 and provides 95% of the students with the loan of an instrument for the school year. Books, sheet music, strings, valve oil, reeds, cork grease and all materials necessary are also provided. Since 1994, Berkeley voters have supported the Berkeley Schools Excellence Program (BSEP) that directs dedicated funds to music education, fully funding the music program for grades 4-8.
Since most middle school music classes are held either zero or seventh period, all students have the opportunity to continue music in 6th-8th grades. The middle schools hold several all school concerts each year, but the Performing Arts Showcase is the one opportunity to play with a larger group and to hear what awaits at the next music level. Parents and students are encouraged to stay for the entire Showcase so they can experience the growth our young musicians make as they progress through the program.