Several years ago we wrote a similar letter applauding the music and arts departments in the Allegany County Public Schools.

Our comments are directed mostly to Mount Savage Middle School and Mountain Ridge High School.

However, both middle schools and high schools in Cumberland have equally dedicated and competent teachers for choral, instrument and drama. We also should not overlook the teachers that start all of these students out at the elementary school level.

We start with Derrick Shank at Mountain Ridge High School, who directs marching band, concert band, orchestra, and jazz band.

We then recognize Michaela Linn-Hale, who directs the choral groups at Mountain Ridge. At Mount Savage Middle School there are Laura Godfrey, who directs the bands; Jay Moon, who directs the orchestra; Erin Dettinburn, who directs the choral groups, and Jennifer Windle, who directs the shows.

Both schools had musical shows in the spring. Mountain Ridge did “Newsies,” a complicated show with extensive dance and music, and Mount Savage had “Dear Edwina,” a cute show about a teenager in Paw Paw, Michigan. who gives advice about life problems.

All of this along with the winter and spring concerts, the marching band season, including football games and competitions, is a large undertaking for these teachers.

They all get the most out of their students and make those students see the value of hard work and rehearsal.

We can’t end without mentioning the local studios that teach dance. Our granddaughters are involved at Steppin’ Out School of Dance, a studio headed by Natalie Bennett. The other studio is Wills Mountain Cloggers, where our other granddaughters learn that style of dance.

Both of these organizations had recitals recently, both of which were impressive. These students, mostly girls with a few boys, work hard in perfecting their dance. Wills Mountain is nationally recognized. The senior group has performed both in the United States and abroad. Again, the students get a life lesson that hard work and practice pays off.

The people above along with all of the coaches for the sports teams in the area deserve our gratitude for making our young people here better.

Please be generous in supporting all the extracurricular school activities or the sports teams as the budgetary strains make it hard for our school system to meet all their needs of the programs.

Dottie and Larry Hohing


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