Chris Peracciny leads two sessions of the high school jazz programs every single day at Niagara Wheatfield.
“At one point this year, just recently, we didn’t think we might have enough kids to, which we viewed as unfortunate, we thought maybe we would have to eliminate one of the performing ensembles,” said Peracciny.
With so many students expected to graduate this year, along with slow interest from new high schoolers, teachers and administration were worried about the program’s survival.
“In February, we’re trying to make plans, we’re trying to think ahead. What are we going to have in September?,” said Peracciny. “But, if you go to eighth-graders or you go to other kids and say, hey are you going to be in a band next year? When you come to the high school, are you going to play in the band? A lot of times those answers aren’t clear.”
Folks in the district were so worried that a petition was started online. At one point it had 1400 signatures and has since been removed.
But it did help peak interest. There are now enough students to have the program next year.
“We have a long history of running these three bands during the day and we want to continue that,” said district superintendent Daniel Ljiljanich. “We think that makes us unique in a positive way.”