Northern Virginia School Joins MENC Staff for a National Anthem Day Celebration

Music teacher Jennifer Frazier conducts “The Star-Spangled Banner at MENC headquarters.

Each year on September 14 MENC urges music educators and others to celebrate National Anthem Day to acknowledge the anniversary of the inspirational poem Francis Scott Key wrote and to promote awareness of school music programs.

And each year music educators and their students respond with celebrations of all kinds to honor in song “The Star-Spangled Banner,” the flag that survived the bombardment of Fort McHenry in Baltimore, Maryland. The celebrations also help music educators advocate for their music programs.

MENC holds an annual celebration in Reston, Virginia, too. For the 2010 sing, music teachers and MENC members Jennifer Frazier and Jack Layne led a group from nearby Sunrise Valley Elementary School. Sixth-grade students, school administrators, and parents joined MENC staff members to sing “The Star-Spangled Banner” in front of MENC headquarters.

Staff members from the National Art Education Association, who now lease a suite of offices at MENC headquarters, also sang. MENC Executive Director Michael A. Butera (far left in the photo above) welcomed the participants.

The Sunrise Valley several perform several concerts annually, both at school and in the community.

Frazier said later “this was our first year to participate in National Anthem Day and we loved it! We were able to rehearse a few times with the students the first few music classes of the year and all were excited to venture out to sing with others. It was nice that we were able to walk over and walk back all in a music class period. Each fall we learn the history of the Star-Spangled Banner in sixth grade, so this was a fabulous addition to our curriculum.”

The Northern Virginia school has 642 students from K-6th grade which allows the school to have two music teachers. “I am here full time and Jack Layne splits his time between Sunrise Valley for four days and London Towne Elementary for one day,” Frazier said.

“Our students receive two music sessions with their class a week, except for our half day Kindergartners, who come once a week. Mr. Layne and I divide the grade levels almost evenly, so we both can partake in the many musical events. Each grade level has some sort of performance and/or musical event in their grade level,” Frazier explained.

Valerie Lister, one of the parents who accompanied the young singers to MENC, praised the Sunrise Valley music program: “It’s a wonderful music program. My children love it. We are so lucky to have our teachers.”

In the coming weeks, look for a round-up of National Anthem Day celebrations around the United States in the MENC News section.

Did your school celebrate National Anthem Day? Tell us about your celebration.

Roz Fehr, September 16, 2010 © MENC: The National Association for Music Education

Photos by Becky Spray