From sharing their music at a senior citizen tea, to volunteering at a Zac Brown Band concert, the student-run Tri-M® chapter at Prospect Mountain High School in Alton, New Hampshire, plays a unifying role in its community. Prospect Mountain, chapter 5252, is the 2013-14 High School Chapter of the Year, chosen after applying four times previously.
The Tri-M Music Honor Society®, a program of the National Association for Music Education (NAfME), is the international music honor society for middle/junior-high and high school music students. It’s designed to recognize students for their academic and musical achievements, reward them for their accomplishments and service activities, and inspire other music students to excel at music and leadership.
Each year, student chapters share their achievements with NAfME when they apply for the honor of High School or Middle/Junior-High School Tri-M Chapter of the Year.
Each chapter provides details of their activities, operations, and special projects. In their Chapter Summary Report students also discuss how they participate in NAfME’s Music In Our Schools Month® and on behalf of affiliate Give a Note Foundation.
Music Educator and 2013-14 Tri-M Chapter of the Year Advisor Jamie Bolduc discusses Prospect Mountain’s chapter and its activities.
How did you learn about the Tri-M program? When was your chapter chartered?
I learned about Tri-M through mailings and ads in the journals put out by NAfME (at the time MENC). I was interested in exactly what it was and how it would help my students, so I went to the website and did my research. In the beginning of the 2006 school year we began our Tri-M Chapter.
Describe your music program. What classes do you teach?
We have two teachers at Prospect Mountain High School. Tom Stevens teaches Band, Guitar, Music Recording, Music Theory, and Jazz Band, and is the head of our theater crew. I teach Mixed Choir, Select Choir, Introduction to Music and Music Performance, Intermediate Piano, and World Drumming.
Had you entered your school in the Chapter of the Year competition previously?
We had entered for the past four years starting in 2011.
What are the Tri-M activities your students enjoy the most?
My students love hosting our senior citizen tea parties. They love getting to know our senior citizen population and performing for them. They also enjoy the Meadowbrook Foundation Guitar Raffle Fundraising event we do in the summer because they get to see each other during the summer months, but they also get to attend some free concerts thanks to the Meadowbrook Foundation.
Each year the Meadowbrook Foundation gets a guitar donated to them, and they request that each act who performs on the main stage autograph a guitar. So acts like Willie Nelson, Def Leppard, Zac Brown Band, and Steely Dan, to name a few, sign the guitar. The students sell raffle tickets at the concerts. This event benefits nine school music and performing arts programs in the Lakes Region. Last year each school was given $1,500 each. The year before, it was $2000 each.
They even allow the students to stay and watch the main performance the evenings their school sells tickets. This past year not only did the Meadowbrook Foundation assist us with participation in the guitar raffle, they also gave a grant to each school for things they requested.
Prospect Mountain received $3,100 towards 4 iPads and money towards Smart Music. They are a wonderful organization that is so supportive of our Arts programs in the Lakes Region.
Has your chapter impacted your community? In what way?
We’ve offered instrumental lessons to our elementary and middle school students. We’ve built a bond with our senior citizen community through our Teas. We have provided Caroling for the Festival of Trees, and donated funds earned to the local food bank. Our music department, not just Tri-M, welcomes our community in to learn about music.
As the chapter advisor, do you believe your work with students offers professional development benefits for you?
Yes, I assist in a lot of the planning and development for projects the chapter puts together. Being the chapter advisor provides me with job-embedded professional development in leadership, and how to work with students in teaching the leadership qualities that will assist them in the future.
Tri-M aims to teach leadership skills for students. How has that worked in your chapter?
My chapter is student-run. I am simply the adult in the group, there to supervise and to assist by guiding conversations, as well as being the contact person between schools or other professional organizations. My students run the chapter; they are the leaders.
How do school administrators view the program?
My administration is very supportive of the program, and has approved all of the activities we have provided for younger students and senior citizens in our communities.
What would you say to a teacher who might be considering starting a chapter, particularly those who say they are too busy to have a chapter?
You are never too busy to enrich the lives of your students. It is a benefit to your [music] program and your students to have a Tri-M Chapter, Junior or Senior Division. It is an honor for those students who wish to put in the time to make their music program great. You don’t have to have a meeting every week, but work the time into your schedule and remember that this is a student-run organization. You are the advisor there to guide the students along the paths they have chosen to tackle.
Bouldac will speak on April 11 at the 54th Eastern Division Biennial In-Service Conference in Providence. Addressing the Tri-M Music Student Leadership Conference. Her topic is “Music Events to Educate Your Community.”
The 2013-14 Middle/Junior-High School Chapter of the Year is Chesterfield-Ruby Middle School, in Chesterfield, South Carolina. Advisor Brandon Sanders says he believes Tri-M helps develop “the whole child.”
Active chapters can apply for the 2014-15 Chapter of the Year. For more information about Tri-M, click here.
Roz Fehr, NAfME Communications Content Developer, March 26, 2015. © National Association for Music Education (NAfME.org).