OUR VIEWS: Music trip is too ambitious

Oct 25, 2012

It’s a time when memories and experiences help shape our young people’s future. It’s a time when kids should be kids, and not be saddled with the financial pressures they will be faced with in their adult years. There is plenty of time for that later.

Studies are a large part of the experience, but there is so much more — athletics, extracurricular activities, part-time jobs, relationships and getting your first car, just to name a few.

Many schools even provide students with the “opportunity of a lifetime” to participate in a school-sanctioned trip, oftentimes costing thousands of dollars. For example, the Grand Haven High School Chamber Choir and Symphony Orchestra are planning an ambitious trip that would take them to Carnegie Hall in New York City, then across Europe.

The projected cost? More than $3,000 per student.

We agree that this would be the trip of a lifetime — but on the other hand, it puts an undue burden on students and their parents to raise the necessary funds to participate. You’re not going to raise that kind of money collecting pop cans and washing cars. Even the most ambitious of fundraising efforts are sure to leave families scrambling to cover half the cost of the trip.

For those who aren’t able to come up with the necessary funding, what impact does it have on them, and how is that perceived among their peers whose families do have the means to support such a trip?

We feel that the harm it can cause would be significant.

There is a tremendous amount of pressure on parents to provide for their children, and this just adds to it.

Every parent wants to give their child every opportunity possible. But at a time when providing the basic needs seems insurmountable for some, we feel the additional pressures caused by these activities is unnecessary.

We applaud the leaders of our youth for teaching our children the concept of reaching for the stars, but we also suggest that we keep things in perspective and operate within realistic means.

A trip to Europe is a tremendous goal. But if it turns out to be too pricy, and fundraising efforts come up short, then perhaps a scaled-down trip would be more appropriate.
We’re sure those who can’t afford a trip across the Atlantic would greatly appreciate a chance to join their classmates and friends on a trip to Carnegie Hall that would certainly be remembered for a lifetime, without having to break the bank to get there.

Our Views reflects the majority opinion of the members of the Grand Haven Tribune editorial board: Kevin Hook, Cheryl Welch, Matt DeYoung, Liz Stuck and Fred VandenBrand. What do you think? E-mail us a letter to the editor to news@grandhaventribune.com or log-in to our website and leave a comment below.

Comments

J4ckanddab34nst4lk

Swagswagswagswag

J4ckanddab34nst4lk

Romney 2012

Creedance

Who let's these people write opinion articles here? I don't have horse in this race, but this has got to be the most ridiculous thing to have an opinion article on for the community. The Tribune should be embracing this. Let's see, this isn't a mandatory trip. This is an opportunistic chance for those that want to take part. The students have known about it for over a year. Not only is this a chance for them to travel the world, but it's a chance to learn responsibility and entrepreneurship. A student with enough drive and will can find ways to raise money. Who says they have to do it as a group? In fact, I had a couple athletes come over that are trying to raise money for a soccer camp in Europe they want to go to next Summer. They also said they plan to shovel driveways. Hats off to them. Big, big time thumbs down to the Tribune and this "editorial board". The sad part is how much the GH choirs have impacted this community and the Tribune wants to poo poo it. I wonder how many people have purchased the newspaper just to read the articles about how the choir did.

Normally I read the Tribune's opinions and realize they are out there anyways, but this one really ticked me off. So glad I don't subscribe anymore.

Lovin4

Having been a part of the GH choir program under Mrs. Lemon throughout high school, I would have dreamed of having the opportunity that the kids will have this spring. The GH choirs are among the best in the state year after year, and that can largely be attributed to the work ethic Mrs. Lemon instills in the choirs. To them, hard work and sacrifice are nothing new, and they get to reap the reward of performing beautiful music throughout the community and our state. What I don't understand is why the Tribune feels that this trip is too much for high school. As for cost, kids, or rather parents with kids participating in sports at the high school level can easily spend thousands of dollars over four years between lessons, clinics, travel, gear, etc. all for their child's love of the game (and maybe, for a few, the opportunity to experience a championship team or a sports scholarship). Why would we look at this once in a lifetime opportunity for the choirs any differently? Maybe it would be more appropriate for the Tribune and the community to instead come behind the choirs by helping make this trip possible so that all kids can go, without having to worry about the money. Just a thought...

jvc

Not all families can raise the money necessary for the sports equipment, trips, etc. Many talented athletes are left behind because of the cost. The kids themselves can work for it up to a certain extent, but there are only so many fundraisers that people can afford to contribute to...I'm talking about the numerous families in this economy who are struggling to make mortgage payments and put food on the table.

Lovin4

I appreciate and understand that there are plenty of people that would find the cost a burden. For that matter, I'm sure that there are kids that are working to help support their families needs. People need to keep the big picture in mind. 1- The kids have had a years notice or more about this trip. 2- Fundraising, while hard work, will contribute a substantial percentage of the $3000 cost. With the numbers given in the Tribune's article, 1/3 of the cost is already covered, and with several big fundraisers left, that percentage will only grow. 3- Life, undoubtedly isn't fair. Unfortunately, there may be kids that, after their best efforts, won't be able to make the trip. Others may have to choose between this opportunity and another (sports, hobbies, etc.). I don't understand the reason for the Tribune posting the article as they did. Wouldn't it be more beneficial for the Tribune and the rest of the community to get outside of themselves to give these kids an opportunity of a lifetime. How about an article about the trip and the fundraising details? How about the community stepping up to support these fundraisers in a record way? My best to the choir and orchestra program. I hope the community does rally behind you to make it possible for all of the kids that want to go to be able to.

jvc

I agree with you - I hope they do well.

Boater

I don't understand the editorial writer's mentality. Settle for mediocrity? Don't try if everybody isn't treated the same? Don't try because you may not succeed? Don't dream big? I cannot imagine going through life with such a negative outlook. Student groups have been going to Europe and/or traveling abroad for decades. It would be a shame for them NOT to try to make their dream a reality. Hard work and perseverance is the American Way. Or at least it used to be...

BackWhereIComeFrom

Maybe the Grand Haven Tribune should use their presence and weight among the community to positively impact the choir's ambitions by creating and/or sponsoring a fundraising event to help them raise money! Something of that matter would be much more productive than this negative article. I understand the points that are made in this article about the extensive cost on students and parents and the social pressure many undoubtedly feel, but this article was written and published in poor taste! Grand Haven Tribune, use what little impact you have left on the community by helping the choir with this endeavor, rather than writing an article from such a negative stance!

Tri-cities realist

Perhaps the trip to Europe is too costly for some families. That is understandable. However, with some planning, hopefully ALL the kids will be able to experience the honor and incredible opportunity of being invited to Carnegie Hall. Just like the old question, "how do you get to Carnegie Hall?". Answer " practice, practice, practice." I can attest to Mrs. Lemon's incredible capacity to achieve greatness. The natural voices of children in the GH school system are likely no better than in any other school district. But over the period of about 30 years, this woman has consistently coached her students to achieve greatness, likely far beyond many of the kids' imagination. And for that they have been honored. It would be a shame if any of the choir (and orchestra) members were not able to go to Carnegie Hall because their families could not afford it. I am not one for frivolity, but I am sure that these kids earned it. I have two hopes: one, that the school board could find the money to fund every choir and orchestra member to go to Carnegie, and two, that some benevolent members of our community will join me in donating to make this dream a reality. And lastly, shame on you Tribune, the trip to NYC would likely cost less than a third of the total cost to go to Carnegie AND Europe. So why not support this incredible opportunity, rather than complain about it? Achieving greatness takes hard work and tons of dedication, why not do everything you can to honor these kids and make a dream a reality?

ghmomma

MAJOR FAIL Grand Haven Tribune.......Why in the world wouldn't you encourage these kids to work towards such a worthy goal? This newspaper has turned into a rag.....

anonanon

Okay, so everyone here does not see what the tribune is getting at do they? This trip is going to do nothing, but subject the people who have money verses the people who do not. Do we really want our community to see how the people with the money get to do whatever they want and get it when they want to? The tribune has all the rights to say what they want and if you do not like it do not read or write under it. This is a trip that without the help from the previous year orchestra, would not have even been possible, so actually this trip should not be for this year orchestra or choir, but last years. I was one of the people who participated in the 2012 orchestra and had to work to do great things, but just for an orchestra this year to get the trip we worked for...... really I bet most of the people on this commenting are people who have money and get really far without working for more than a couple of seconds. Try seeing the world in the people in this community who have to work for a living and those who know the meaning of hard work. Keep your comments to yourself and just butt your noses out of the business that the people who actually work have to deal with will you? I understand that you guys think that way, but for over half of the orchestra and choir have you ever thought that most of the students parents are either single household incomes or even without an income?

Boater

If people commenting here are successful it isn't because they worked "a couple seconds" it's because they work HARD, make good decisions, have good work ethics and are responsible. Your ignorance is blinding. Hard work, whether it be employment or fundraising, pays off. If you sit on your butt and cry victim, you will not get anywhere in life.

Tri-cities realist

Exactly Boater, well said.

jvc

A generalization that is simply not true for everyone. A person can "work HARD, make good decisions, have good work ethics" and be responsible and still live in poverty. I can't count the number of people I have met that have followed the rules, gone to college (and grad school), and still are not "successful" in a financial way.

coloradohere

WHILE NOT HAVING FULL DETAILS ON THIS TRIP AS TO SPECIFIC ITINERARY, TIME, ETC. ETC., THE COST OF JUST OVER $3000 SOUNDS LIKE A TREMENDOUS TRAVEL BARGAIN...I AM A MEMBER OF A CHORAL GROUP AND WE HAVE SUNG AT CARNEGIE HALL AND HAVE BEEN ON 3 EUROPEAN TOURS AND BELIEVE ME, WE PAID MUCH MORE FOR EACH TRIP. WE WORKED HARD PERSONALLY TO RAISE THE FUNDS, MANY OF WHICH CAME FROM FRIENDS WHO SUPPORTED OUR GOALS, REALIZING THE VALUE OF SUCH TRAVELS.....FURTHERMORE, AS A FORMER HIGH SCHOOL MUSICIAN WHO ALSO WENT ON TWO U.S. TOURS WITH A BAND, THOSE MEMORIES ARE THE MOST JOYOUS OF MY HIGH SCHOOL DAYS AND THOSE MUSICAL EXPERIENCES PREPARED ME TO BELONG TO A HIGHLY PROFESSIONAL CHORAL GROUP, WHERE AGAIN I EXPERIENCE THE SAME JOY - MUSIC IS A GIFT NOT ONLY TO THE PARTICIPANTS BUT TO THE AUDIENCES AS WELL. IT IS A TOTALLY COOPERATIVE EXPERIENCE, EACH MEMBER BEING EQUALLY IMPORTANT TO THE QUALITY OF THE PERFORMANCES...MUSIC TAKES US BEYOND THE MUNDANE AND TO THE TRUE MEANING OF LIFE...BRAVO TO THE ORGANIZERS OF SUCH A WONDERFUL OPPORTUNITY FOR
THESE YOUNG MUSICIANS...

anonanon

Most of these students are not people who have a fall back of cash to fall onto if they can not pay for it. I personally raised a ton of money by myself each year I was in the programs I was, but personally I have tons of friends who are still in high school and they have lots of issues of trying to get the money for the basic of trips and fundraisers. One of my friends was told by Mrs. Lemon last year cause she was sick and got pregnant that quote "If you can not sing on key, either think about voice lesson, or do not sing anymore in choir." Are we really trying to teach people that only the rich get to do what they want and have fun? I have even heard many times by the music teachers that private lessons are the only way to be able to do anything. I was told my first year that I would not get anywhere without lessons, but I showed that up. YOU NEED TO SEE THAT EVERYONE DOES NOT HAVE MONEY IN THIS COMMUNITY.

Creedance

So because everyone in this community doesn't have money, that means that no one should be allowed the experience? Sounds kind of selfish. As you get out of your sheltered life, you will learn that some people are more privileged than others. If you can't afford it now, don't take it as an insult. Rather use it as motivation to make something of yourself so that you can give your kids an opportunity to have the experience of a lifetime. Mrs. Lemon has worked very, very hard at making Grand Haven Choirs the best around. So what if she expects the best from her students? By giving them a full year's warning, she isn't saying only the rich get to do what they want and have fun. She is saying, work hard at fundraising, earn some money, and embrace this experience. You can spend your life with a chip on your shoulder against the rich, or you can spend it paying attention to your own goals and ambitions. I am not a rich man. I couldn't afford this trip. There are many things I can't afford and I envy those that can afford everything. However, when I see something I want, I have always worked my butt off to get it. Choose your poison my friend, but the path you're going down right now is a losing battle. You will never build yourself up by trying to bring others down.

anonanon

The money that I got for fundraising was not for me, but was put in a pot for the whole group. Some that is even on this trip from a year ago. Every year I had $600 in fundraising that I worked for. I graduated from high school, and I see the world for what it is. I have educational goals/ career goals that will afford me a substantial lifestyle down the road that I have already started in school. What I am trying to point out is that some students no matter how hard they try will never get the money needed for this trip no matter how much they fundraise. Their parents are tapped out of money, and do not have all the luxuries that some of you think they have that can be given up to afford their kid to go on this trip. Lemon is making some of these kids feel like crap because they can not pay and she believes that they should go throughout the community asking for help, but most of these students do not believe in asking for money because they have pride and do not believe in begging or borrowing from ANYONE!!!

anonanon

The money that I got for fundraising was not for me, but was put in a pot for the whole group. Some that is even on this trip from a year ago. Every year I had $600 in fundraising that I worked for. I graduated from high school, and I see the world for what it is. I have educational goals/ career goals that will afford me a substantial lifestyle down the road that I have already started in school. What I am trying to point out is that some students no matter how hard they try will never get the money needed for this trip no matter how much they fundraise. Their parents are tapped out of money, and do not have all the luxuries that some of you think they have that can be given up to afford their kid to go on this trip. Lemon is making some of these kids feel like crap because they can not pay and she believes that they should go throughout the community asking for help, but most of these students do not believe in asking for money because they have pride and do not believe in begging or borrowing from anyone.

BackWhereIComeFrom

Anonanon, I suggest you save your comments and revisit them in 4-5 years to reflect on how ignorant you were right out of high school, when you thought you knew it all, and how much learning it turned out you had left to do! Graduating high school is only the first and smallest step in seeing the world as an adult. I guarantee that after one year out of high school you do not have the life experience to truly "see the world for what it is". Don't sell yourself short by thinking you already understand and know it all, because you are in for a rude awakening.

LessThanAmused

I'm not real sure what being sick and pregnant has to do with singing on key, but it does seem a reasonable request to me that if you're in choir that you be able to sing in key, or....take lessons. There are both rich and poor people who can sing, just as there are both rich and poor that can't carry a tune in a bucket, it has less to do with money and more to do with talent. This is the real world sweetie, not some moronic TV singing show. I've wished I'd had a decent singing voice since I was a teenager playing in bands, but the reality was that when I tried to sing I made Bob Dylan sound good.....(if you don't know who that is, Google it). As for you comment "Are we really trying to teach people that only the rich get to do what they want and have fun?"....I would hazard a guess that most folks who've been out in the world for a couple years didn't have be taught that the rich have advantages...kinda hard to do what you want without a supply of cash. You can have fun without money, but your options are severely limited without the ticket price. In the next 5 years you're going to learn a lot about what makes the world go 'round and a lot of it you probably won't like. YOU NEED TO UNDERSTAND THAT NOT EVERYONE IN EVERY COMMUNITY HAS ALL THE CASH THEY NEED / WANT. You learn to work with what you got and be thankful it's not less. Growing up is tough, good luck.

LessThanAmused

STOP YELLING!

Vladtheimp

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained personal attacks. Discussion Guidelines

Vladtheimp

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained misplaced comment. Discussion Guidelines

Tri-cities realist

Vlad, I can't believe this outrageous and immoral comment was allowed to be posted! What a joke this (I'll let everyone reading this, insert the noun here) has become! Keep illustrating the absurdity, the truth shall conquer the ignorant and the absurd.

Vladtheimp

Moderators have removed this comment because it contained misplaced comment. Discussion Guidelines

Vladtheimp

Wrote checks for my other bills, but not one to the Trib. Can you explain the personal attacks, or absorb the subscription loss?

LessThanAmused

Ahhh, the crown weighs heavy on your shoulders eh? A business owner friend of mine once told me years ago that "Sometimes it's wiser in the long run to lose the customer than it is to take their money". The thought occurs to me, that quote may apply here. :-)

Tri-cities realist

I may have to put a caveat on my donation to this cause... I will not support any choir or orchestra member that has the same mentality as Anonanon.

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