LATROBE – Music fills the air most days at Christ the Divine Teacher School, where 70 percent of the students in grades 3-7 choose to participate in extra choral and instrumental music instruction.
“Music plays a vital role in the education of our students,” said Lisa Thackrah, director of the music program. “Not only do students develop an appreciation for music in their daily lives, but they apply and hone the musical skills that they learn in a variety of disciplines.”
Students were invited to perform at the diocesan Celebration of Catholic Schools Breakfast; at St. John Parish, Latrobe, for Gaudete Sunday; and Latrobe’s Holly Jolly Christmas celebration.
They sing and play instruments weekly at school liturgies and participate in the bell choir.
“This allows them to gain a sense of pride and accomplishment in serving the school and faith community,” Thackrah said.
Music is used across the curriculum to facilitate connections and enhance other subject areas, she said.
“It allows our students to become more disciplined, more independent and more flexible in working together as a group to accomplish a common goal,” she said.
Thackrah is also an adjunct professor at Seton Hill University, Greensburg, and Saint Vincent College, Latrobe; a member of the Westmoreland Symphony Orchestra and Laurel Valley String Quartet; and an instrumentalist and member of the choir at her parish, St. Vincent Basilica Parish, Latrobe.
At Christ the Divine Teacher School, she teaches music to all grade levels.
J. Kevin Frye, principal, notes that Christ the Divine Teacher School is “blessed” to have Thackrah on its staff.
“She is not only a music teacher, she is a musician – and a very good one,” he said. “But it is the ability to translate her love of music to children, from preschool to middle school, that makes her in my view a true artist.”