Letter: Tuba City band deserves proper acknowledgment

To the editor,

I write this comment in response to the article I read in the Navajo-Hopi Observer titled "Tuba City Junior High Band performs" published June 2, 2010. I found myself a little disheartened after reading this article. I was a little taken back because the article had stated, "in the 1990s, the band did not exist." I would strongly urge someone who is going to make such a statement do their research carefully.

In fact, I was in band in 1990. I was a fifth grader who had just joined band at the Tuba City Public Middle School where Mr. Thomas Stuck and James Hamilton were the teachers. They were the not only the band instructors for the middle school but the junior high school and high school. Even though I was only starting out at that time I continued my band participation into high school and feel that it's unfair to say that the band did not exist.

Mr. Stuck and Mr. Hamilton were instructors of music that carried the Tuba City bands to competition such as state, regionals and other festivals. Mr. Stuck was the heart and soul of the band. He forced us to want to be the best, and he brought out that drive and that talent in the band. Mr. Stuck was a true lover to music and devoted to bringing students to develop a love for music as well. The band would not be what it was back then without him.

Any student that attended the public middle school, junior high and high school would remember Mr. Stuck and Mr. Hamilton because they were responsible for participating in marching during the homecoming parade, the half time shows at the high school football games, pep band at the basketball games and performing at the high school graduations.

I feel it's tragic and unjust to have an article print and make such a statement because music was once a big part of not only my life but I'm sure other past band members that were once a part of the bands in Tuba City.

I think that credit should be due to Mr. Stuck for his dedication and commitment to the students who participated in band as well as the community. To me, he is to be considered the foundation of Tuba City's music. I would also like to add that because of Mr. Stuck there have been students that have gone to school on music scholarships, attended conservatories, obtained music degrees and have continued to play in community bands such as the Navajo Nation Band.

I would like to commend Mr. Nesmith's efforts in trying to revive the music that once was the heartbeat of Tuba City. Maybe he can even bring back the oh-so famous "fight song." I'm glad that Mr. Nesmith is willing to tackle maintaining the fine art as it may not be easy with current budget cuts; he will need continued community support to successfully accomplish this.

Janelle Jensen

Tuba City, Ariz.

(Editor's note: The statement regarding the band's existence in the 1990s was clarified. There was only a brief period during the late 1990s that the band did not exist. The Observer regrets the error.)

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