Fillmore Central’s Lane Powell leads a rehearsal for his musicians at the high school band room. Powell and the band were featured in a recent promotional spot regarding the importance of music in the schools, aired during primetime coverage of the Jan. 30 Minnesota Wild hockey game.   ANTON ADAMEK/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
Fillmore Central’s Lane Powell leads a rehearsal for his musicians at the high school band room. Powell and the band were featured in a recent promotional spot regarding the importance of music in the schools, aired during primetime coverage of the Jan. 30 Minnesota Wild hockey game. ANTON ADAMEK/BLUFF COUNTRY NEWSPAPERS
The Fillmore Central High School Band and Director Lane Powell were recently highlighted during primetime coverage of the Jan. 30 Minnesota Wild hockey game. The Falcon musicians were featured as part of The Wells Fargo Prep Update, a television segment produced by FOX Sports North in conjunction with the Minnesota State High School League and written by Den Gardner of Gardner and Gardner Communications. The regular spot highlights Minnesota prep sports and the Challenge Cup, which includes fine arts as well. The segments are aired during the Wednesday or Thursday games of the Wild hockey and Timberwolves basketball teams. Started in the fall, almost 20 segments have been aired about different school programs through the state. The series will continue into April.

Gardner had received the idea for a story on Powell and the Fillmore Central Band when he spoke with MSHSL staff about doing a segment on fine arts activities.

"I asked them about an active educator who is well known in the music world in the state and Lane's name was given to me," he explained.

Gardner interviewed Powell for 30 minutes and wrote an article on his career in music and thoughts on the importance of music education. Portions of that article were then used to produce the television segment.

A link to that FOX Sports North video will be posted with this article on the Bluff Country Newspaper website at bluffcountrynews.com.

The article that follows is the original piece that Gardner wrote and is published with his permission and the consent of Gardner and Gardner Communications.

Music in Minnesota Schools

By Den Gardner

Lane Powell teaches instrumental music at Fillmore Central High School in none other than Harmony, Minn. No kidding. Had it not been for his parents and elementary music teacher, however, it might have never happened.

Try this anecdote on for size: He dropped band in sixth grade and didn't tell his parents. When his parents dropped him off for band, he hid behind the school. Really. Life lesson number one: Be honest.

Needless to say, he went back to band (or should we say they took him back). He learned the trumpet and the drums, plus many other instruments while majoring in instrumental music at the University of Iowa. Life lesson number two: Do something in your life that makes a difference for you!

Music programs at high schools may get less publicity than hockey or theatre or basketball, but 80 percent of MSHSL schools are represented by at least one entry at section contests each year. And there are 70 music events in which students may participate as a member of their high school choir and/or band and orchestra.

Lane, who is also on the board of directors of the MSHSL through his representation as a member in the Minnesota Music Educators Association, has a 21-year career teaching band in Illinois, Iowa and now 10+ years in Minnesota.

He offers some sage words of advice to parents about the importance of music in their children's life.

Kids are really no different today than when he started 21 years ago. In fact, kids today have more access to music (especially digitally) than two decades ago. And they want to learn. Life lesson number three: Encourage your kids to get involved in school music programs. It's an extension of music they listen to every day.

Some studies show music students test better in academics. Lane says the discipline needed to master an instrument (or voice for that matter) takes tremendous dedication and commitment and that carries over into learning. Life lesson number four: The discipline acquired while participating in music makes you a better student and ultimately a better person.

Refine your character through music. Everyone has character - you're born with it, says Lane. But more importantly, music REVEALS and REFINES your character. Life lesson number five: Looking for people with character? Look no further than musicians.

Finally, a little something you should know about Lane's character, discipline, love of music and how it carries over at Fillmore Central. The high school has 131 students. Nearly 100 are involved in one of the best band programs in Minnesota.

What makes it a little difficult sometimes is when his school gets in a state tournament. At the volleyball tournament last fall, his band was considerably smaller. Why? All but one member of the volleyball team was in the band.

When it comes to music in Lane's life, the glass is never half-full - it's overflowing. Lane says he's the lucky guy who gets paid for what he loves to do. Final life lesson: Get involved. Do something. Take pride and enjoy your life.

For more information about high school music programs, go to the MSHSL web site at MSHSL.org http://MSHSL.org. Or just stop by the music program office at your school.