Middle School Drum Line Serenades Columbia Mall-Goers

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COLUMBIA - Smithton Middle School's drum line made its debut public performance, outside its school walls, Friday evening at the Columbia Mall.

"It's fun to beat on loud things and the rhythm sounds cool," Smithton 8th grader Brandon Farris said.  

March is national Music in Our Schools month. Smithton's performance is the fourth and final performance at the mall this week meant to promote investment in school music programs. 

"It just makes me feel great every time we play," Farris said. 

Band director Brooksie Collins said Columbia Public Schools makes fine arts a priority, but there is room for improvement in the budget.  

"With so many standardized tests and so much hinging on all of our, the big tests and all the data, it's really hard for people to justify giving things that help with creativity and emotional type feelings," Collins said.  

Columbia Public Schools' fine arts coordinator James Melton said the district makes music a priority and did not make any program cuts this past year. 

Not only is it fun for the students to perform, they also have the opportunity to win some money for their school music programs.  The performances are a part of a week-long competition. Whichever school earns the most votes on Columbia Mall's Facebook page will earn $500 to go toward its program.  Audience members at the Columbia Mall's food court shopped and ate while the musicians played.