March is Music in Our Schools Month

By Marj Frew

March is Music in Our Schools Month (MIOSM,) and although school is not in session at this time, the importance of music in our lives remains the same. The Bennett County system has two talented music teachers who spend their days living the motto of MIOSM, “Music Changes Lives.”

Kolette Struble teaches preschool through fifth grade general music classes, and Jill Bolzer teaches fifth through twelfth grade band and choir.

Jill grew up in Winner, and has taught music for eight years. She has been teaching band and choir at Bennett County for two years. Prior to coming to Martin, she taught at Todd County for six years as a traveling K-9 elementary teacher. At that time she taught music at six different outlying schools. 

Jill shared that “Music was a big influence on my life growing up. I was in a children’s church choir and adult church choir  and cantored as well. In school, I was in band, jazz band and choir all throughout middle school and high school and attended All-State choir and region festivals and contests. In college at SDSU, I was in the marching band, concert band, symphonic band, community band and women’s choir.”

In her music classes, Jill teaches that no matter what happens, keep going. “We need to keep going and pushing ourselves even when we make a mistake. Those mistakes are how we learn. In music, every time we get a new song, it’s going to take practice to learn it. I have taught my students to never give up and know that all their practice will be worth it.”

Her personal music talents include singing as an alto. She loves to sing music from women with lower voices such as Adele. She also plays several instruments. “I have played the clarinet since fifth grade and became quite talented at it in college. I can play almost any band instrument efficiently, but not the guitar. I have started dabbling in piano the past few years but wouldn’t say I’m anywhere near Anne Lyon’s amazing talent.”

Kolette grew up on a family ranch near Belvidere, where she still lives and runs the family ranch. She is in her first year at Bennett County, where she teaches the preschool through fifth grade general music classes. She has several prior years experience of teaching, having taught fifth through twelfth grade band for eight years at Lemmon. She also taught elementary music and also K-12 music and band at McLaughlin. 

Kolette also has a lifelong love of music. “I have always liked music and started playing the clarinet in fifth grade and have continued to play. I learned to play the piano when I was a junior in high school. “I sold my horse to buy a piano so I could take piano lessons. Jo Christensen and Syd Iwan were my first piano teachers. Now I have piano students of my own.”

When Kolette was in the seventh grade the Belvidere Band, under the direction of Bill Goins, recruited her to join them. 

“They played lots of polkas and waltzes. I enjoy the challenge of learning new music for the group. I continue to practice with them whenever I can. I had the honor of directing the Belvidere Band a few times and started the New Belvidere Band, a group of young students who play for the annual Belvidere Memorial Day program.” 

Kollete earned her Composite Instrumental Music Degree and Vocal Minor at Black Hills State University. 

“My philosophy of music is that everyone can learn to play an instrument and learn to sing. When you learn music it will stay with you forever and you can do it your entire life.”

Music did indeed influence the lives of these two Bennett County School district teachers.  During March, and all through the year, they continue to find positive ways to change the lives of their own students.

See March 25, 2020, Issue for Full Article

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