While students are at Central, they have the following options for fine arts classes: Central Singers, Concert Choir, Concert Band, Jazz Band, Music History, Guitar, art, and theatre. In addition to these fine arts, Choral Director Katheron Latham is hoping to add a Piano class. Currently, Latham divides her teaching day between Central High School and Brown Middle School. Latham has a Bachelor of Music degree with a major in Piano Performance, so this would be an opportunity for Central to bring a piano class for those who are interested.
“I would love to use my skills in piano to expand the fine arts classes offered here at Central,” expressed Latham.
Over 60 students have already shown interest in the class through multiple sign up sheets posted around the school and in Latham’s classroom.
“I want to learn more about pianos and how to play one without spending a lot of money on lessons,” expressed Ashauna Parish, a sophomore currently in the Central Voices.
Students who wish to take the class would not be required to own a piano; they would practice during class in a piano lab, a group of digital pianos. The piano lab would cost about $35,000 for the pianos, headphones, and curriculum. To raise funds for the piano lab, Latham, with the help of School Counselor Chelsea Thornhill, is in the process of writing grant requests to different organizations and getting official estimates from music stores in the area.
“I would love to have us be able to have the funding necessary to start the piano classes this fall to give students this fantastic opportunity to develop their skills as musicians,” explained Latham.
A piano lab would be a unique opportunity for Central students; East Hamilton High School and Chattanooga Center for Creative Arts are the only public high schools that currently have a piano lab. Students would all wear headphones, which would allow her to walk around the room and assist individual students. This way, the students could work at their own pace and at individual levels.
The administration and guidance staff are supportive of the proposed class. Even though there is support and enthusiasm from students and staff, it is not known for sure whether the class will be available next year; it will depend on the donations received for the piano lab.
Students who would like information about the class or those who would like to contribute to the piano lab can contact Mrs. Latham at firstname.lastname@example.org