BENNINGTON — Retiring Molly Stark Elementary School music teacher Wendy Fagerholm conducted her final concert on Wednesday, leading a band comprised of students from all three Bennington elementary schools and the sixth grade at Mount Anthony Union Middle School.
The students had only rehearsed as a group once, earlier that day, but their parents were thrilled to hear them perform, filling the gymnasium at the middle school. The band was supplemented by area music teachers and former students of Fagerholm, who came out to show support.
The elementary school students played several songs under Fagerholm's direction, then the sixth grade band, under the direction of middle school music teacher Jay Sager, himself a former student of Fagerholm's, performed two of their own. Finally, the two bands came together, again conducted by Fagerholm, to perform a set of songs, culminating in Pyotr Ilyich Tchaikovsky's "1812 Overture." While the original composition famously features cannons, the students' version ended with confetti cannons,
Fagerholm said the annual concert is a good experience for the younger students. "It's great for elementary students to hear where they're headed," she said.
"I thank all the parents for all their support over the years," she said, "It's been wonderful."
Fagerholm began her teaching career at Pownal Elementary in 1983. Since, she has worked with students in Woodford, Pownal, North Bennington, Shaftsbury, Monument, and Molly Stark Elementary Schools. "The students throughout the supervisory union have given me great joy over the years, teaching me things often not taught while obtaining a teaching degree," she wrote in her retirement letter to the school board, "I am grateful for the opportunity to have worked with amazing students, as well as staff and administrators, over the years. Their continued support of the arts helped me grow as an educator. I've truly enjoyed teaching students throughout the SVSU, filling their lives with the joy of music over the past 32 years."
Derek Carson can be reached for comment at 802-447-7567, ext. 122.