ISSMA LogoEach year since 2004, FCS has participated in ISSMA events, but why?

ISSMA stands for the Indiana State School Music Association. It is an association of public and private schools in Indiana that hold music festivals and competitions each year. FCS is a member of ISSMA and participates in their festivals and competitions whenever possible. With over 10 performances scheduled for our schools performance groups each year, why would we want to also participate in ISSMA?

1. ISSMA gives our students a chance to perform in a different venue.

FCS students have many performances each year. Between Grandparent’s Day, Fall, Christmas, and Spring Concerts, there are over 10 FCS performances that are held in the Faith auditorium each school year. ISSMA competition gives our students a chance to perform in a different venue. It helps vary the experiences that our students receive, performing in different rooms, with different acoustic feedback. This helps our students to become more flexible musicians, always ready to serve the Lord with their talents, no matter the situation.

2. ISSMA gives our students a chance to hear feedback from third-party adjudicators

Often, as teachers, our students don’t always follow our musical advice. Sometimes students don’t always follow through on our suggestions to fine tune a measure here, or a vowel there. Hearing that same advice from professional musicians who adjudicate a competition can often cause students to realize their mistake and respond “Oh, now I see what you mean.” ISSMA provides an audio commentary by one judge to help students receive direct, helpful feedback on their performance.

3. ISSMA gives our school another “touch” with the community

At ISSMA competition, nearly every local school is represented by groups or soloists.  There are thousands of students that come to these ISSMA events every year. That allows our students to hear other performers, but also allows them to interact with students from other public schools. In this way, Our participation in ISSMA is strikingly similar to our participation in IHSAA.

Knowing that we will be performing for the community, we purposely incorporate sacred music in our selections. When we are rehearsing, I make sure to remind my students that they won’t know who’s in the audience. Yes, their parents might be present, but they don’t know who might need to hear the message of the song they’re singing, and how God could use the lyrics of that song to draw the audience closer to Him.

4. ISSMA helps encourage a culture of excellence in the music program at FCS

At FCS, our music department’s mission statement is to “produce independent, expressive, and excellent musicians with a biblical view of music”. The music department at FCS takes great steps to ensure that our students perform at their best, and “go home with the gold.” In fact, no choir or band from FCS has ever received anything less than a silver rating at an ISSMA Organizational competition.

We consider it a vitally important part of our job that our students not only enjoy music (which they should!!!), but also perform as good or better than any other school—not just so FCS looks good, but because we want to point to Christ and say “He is worthy of our EXCELLENT praise!”

Check out this video of our sixth graders preparing for competition! They will be performing in Group I this year (the most difficult level to enter).

Nate Jones
Christ-follower, Husband, Teacher-Musician, ASL interpreter