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Kelly Smith and Mila Koumpilova, Published November 15 2009

K12 Notebook: Ada-Borup offers free tunes to other schools

The Ada-Borup (Minn.) pep band is pitching its music to fellow young musicians across the area and beyond.

Director Richard Tuttle, who writes and arranges the band’s music, is posting songs on the district’s Web site, www.ada.k12.mn.us, and urging other bands to help themselves.

Tuttle says he decided to offer music for free because of tight school budgets across Minnesota, which oftentimes translate into cuts to arts programs.

“We’re all feeling the pinch,” he said. “It’s very lean right now.”

Besides, he was looking for a wider audience for his catchy compositions, and publishing his sheet music turned out to be too much of a hassle.

“So I thought, ‘You know what, I’ll just give some of my music away,’ ” he said.

For now, musicians can sample two of Tuttle’s creations, both easy-to-perform favorites of his students. “Winning” is a rocking anthem and a longtime staple of the Ada-Borup repertoire. “Don’t Need a Boyfriend” is a peppy tune with a “get to know yourself first and then there’ll be plenty of time for that” message.

Tuttle is not aware of any colleagues who’ve taken him up on his offer yet, which might be because word hasn’t gotten out.

“It would make me very happy to hear other people using my music,” Tuttle says.

Congress champions

Among the 18 teams that com/peted, West Fargo High School’s Student Congress team took third place at the recent State Student Congress tournament.

Of the 17 West Fargo students who went to the Bismarck competition, 12 placed among the 185 students from across the state who competed.

Students Abbey Immer, McKenzie Schwark and Conor Wright all were named state champions in their category.

Other students who placed in the top eight in their categories were Theresa Schlangen, Sebastian Carcoana, Kate Gunderson, Ethan Paulson, Jared Gibbon, Londyn Lorenz, Nick Strom, Dani Meyer and Kayla Hawley.

Top debaters

The debate team at Fargo’s Shanley High School has advanced to the “Top 32” round of an international debate competition.

As the top students in the Bickel and Brewer/New York University International Public Policy Forum, the students will be eligible to win the $10,000 grand prize and an all-expenses-paid trip to the finals competition in New York City in April 2010.

The competition gives high school students the opportunity to participate in written and oral debates on issues of public policy.

More than 230 high schools – representing 40 states and 31 foreign countries – registered for this year’s competition.

Readers can reach Forum reporters Kelly Smith at (701) 241-5515 and Mila Koumpilova at (701) 241-5524