Today's Kindness #287: March 6, 2023
The first National Music in Our Schools month took place in New York back in March 1973, and it's been growing in popularity ever since. We recognize the importance of music education, so join us as we celebrate this important cause. Get your kazoos ready; we've interviewed someone who agrees with the influence of music in our schools.
I had the recent opportunity to interview Mrs. Susan Kinnischtzke!
Susanne Marie Kinnischtzke is a semi-retired music educator who resides in Pueblo West, Colorado. She attended Pueblo Central High School and graduated in 1986. She received her B.A. in Music Education K-12 in 1990(cum laude) from Adams State College in Alamosa and has nearly 30 years of experience in teaching choral music. She taught at Pueblo South High School, Pueblo West High School, and Swallows Charter Academy. Her groups have been selected to perform at Carnegie Hall in New York, Chicago, and onboard cruise ships. While at Pueblo West High School, she worked to pass a bond issue to complete the facility to build a performing arts wing and an auditorium. She also created and wrote the curriculum for the brand-new International Baccalaureate program in music. She is a vocal music adjudicator for the Colorado High School Activities Association and a judge for Colorado All-State Choir, a private voice instructor and accompanist. She also directs the St. Paul the Apostle Contemporary Youth Band at St. Paul the Apostle Church in Pueblo West. Susan holds a Certificate of Distinction in vocal pedagogy from the Boston Conservatory of Music and is currently completing her masters coursework through Adams State University. When she is not making music, Susan is spending time with her husband Jon, two grown children, her two dogs Daisy and Lily, and her kitten Carl.
1. With every interview that we do, we always ask, "What is a random act of kindness you have read, seen, or experienced?"
- "During the last snowstorm, the conditions were so bad driving over La Veta Pass. Someone in an SUV went around me and made tire tracks so I could see the road since it was whiteout conditions so I could safely get to Fort Garland. That same SUV was waiting outside of Fort Garland to make sure I made it out of the storm. I don't know who it was, maybe a guardian angel! They drove all the way in front of me to Alamosa; they must have sensed how much I needed them."
2. Why do you want to share the gift of music with the people around you?
- "I know the power of music in my own life and that it builds kinder, more compassionate humans. It offers a way for people to express themselves in a healthy way and music is something that all ages and races share in common. It makes the world a better place, and we desperately need more of that."
3. What piece of music has impacted you the most?
- "There are so many, and each has a memory attached to it. It is impossible for me to choose, but one that I want played at my funeral someday is Let the River Run arranged by Craig Hella Johnson. It's the story of my life. And of course, The Awakening by Joseph M. Martin, Omnia Sol by Z. Randall Stroope, I could go on for days."
4. How does music impact the world of kindness?
- "Music literally changes the brain. It can create a flood of serotonin, inspire courage, raise your heart rate, make you angry, and make you cry. It offers a healthy avenue for self-expression and connects people in healthy ways, helping to create community and a sense of belonging. I have watched people become better humans because of their involvement in music, and see kids with incredible challenges come out of their shells and blossom. All because of the power of music."
5. What are some of your favorite things about Colorado?
- "Well, I love the beauty of the mountains and how we get to have four beautiful seasons here. I love to attend the performing arts events in Denver and concerts at Red Rocks in the summer! I am proud to be a Colorado native. Most of my entire extended family still lives in Colorado."
6. How do you hope music will change the world?
- "Since the pandemic and being so isolated, hopefully, the world is realizing the importance of being in a relationship with each other and music lets us do that. We are all pieces of the same light, we all have a light in us no matter what background we come from, and just imagine how much better off we would all be if we encouraged the light in each other. Music does that. It creates a sense of belonging to something greater than ourselves."
Thank you so much to Mrs. Susan Kinnischtzke for answering our questions and being an active advocate for music in all of our lives.
You can learn more about Music In Our Schools Month at nafme.org/programs/miosm/
"Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything."