SURPRISE! Congratulations to Ms. Anjali Sivaainkaran, selected as a 2022 WKU Distinguished Educator in the category of Performing Arts. Band Director Anjali Sivaainkaran and Assistant Band Director Christi Shores work to teach and refine the musical skills of current students, while also leading for the future of the program.
Ms. Sivaainkaran was hired in the fall of 2020 and was quickly known as an innovative teacher leader at Bowling Green Junior High and Bowling Green High School. She has continued and improved the longstanding tradition of band excellence by offering concert band, jazz band, drum line, ensembles, as well as marching band. The BGHS marching band does not compete. Instead of performing and refining one show per season, the BGHS band prepares and refines multiple shows each fall, similar to the college marching band experience.
Last spring, Ms. Sivaainkaran and Ms. Shores requested to meet with Superintendent Fields to share a proposal for improving band skills of students. Their plan was to partner with the Western Kentucky University Music Department and offer private and small group lessons for band students at both Bowling Green Junior High and Bowling Green High School. The Board of Education approved the plan, and the investment has paid off for students. This spring, a record number of 65 students earned All-District Band recognition through the Kentucky Music Educators Association.
Ms. Sivaainkaran and Ms. Shores also partner with universities and music professionals to expose students to opportunities beyond high school. Last fall, they invited the Mighty Marching Thorobred Band from Kentucky State University to perform at BGHS. Earlier this spring, Composer Brian Balmages visited both Bowling Green Junior High and Bowling Green High School to have clinics with students. The band also plans one major field trip every few years for the students to travel on at least one major trip while in high school.
Ms. Sivaainkaran and Ms. Shores have changed the efforts to recruit elementary students to the Bowling Green Junior High Band. During the spring, they coordinate visits to the district’s five elementary schools, taking high school band students to play and demonstrate different instruments. They then follow up with recruitment videos for each group of fifth grade students and their families to encourage the students to try band.
Bowling Green Independent Schools are fortunate to have Ms. Sivaainkaran leading the Bowling Green Junior High and Bowling Green High School Bands. Congratulations on the selection as a WKU Distinguished Educator!