I graduated from BMCC in 1997 after three wonderful years there. I spent an extra year at the school because I was involved in the music program. I am writing to urge BMCC not to cut the music or theater programs.

It's well-known that participation in artistic endeavors helps students in other studies. Music, for example, boosts skills in mathematics. But for students attending BMCC, that's not the only benefit. There aren't many outlets in eastern Oregon for the fine arts. BMCC is one of the few places where people can participate in programs like these.

Not only that, they provide a source of education and entertainment for the community. I remember the small auditorium being packed beyond its limits at every concert.

The music program had a profound influence on me. I still remember my days at BMCC as the best in my life. I maintain contact with Dave Miller, who is a good friend. Even though I hear he's retiring, the program must continue so that students have the opportunity to stretch themselves, to grow academically and personally.

I understand money is tight. But there must be options that the music and theater programs can take. Charging nonstudents for concerts comes to mind. I'm sure the families and friends of those in the program would not mind paying $5 for a couple hours to see the students who have worked so hard.

The fine arts are so important to education as a whole. Please don't shut down the music or theater programs. If BMCC decides to focus strictly on reading and writing, then (in the words of Mr. Holland), soon we "won't have anything to read or write about."

Tiffany A. Christian

BMCC Class of 1997

Long Beach, Calif.

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