Band Camp! We were fortunate to have the opportunity to have forty-three students in our Middle School Summer Jam Band Camp. This was an eight day camp, with three hours a day of instruction. In addition to our outstanding SVUSD music instructors Veronica Tonus and Bob Gossett, we had more than a half dozen volunteers including local community members, high school students and college students to lead sections. This allowed high quality instruction in small groups by talented local musicians. Funded by Sonoma Jazz+ (and entirely free to the participants), the camp format allowed students to play as a band, in small groups, and during open mike sessions each day. The camp culminated with a very well attended concert in the Amphitheater on the Sonoma Plaza.
Why are we so excited about this? Because, quite simply, the health of our band program at Sonoma Valley High School (SVHS) depends on strong programs in elementary and middle schools, which “feed” already proficient musicians to the SVHS. Few students start playing instruments after early middle school, so encouraging this age group is a key goal of our District Wide Music Committee. And it works. Bob Gossett reported on one young student who came the first day and whose demeanor screamed out, “WHY IS MY MOM MAKING ME GO TO THIS STUPID CAMP?” But when he started playing new music with his sectional leader, his whole attitude changed. He had fun, improved his skills, and even brought sheet music to camp to share with others!
Thanks to everyone who made this such a success!