For the seventh consecutive year, the Herricks Public Schools’ Summer Music Program was a great success in providing students with opportunities to advance and broaden their musical aptitude. With 101 participants, enrollment has more than tripled since the program’s 2009 inception.
For four consecutive weeks, fourth-through ninth-graders received several hours of musical instruction five days a week. A typical day began with morning chorus sessions, followed by either band or orchestra rehearsals and electives. Small group lessons offered more one-on-one tutorials and practice time.
Students selected their electives based on their interests and goals. They studied chords, strumming and more in the guitar and advanced guitar courses, enhanced their musical awareness and creativity in the rock band and World Music workshops, and performed “I Need a Vacation” in the musical theater group.
Each year, all instructors are professional music educators, while current members of the Herricks High School Tri-M Music Honor Society and returning graduates volunteer as counselors. Many of the high school students completed the program themselves in their elementary and middle school years, and now serve as positive role models who understand the rewards, hard work and challenges that come along with learning music.
“I love the interaction with the kids and being able to show them music and how it works,” said Class of 2016 graduate Andrew Jacobsen. “It gives them something to work toward and look forward to as they move up.” Jacobsen, who had a successful high school music career that included selection to the All-National Concert Band, plans to bring his talent to the jazz ensemble at Adelphi University.
“It’s a lot of fun to work with the kids, to see a difference in the levels they are at and help them improve,” said sophomore Kaitlyn Louie.
“It helps us learn through the summer,” seventh-grader Admar Calavini said of the program. “Usually, people don’t practice [during the summer] and this is a fun way to stay with our instruments and make friends.”
In addition to the many experiences to perform themselves, attendees were treated to special presentations by professional Herald Trumpeters and the Long Island-based band Soundswell.
The program concluded with a final concert performance of two bands, two orchestras and choir ensembles. Small group and elective performances were held in late July. The students involved also had a musical head start when schools reopened this month.
“Just when I think it’s the best summer ever it keeps getting better,” said Director of Music and Performing Arts Anissa Arnold. “I’m so proud.”
—Submitted by Herricks School District