Band students kick off holiday entertainment this weekend

For the fourth consecutive year,  elementary and middle school band students of Ramona will provide six hours of nonstop music from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. the next two Saturdays and Sundays, Dec. 6, 7, 13, and 14 in front of Albertsons at 1459 Main St.

All the students involved in the elementary instrumental band program for grades 4, 5 and 6 and students in the Olive Peirce Middle School concert bands and jazz band donate an hour of their time to play holiday tunes to the shoppers.

Students represent James Dukes Elementary, Ramona Elementary, Ramona Community School, Mt. Woodson, Barnett Elementary and Hanson Elementary in addition to the middle school. Over 300 students are involved this year in the band program, playing instruments such as flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, trombone, oboe, euphonium, tuba and percussion.

The students are asked to donate just an hour over the two weekends, but, according to Karl Lampe, band director, “Most of the students want to contribute more time, because it’s rewarding to bring smiles to the shoppers, and the kids genuinely have fun. Parents and older siblings of current band members are encouraged to play along with the students, and in the past we’ve had great participation of parents and older brothers and sisters.”

The holiday tradition gives the band students a chance to meet with students from other schools who play the same instrument, said Lampe. Students are scheduled for their hour of volunteer playing by instrument family, and more experienced students are matched with  newcomers.

“The older, or more experienced, students are expected to help and guide the younger less experienced students, so it’s a great chance for the students to create a bond and learn to play their instrument better,” said Lampe. “For example, on Sunday, Dec. 7th, from 10 a.m. to 11 a.m., 18 flutes are scheduled to play together. I’m really looking forward to that day, because it will give the flute players a chance to hear what a beautiful flute choir sounds like and be inspiring for the flute players to see so many other students who play the same instrument in Ramona.”

Five of the more advanced flute players — Lauren Steeples from OPMS, Serena  Lopez, Fallon Duffy and Cynthia Sanchez from Hanson Elementary and Oliva Langhoff from Ramona Elementary — will be tutoring the less experienced players on Dec. 7, said Lampe.

On Wednesday, Dec. 17, the elementary band students will combine with the middle and high school band students to play a concert filled with holiday tunes in the Ramona High School gym.

“The Band Boosters, consisting of parents of band students, accepts monetary donations and is always looking for musical instruments that have been collecting dust at home,” said Lampe.

Band boosters are seeking funds for the students’ annual trip to a band festival at Knott’s Berry Farm and a trip to band festival in New York City in 2010.

For information about helping the band program, contact Heather Kozakiewiez, Booster Club president, at 858-705-2853 or Lampe  at 858-472-4185, or klampe@ramonausd.net.

   
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