Almost 80 Ramona Unified School District and surrounding area students have completed a two-week summer band program at Olive Peirce Middle School.
This was the sixth consecutive year for the summer band program, which is open to all students entering fourth grade through eighth grade.
“This was one of our most successful years in both the number of students participating in the program and the amount of parent involvement,” said Karl Lampe, program director. “The real success of this program lies in the selfless dedication and hard work of current OPMS and RHS students who spend 12 days of their summer vacation in July giving back to the band program.”
During the regular school year, Lampe splits his time teaching instrumental music among six elementary schools and Olive Peirce Middle School.
“I am fortunate to work with the majority of the students starting for the first time on their instrument and watching them grow into mature, musically expressive musicians,” he said. “The last day of school this year was charged with emotion, because I had grown especially fond of the eighth-grade class. After working with them for so many years, a connection had developed and it seemed too soon to disconnect. I was looking forward to the summer band program, because three outstanding students from the eighth-grade class — Altair Bearmar, Isai Castro and 2010-11 band president Taylor Romero — had volunteered to sacrifice part of their summer before high school to share their love of music with the younger students.”
In addition, six students from the 2010-2011 seventh-grade class from OPMS — Andrea Martinez, Michaela Evans, Olivia Croom, Kyle Jordan, Peter Judd and Shannon Singleton — also gave their time and talents to the summer program. Ramona High School students Eréndira Martinez and Lilia Baldauf, formerly Lampe’s students, were joined by fellow RHS Royal Alliance Band member Michael Jaquez. Two additional musically talented students just entering OPMS as seventh-graders, Shannon Linder and Meg Crary, rounded out what Lampe called an awesome group of tutors “ensuring that the summer band students crammed a lot of hard work and learning to play an instrument and the music with a lot of fun.”
“Each one of the tutors was totally focused on making sure that each one of the summer band participants was learning, growing, comprehending the material, improving on their instrument and enjoying themselves every minute of the day,” said Lampe. “It was truly a joy to behold, watching the kids that started with me years ago as novices become effective teachers, mentors and, as one of the students put it in a written note, ‘a really good friend.’ It was one of those moments that will stay with me for the rest of my life when I looked in the back of the room and saw one of the fourth-graders crying, because she thought she had broken an instrument, and Shannon Linder, without hesitation, walked over to her, gave her a big hug, said a few consoling words and then a smile broke out.”
Students and parents showed their appreciation by daily sending in cards, notes, e-mails and thank you gifts.
“Last school year the parents let me know through cards and notes that they appreciated the band program, more so than any other year,” said Lampe. “These notes mean a lot to me and I carry them around in my computer case and re-read them on the really tough days. I wanted the summer band tutors to experience the feeling you get from having in writing words of praise. We kept track of the notes and cards and plastered one whole wall with the great things written on paper that parents were saying about tutors. Two of the tutors, Taylor Romero and Michaela Evans received an extraordinary amount of notes and to recognize this achievement they were awarded with a certificate stating their achievement and $20 in Cold Stone gift cards each.”
The certificates and gift cards were distributed at the barbecue and concert organized by band parents and headed by Amy Everett at Ramona Oaks Park last Friday evening.
Romero, one of the students receiving many notes of recognition from summer band parents, is an A student. A multi-talented musician, she plays several instruments including piano, oboe and her primary band instrument, the flute. She was president and librarian for the OPMS bands in 2010-11 and planned and helped organize a successful end of the year band picnic for the middle school bands.
“Taylor is a truly unique young person,” Lampe said. “She is universally liked, works hard, demands excellence, and is infectiously enthusiastic.”
“It was gratifying to see the parents’ praise of Taylor’s skills and to be able to hand Taylor a certificate in recognition of the praise,” Lampe said.
She also was summer band librarian, managing forms, distributing daily awards and maintaining the large inventory of band booster club owned instruments.
Evans was the other tutor who received an extraordinary amount of praise from parents.
“Michaela has participated in band for the last four years and has always had an exceptional musical talent,” said Lampe. “She really came on to my radar last year in Summer Band 2010. We had daily contests that involved musical skills and I had to ask Michaela to discontinue participating, because she was always winning the contests and we needed to give some of the other students a chance at coming in first.”
Evans will be an eighth-grader at OPMS this coming school year and is involved in every instrumental class possible: concert band (French Horn), jazz band (trumpet) and an after-school ensemble (trumpet/French Horn) that takes on more challenging and advanced music.
She was the only high brass tutor with extensive experience and performed her duties in such an excellent manner that both students and parents noticed the positive impact she was having on the students. Michaela worked with, said Lampe.
“French horn is my primary instrument and I am pretty critical about who plays this extremely difficult instrument and especially careful about who is allowed to tutor on the French horn,” said Lampe. “I have full confidence in Michaela’s ability to be clear and concise with the correct information and she has never let me down. It’s also nice that the parents recognize Michaela’s ability to be an effective teacher.”
One of the requirements for all of the 14 students who volunteered to tutor in the summer band program was to learn an instrument that they had not previously played.
“Michaela took on the alto saxophone, which is about as far from playing French horn that you can get for a wind instrument, with her usual calmness and skill,” said Lampe.
For more information about the Ramona Unified School District elementary or middle school band programs and events, visit ramonahonorband.org, or contact Lampe at 858-472-4185.