Take a few trumpets and flutes, a handful of clarinets, add a few saxophones, add a touch of percussion and sprinkle some trumpets – mix it all up and you’ve got an instant gig.
That’s what Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students cooked up on a recent Saturday at the 2022 Elementary and Middle School Jazz Band Snapshot Concert held at La Plata High School. The event was the second fine arts program of its kind held this month. Elementary Orchestra and Chorus students showcased their skills at a concert Feb. 5 with help from CCPS staff Katie Bohannon, Gabriel Gray, Joy Jones, Melissa Tevis, Megan Howell, Dennis Murphy, Susan Sweeney , Mark Pavlecic and Jackson Cummings.
“It’s really to give our junior students the opportunity to perform,” said Andrew Blumhardt, a specialist in fine and performing arts education. “And it challenges them to learn five or six songs in about five hours.” The program has another component for older students. “It gives our high school students, especially our students who are thinking of getting into music education, a leadership opportunity,” Blumhardt said. Staff members who participated in the February 12 event included Kaylyn Walter, Catrina Tober, Ashley Brumberg, Ali Hill, Tak Mato, Scott Burton and Kate Sellers.
At the Instant Concert, performing arts students come together to learn pieces of music new to them in the morning that they will perform at a concert in the afternoon. Led by CCPS music teachers, high school musicians and choir students, the youngest students set off, their instruments in tow.
“I wish I had that chance when I was in elementary school,” said Dominic Taylor, a sophomore at La Plata High School and a clarinetist in the school band. “I think you can benefit from working with other musicians and a teacher instead of just working with a teacher all the time.”
Jurrari Dickens, a fifth-grade student at Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School, didn’t hesitate to spend his Saturday getting ready for a concert. “I love making music,” said the saxophonist. “I came here to get better.”
For eight years, Jack Compton has been playing the clarinet. The eighth grader from Piccowaxen Middle School said he enjoyed the free nature of jazz. “I like improvisation a lot,” he said. Signing up to play in the Instant Concert was an easy decision for Compton. “I like to play with the other students. I can learn from them,” he said. “And maybe they can learn from me, too.”
About the SCPC
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 K-12 students with an academically stimulating education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that provide a technologically advanced, progressive, and high-quality education that builds character, prepares for leadership, and prepares students for life, careers, and life. ‘Higher Education.
The Charles County Public School System does not discriminate on the basis of race, color, religion, national origin, sex, sexual orientation, gender identity, age, or disability in its employment programs, activities or practices. For inquiries, please contact Kathy Kiessling, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (Students) or Nikial M. Majors, Title IX/ADA/Section 504 Coordinator (Employees/Adults), at Charles County Public Schools, Jesse L Starkey Administration Building, PO Box 2770, La Plata, MD 20646; 301-932-6610/301-870-3814. For special accommodations, call 301-934-7230 or TDD 1-800-735-2258 two weeks prior to the event.
CCPS provides equal and non-discriminatory access to school facilities in accordance with its Facility Use Rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, Boy Scouts).