Summer band and orchestra lessons are a long-standing tradition in Ottumwa Schools.
This year is no exception. Band offered lessons to students in grades 5-8 for eight days in June. Orchestra offered lessons on the same days for students in grades 5-11. Student participants will perform in a final concert on Wednesday, June 21 at 9:30 in the Evans auditorium.
The lessons are a great way to keep skills sharp during the long summer. It’s also fun, according to Lizzy Maule, Nicole Sutherland, and Quintin Hull, all going into eighth grade this fall. “I did it last year and thought it would be fun to do it again,” said Maule, who plays clarinet. It also helps them stay in touch with friends.
“My parents pressured me,” said Sutherland. Her brother is also taking lessons so it made sense for the siblings to both participate. A trombone player, Sutherland enjoys music and has plans to learn other instruments, including the piano, the guitar and the ukulele.
Hull, a percussionist, just wanted to do it, he said. Even with an injury that restricts the use of one arm, he feels the lessons are beneficial. Piano lessons are also a part of his summer plans.
The students have also enjoyed learning the three concert selections. And band teacher, Pam De Boer, keeps it fun with a question of the day. According to the students, Wednesday’s question was “What would you invent?” Students shared their responses as a group at the end of the lesson.
“We (the music staff) feel that summer band and orchestra provides a nice link between the school years to keep students playing,” said De Boer. “It is an opportunity to work in a relaxed, smaller group setting learning new music and techniques.”