Summer Music Fosters Creativity, Collaboration and Community in Valley Stream

Summer Music Fosters Creativity, Collaboration and Community in Valley Stream Photo
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Music is a time honored source of connection and inspiration between the Valley Stream schools and community. The Valley Stream Central High School District’s Summer Music Enrichment Program culminated on a high note on August 8, after five successful weeks of musical exploration and creativity. Additionally, the annual Summer Concert Series provided six weeks of celebrations of sounds and synchronization.   

The Summer Music Enrichment Program provided young musicians in the Central High School District as well as District 13, District 24 and District 30 with opportunities to expand their knowledge, talents and skills and cultivate their enthusiasm for music. A total of 280 students participated in their selection of band, chorus or strings sessions led by district faculty members on weekday mornings. They delved deeper into the world of music, got a head start for the 2017-18 school year, built friendships and gained confidence in pursuing their goals.

The groups absorbed the positive impacts of musical expression as they became immersed in different techniques, practiced various concepts, demonstrated collaboration and experienced a range of genres. Students entering grades 7-12 attended workshops at Memorial Junior High School, while fourth- through sixth-grade lessons were held at Wheeler, Willow, William L. Buck, and Shaw Avenue elementary schools.

“For the summer music program I’ve been playing clarinet as well as learning how to play snare drum,” said Memorial ninth-grader Mary Chong. “It gives us an opportunity to remember how to play our instruments and gives us something to do over the summer break. We definitely get to do different techniques and different music.”

The program appealed to Sasha Karim, a South High School ninth grade percussionist, as a way to improve upon and engage in something she enjoys. “It’s definitely preparing me for band coming up, because I need to train myself more so I can be with the rhythm of the drummers,” she said. “It’s more teamwork than actually learning – it’s like a puzzle piece, to get each other’s rhythms together and hear the music more than just learn it.”  

“The summer music program was an opportunity for me to be experimental musically, and offered personal attention to the students,” said Band Teacher Stewart Ratzken. 

The Valley Stream Central High School District brought music beyond the classrooms and shared it with the community through the Summer Concert Series. During July and early August, residents of all ages came together to enjoy evening performances at the John Smith Band Shell. 

Co-sponsored by the Village of Valley Stream, the concert series featured Community Band and Orchestra ensembles comprised of students who performed in the District Music Festival, alumni, faculty members and other local musicians. They presented an assortment of melodies, ranging from contemporary pieces to classical songs by renowned composers. 

“The Summer Music Program in conjunction with the Community Band and Orchestra burnish the already impressive music programs in all of the Valley Stream schools,” said District Coordinator of Fine and Performing Arts Dr. Adam Erdos. “They strengthen the connections between the districts and the community as a whole and gives students, teachers, and community members a way to share their talents, enhance their love and appreciation for the arts and work collaboratively. They are a huge part of the reason why the Valley Stream is considered one of the country’s Best Communities for Music Education.”