Take a few trumpets and flutes, a handful of clarinets, throw in some saxophones, add a dash of percussion and sprinkle of trumpets — mix it all together and you have an Instant Concert.
That’s what Charles County Public Schools (CCPS) students cooked up on a recent Saturday during the 2022 Elementary and Middle School Jazz Band Instant Concert hosted 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 Feb. 5 concert with the help of CCPS staff Katie Bohannon, Gabriel Gray, Joy Jones, Melissa Tevis, Megan Howell, Dennis Murphy, Susan Sweeney, Mark Pavlecic and Jackson Cummings.
“This is really to give our beginning band students an opportunity to perform,” Andrew Blumhardt, instructional specialist in fine and performing arts, said. “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 going into music education, a leadership opportunity,” Blumhardt said. The staff members who took part in the Feb. 12 event included Kaylyn Walter, Catrina Tober, Ashley Brumberg, Ali Hill, Tak Mato, Scott Burton and Kate Sellers.
At the Instant Concert, students in the performing arts get together to learn new-to-them pieces of music in the morning that they will play at a concert in the afternoon. Under the direction of CCPS music teachers and high school musicians and chorus students, the younger students hit the ground running, their instruments in tow.
“I wish I had this chance when I was in elementary school,” Dominic Taylor, a La Plata High School sophomore and clarinet player in the school’s concert 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 grader at Daniel of St. Thomas Jenifer Elementary School, didn’t mind spending his Saturday prepping for a concert. “I like making music,” said the saxophone player. “I came here so I could get better.”
For the past eight years, Jack Compton has been playing clarinet. The Piccowaxen Middle School eighth grader said he appreciates the free form nature of jazz. “I really like the improvisation of it,” he said. Signing up to play in the Instant Concert was an easy decision for Compton. “I like playing with other students. I can learn from them,” he said. “And maybe they can learn from me too.”
Charles County Public Schools provides 27,000 students in grades prekindergarten through 12 with an academically challenging education. Located in Southern Maryland, Charles County Public Schools has 37 schools that offer a technologically advanced, progressive and high quality education that builds character, equips for leadership and prepares students for life, careers and 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 programmes, activities or employment 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 nondiscriminatory equal access to school in accordance with its Use of Facilities facilities rules to designated youth groups (including, but not limited to, the Boy Scouts).