As a student involved in the music program in Suffield Public Schools, I have found out about the opportunities offered to music students. Throughout the school year, and even during the summertime, there are numerous activities, many of which will be described below.
Just this summer, the music program held its sixth Suffield Summer Music Camp with 140 students in attendance. When compared to the 120 students that attended last year, growth is shown, even though the camp was forced to take a year off due to coronavirus in 2020. This camp is a great opportunity for music students to grow their skills over two weeks. After the two weeks, they perform the songs they practiced with their ensembles.
Throughout the school year, each school that offers music lessons holds regular concerts, which occur multiple times. This is an opportunity for students to showcase the music and skills that they have been working on for months. Each music-involved school has individual concerts. A new tradition has started where all music students come together for one performance as a district. This is a wildly successful event, allowing parents to see the whole program together, while also allowing younger students to see older bands perform.
There are other opportunities for students to perform. When students are in seventh and eighth grade, they have the opportunity to compete in Fantastic Festivals to earn awards based on their level of performance. This is a great experience, as students get to perform for guest expert judges. Afterwards, the experts work with the students to improve their skills. Some high school students have the opportunity to perform in the NCCC Music Festival. Students are selected by their director. This festival runs for two days during school hours followed by a concert on the night of the second day. These days they join students from other towns across northern Connecticut.
At the end of the school year, Suffield Middle and High School bands have the privilege of performing in the Memorial Day Parade in Suffield. These students perform as they march up Mountain Road. The high school students are easy to spot, as they wear their traditional marching band uniforms, complete with the hat and the feather, called a plume.
This coming spring, the high school music program plans to take a trip to Florida. They will go to Disney to perform, go to workshops, and enjoy the parks. This will be a great opportunity for these students to learn from professional musicians and share their musical talents.
Over time, the program has gained recognition, earning the award of Best Communities for Music Education from The National Association of Music Merchants (NAMM) Foundation. We can continue to improve the program by supporting it. Recently, there were meetings to plan a Booster Club for the music program. By donating at school music events or supporting the Booster Club in any way, you can help students to gain not only even greater experiences to enhance their music education, but also to create memories they will remember forever.