By Kevin Kelley
Educators sometimes fret about students’ minds losing their academic edge over summer vacation.
Music teachers have the same concern.
But for 16 years, Lee Burneson Middle School music teacher Scott Rovniak has offered an antidote to such musical atrophy – his summer band camp.
Rovniak’s two summer programs – a concert band program for fifth- and sixth-graders and a jazz ensemble class for those in grades six through eight – concluded July 2 with a concert in the middle school gymnasium.
Fifty-four students signed up for one or both of the programs, with a handful coming from the Olmsted Falls and Rocky River school districts. The cost was $95 for either program alone, $120 for both.
Enrollment in the optional 10-day sessions has been steady over the years, Rovniak said.
Rovniak said the morning sessions give students the opportunity to play music during vacation.
“They’re getting their instruments out of their cases in the summer,” he said.
Most importantly, Rovniak said, the program introduces several new songs to students during a relatively short period of time.
During the school year, students learn three to five new songs in preparation for each performance. By comparison, students attending Rovniak’s summer concert band program learned nine songs for the final concert and read through a total of 20.
Rovniak’s students also had fun, he said, by competing in amusing contests, such as who could wear the craziest hat or best decorate his or her instrument.
Matthew Wallenhorst, a Lee Burneson eighth-grader who plays alto saxophone in the jazz ensemble, said the program is a great opportunity to socialize and play music with friends.
“The way Mr. Rovniak presents it is very fun,” he said.