In the middle of summer, there aren’t many sounds in the hallways of most school buildings in the area as students and school officials prepare for a new academic year in September. But at two Valley Stream elementary schools, the hallways are filled with the sounds of brass, string and percussion instruments.
The Valley Stream Central High School District Summer Music Program is set to complete another season on Aug. 8. The program, which takes place five days a week, gives students a chance to work in a more close-knit setting with their teachers and peers.
Small groups of students — from third graders to recent high school graduates — meet three times a week for 45-minute sessions at one of two schools: Howell Road or Robert W. Carbonaro. The students are split up by skill level and instrument, but due to their busy summer schedules, many classes have a mix of beginners and more seasoned musicians.
According to Todd Holly, the Central High School District’s coordinator of fine and performing arts, there are about 450 students enrolled this summer.
“It’s great to see that we have lots of kids that are interested in learning about instruments or learning more about their instruments,” Holly said. “It will benefit them greatly as they come back to school.”
Those responsible for running the classes are music teachers in Valley Stream’s school districts, including Dan Creegan, the band director at South High School. Creegan, who has taught the summer music program for the last nine years, said it’s easy for him to see the improvement students make, especially the beginners, during the course of the five-week program.
“The kids that I see in the summer program inevitably wind up being my section leaders when they get to junior high school and high school,” he said. “They’re putting in the extra work and learning that work ethic.”
Amanda Guariglia, a clarinet player who is heading into ninth grade at South High School, has been attending the summer music program since she was in third grade. This summer, she is working on memorizing her music to prepare for her first year as part of South’s marching band.