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Marshall Music program getting back to normal

Cameron Brown directs the instrumental music program at Marshall Middle School. (photo courtesy of Cameron Brown)

Marshall Music program getting back to normal

By Kaila Mellos

The Marshall Middle School (MMS) music program tuned up to a big start this year. With more than 200 students taking the elective class, Cameron Brown, MMS director of instrumental music, is prepared for a successful year of music.

With a usual year ahead regarding concerts, Brown is excited to get the new and returning students back into performing. With previous years being affected by COVID precautions, this is the first year they will be moving away from the consolidated learning environment.

“Hopefully, this is the last year of the post-COVID recovery plan, especially with our current enrollment. There should be no reason for me to be doing combined consolidated classes anymore,” Brown said. “We’ll be looking to open up more classes and return them to the traditional string orchestra and concert band classes, as we still have one combined band and orchestra class: the advanced band and orchestra.”

Though many students enjoy being able to play in a combined setting, Brown is more than excited to get back to the way it used to be.

“It’s a unique thing, and we’ve luckily been very successful in combining the classes. We’ve still been performing at a high level and earning great festival ratings, and so it’s been terrific along the way. But I’m looking forward to getting things back into their right places,” he said.

With that being the only change on the horizon for the MMS music program, the program’s anticipated concert calendar remains the similar to last year’s.

“We’re doing our typical performance calendar with our two winter concerts on Dec. 7, and then we’ll be hosting our festival for band and orchestra at Marshall on March 15 and 16,” Brown said. “We close out the year with our End-of-Year Pops Concert on May 23 with another two concerts for our different groups.”

Brown is also hoping to fundraise at different events throughout the year with concessions and restaurant nights out, and parents of the program will be able to take some of the students to a festival and workshops.

“We’re hoping to fundraise enough to take the intermediate classes to an out-of-town festival and a theme park, like Knott’s Berry Farm. I’m also hoping to fundraise enough to take the advanced class to a Disneyland workshop called Soundtrack Sessions,” Brown said. “This will allow the students to go into a working soundtrack studio and record small snippets of Disney music. They get to record underneath real Disney footage and then [we get] the clips to watch afterward. It’s a cool opportunity.”

With fundraising being so important to provide students with outside-of-school enrichment activities, it was essential to make it easier to make donations toward the program.

“Last year, we started an official parent booster group, and we now have 501(c)3 nonprofit status. So, any donations we get are fully tax deductible. The parents that comprise the board of directors have been amazing in getting it up and running,” Brown said.

With two months of school is in the books, the instrumental classes are hard at work, already learning and practicing for their performances. To follow along with the calendar and to find ways to donate, visit mmsim.org.