Group of boys with teacher directing

DASD expands middle school summer band camp

Starting on Monday, July 30, over 80 sixth graders began participating in the Beginning Band Summer Camp, held at DeForest Area Middle School. During the camp, students learn how to put their instrument together, how to make their first sound, and other fundamental concepts of performing. According to middle school band director James Skaleski, “The biggest change this year is the expansion of instructional time and the hiring of six other certified band instructors for this two-week camp.”

“The students have already made tremendous progress on their instruments and already are much further ahead compared to students in the past,” says Skaleski.  “This is a huge change compared to how we used to instruct, where it was just one or two of us. The kids are having a great time and learning so much more.”  “This camp will help student retention, and we are able to dive into more advanced concepts at an accelerated pace, even during the school year,” he added.

“This will have lasting positive effects on our DeForest Area Band program for many years to come. I am very excited to see what the program will look like in 3-5 years at the middle and high schools,” said High School band director Brandon Bautz.

The camp is held three hours a day, from July 30 until Friday, August 10. The beginning band will perform a public concert at DAMS (5/6 gym) on Friday, August 10 at 11 am, where they will demonstrate what they have learned at the two-week camp. The concert will be approximately 20 minutes and conclude with a reception, hosted by the DeForest Area Music Boosters.

Teachers for this camp include (L to R): Brandon Bautz (DAHS band director) teaching Baritones; Stephan Cherek (new DAHS Percussion Coordinator) teaching percussion; Jason Marshall (Lodi HS band director) teaching trombones; Anne McAninch (composer residence at Virginia Center for the Creative Arts) teaching clarinets; Chris Forbes (music substitute in Waunakee & Madison) teaching trumpets; Melissa Ludois (elementary music at Monona Grove School District) teaching flutes; Charis Boersma (general music at Madison Metropolitan School District) teaching alto saxophones; and James Skaleski (DAMS band director) coordinating and leading large group rehearsals.


DAMS also offered a camp experience for current band students in the afternoon after the beginning band camp. The 7/8 grade Band meets Monday and Wednesday both weeks and the 7/8 grade Jazz Band meets Monday-Thursday both weeks. These camps are led by James Skaleski and assisted by Brandon Bautz. Their concert will be Friday, August 10 at 12 noon in the DAMS 5/6 gym. This concert will also be approximately 20 minutes, with a reception to follow.  Both concerts are free and open to the public.


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