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Banding Together

North Campus continues to grow Middle School program through addition of Band

The North Campus Middle School Band under the direction of instructor Jessica Watts performs during their Christmas Concert.

The North Campus Middle School Band under the direction of instructor Jessica Watts performs during their Christmas Concert.

photo by Donna Leadford

photo by Donna Leadford

The North Campus Middle School Band under the direction of instructor Jessica Watts performs during their Christmas Concert.

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“Make a joyful noise to the Lord, all the earth.” Psalm 100:1
Middle School students at the North Campus did just that as all 17 Fifth and Sixth grade students chose an instrument and began the journey of learning to play as Band was introduced on their campus.

“My primary goal was for the students to enjoy Band. We started at the very beginning, and they were quick to get the routine down,” said Band instructor Jessica Watts.

Ms. Watts leads the Middle School Band in Plano and traveled to the North Campus four times a week to work with the students there. She said, “They are sweet students with such good hearts. They are close and that makes Band more relaxed, because I can tell they are simply enjoying the time playing together.”

For the first year, the students played one of four instruments – flute, clarinet, trumpet or trombone. “One student asked to join on Alto Sax because her sister had played, so we added that,” said Ms. Watts.

In addition to class time, the students used SmartMusic on their iPads to practice at home, listen to music and also evaluate their own abilities.

“What I have liked most about band is learning all the different notes that my instrument, the clarinet, can play. And it’s been fun to hear the music come together,” said Fifth grade student Cozy Calvert.

Soon, the North Campus Band was ready for their first concert. Ms. Watts and Choir teacher Cynthia Arredondo arranged for a Band and Honor Choir Christmas Concert just before break.

“A lot of them were nervous. At least half of them had never been in a performance-type opportunity before,” said Ms. Watts.

Adding Band was an important step for the North Campus to stay competitive with other Middle Schools in the area. “It was a big deal and exactly what they needed,” said Ms. Watts.

This spring the students moved to Art and Choir, but the Band still has plans for one more performance. They will join forces with the 46-member Plano Beginning Band for a concert in February.

“We’ve arranged three special rehearsals before the concert. I can’t wait for them to be combined with the full band of instruments from Plano. I think they will be really surprised when we add percussion to the mix,” Ms. Watts said.

“My favorite song is ‘Ode to Joy’, and I’m looking forward to our performance in February so that we can show other people what we have learned,” said Sixth grade student Thomas Leardini.

“At the end of the day, I want us all to have two things in common – we love God, and we love music,” said Ms. Watts.

Sixth grade student Garrett Shirley said, “I have enjoyed being in band, even though it has been a challenge to learn an instrument. It has been fun learning the connection music has with math.”

The combined Middle School Band concert is set for Monday, February 13, in the Plano SLC at 7:30 p.m.

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