June 14, 2006

Band Leader Wanted

Perhaps there is a Louis Armstrong among them, but they will never know unless someone steps forward to provide musical instruction.

According to Captain Colette Masom of the Riverhead Salvation Army, some 25 band students who are participating in a new Salvation Army program will soon be without an instructor. Their teacher, Chris Ward, who is the music director of the New York City band division of the Salvation Army, will no longer be able to make the trek from Manhattan each week to instruct the students.

"He really is a star," said Masom, who hopes to find a new music instructor who can provide training to the students on a weekly basis.

"The kids really want to learn," said Masom, who noted that the Salvation Army purchased all the instruments for the program with hopes to give the children who attend the Salvation Army Church and after-school programs an opportunity to learn about music.

"We play for the glory of God," said Masom.

During last Thursday afternoon's class, the students sat up straight, feet on the floor, and played the notes they were taught, one by one. First, a C.

"Now remember," said Masom, "to make a C, you don't need any valves."

The astute students remembered, and eagerly played the note. Next, they were ready to move onto the next note, a D.

They puckered their lips and made a buzzing sound to show their teacher they were ready to play.

And on the count of three, the room filled with the sound of horns.

"I really like the outdoor horn," said Iesha, who chose the instrument for its shine.

And Asia, who also plays the outdoor horn, said while her favorite type of music is hip-hop, she can't wait to learn classic band music.

"I love the sound it makes," said Tyler, who was eager to show off what he had learned so far. He blew into his coronet as hard as he could and waved it back and forth to show off his handling skills.

And his expertise will improve: Tyler and his fellow classmates are scheduled to attend a one-week, sleepover music camp next month, the New Jersey-based, 400-acre Star Lake Camp, where the students will get to hone in their music skills.

But when they come back, said Masom, they will no longer have a teacher. "We are hoping someone will step forward and volunteer soon," she said.

For more information or to volunteer your time and talents, call Masom at 727-3338.

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