DAYTON, Ohio (WDTN) – Dayton Public Schools celebrated the growth of its instrumental music program over the past year on Monday with “DPS Big Gig 2.0.”
The event brought artists and educators to a student body that had been without a band program for over a decade prior to 2017.
Over 50 middle and high school students who play in DPS’ All-City Intermediate/Advanced Band participated in clinics provided by a Yamaha Performing Artist and music director for the Houston Texans, Lamar Burkhalter, and the director of Winds for Winter Guard International Sport of the Arts (WGI), Wayne Markworth.
The clinics helped the band prepare for its upcoming concert at the DPS All-City Arts Festival at Riverscape MetroPark on May 4.
Additionally, students will be able to attend the WGI Percussion World Championship Prelims, featuring percussion ensembles from around the country. They will also receive complimentary admission to the remainder of competitions that will be held across the area throughout the weekend.
“Our goal with last year’s Big Gig was to get the students of DPS excited about performing and participating in the instrumental programs, and we accomplished that and more,” said Marcia Neel, senior director of education with Yamaha Corporation of America and president of Music Education Consultants, Inc. “Enrollment has shot up since then, and what better way to encourage the students than to do it all again. We proved that when there is an active program filled with passionate, actively participating students, the more others want to get involved. Yamaha is committed to the future of music education in Dayton, and DPS Big Gig 2.0 fires our ambition to give these students the inspiration they need to keep pushing forward.”
Fred J. Miller Inc., Hauer Music, the University of Dayton, and Wright State University also helped to support “DPS Big Gig 2.0” and local music education majors sat in on clinics and coached during rehearsals.
“We are so grateful to Yamaha, WGI and MEC for their continued support in ensuring that our music program continues to flourish,” said Justen Seay, academic coordinator, Fine and Performing Arts, Dayton Public Schools. “We’re seeing great retention, which is producing even greater musicianship. The kids are learning more challenging music and we even had one of our bands marching for the first time in a parade this past winter. We’re experiencing the results of the generosity and hard work that went into last year’s Big Gig and we couldn’t be happier.”