NEWS Walnut Valley Unified School District
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE 880 S. Lemon Avenue
April 16, 2014 Walnut, CA 91789
Kelli Gile, Office of Community Resources
(909)595-1261 ext. 31204
Chaparral Musicians Perform in Washington D.C.
DIAMOND BAR, CA--The Chaparral Middle School Wind Ensemble, under the direction of Leslie Schroerlucke recently returned from a tour of Washington D.C., where they represented California at the National Festival of States, a yearly music festival sponsored by Music Celebrations International.
This year’s festival also commemorates the 70th June anniversary of D-Day. Groups are selected on the basis of audition and reputation.
While in Washington, the Wind Ensemble performed a program of patriotic selections and music of American composers at Langley Air Force Base in Williamsburg Virginia, Vinson Hall and the Lincoln Memorial in Washington D.C. The trip is a culminating event in the musical career of the students who have played their instruments for approximately three years.
This is the group’s third tour to Washington D.C., and it is a favorite of Schroerlucke, who strives to connect the 8th grade music curriculum with the students’ American history curriculum.
“I am very proud of the level of musicianship that these students have attained in the past three years,” says Schroerlucke. “The ability of 13 year-old students to prepare an hour- long program is a testament to their hard work and commitment to learning.”
Schroerlucke hopes that when her students leave middle school, they realize that music is a powerful means of communicating ideas and affecting people’s hearts. This connection is especially apparent when the students see the reactions on the faces of their audiences in the heart of our nation’s capital. “I believe that it is this understanding that will help them to become future participants and supporters of the arts.”
Eighth grader Samantha Blazek, trombone section leader, described the Washington D.C. trip as an “awesome experience.”
“It wasn’t just a great bonding time, but also a time to teach us, the students about our country’s past and achievements. Between meeting veterans and playing songs in the rain outside the Lincoln Memorial, I would do it all over again in a heartbeat,” she said.
“Hosting the Chaparral Band was a phenomenal and synergistic experience,” commented Fred Johnson, entertainment director at Vinson Hall. “The students were exceptional both musically and personally and had obvious respect and love for their director. Their musicianship and skill level is excellent, they played with commitment, energy and a love for each piece. I can say without a doubt they were the most well-behaved, polite and stimulating young band we have ever hosted. The residents were thrilled…. and this is a tough crowd….. they were playing to well-educated Military Officers with a high level of cultural experience and expertise. At the end we took some group photos and the residents felt so connected to the kids that they wanted to be in the pictures with them – all in all, many friendships were made that night. This young band plays well beyond their years and will sound wonderful in our new auditorium that opens in September. Please have them return and play for us again, it was a special night!”
In addition to their concert performances on March 29 and 30, the group also toured the colonies of Williamsburg and Jamestown, visited the Smithsonian museums, US Memorials, Arlington cemetery, and toured the U.S. Capital building.
In 2011, the Wind Ensemble was the only middle school band selected to perform at the Percy Grainger Festival held at Chicago Symphony Hall.
A salute for veterans: Chaparral Middle School Wind Ensemble shown with Conductor Leslie Schroerlucke and several military officers at Vinson Hall.
Chaparral musicians gather in front of Washington Monument.