Members of the FISD band were invited to participate in the annual Stephen F Austin Summer Band Camp in June. Seven members of the Mighty Indian Band were able to attend the camp where they learned alongside members of other bands from across the state. Under the direction of long-time SFA Director of Bands Dr. David W Campo, FISD’s Savannah Lindsey, Ryan Derr, John Jimenez, Abby Menjivar, and Brady Nolen participated in the camp’s symphonic band. Dr. Campo retired two weeks after the end of band camp which gave symphonic band members the unique privilege of being the last band directed by him at SFA. Riley Selman and Tessa Smith placed in the upper-level Honors Band under the direction of the new Director of Bands and former Associate Director of Bands, Dr. Tamey Anglley.
Campers were challenged with playing upwards of six hours a day over the course of five days to prepare for a concert where they showcased the music they had learned. During the 6 hours of playing their instrument, students had the opportunity to work as a full band, attend musicianship classes, and participate in masterclasses. In Musicianship classes, students had the opportunity to take their knowledge of playing their instrument to a higher level, and in Masterclasses, the FISD students had the privilege of learning from Instrumental Professors and Graduate Students on their respective instruments. Aside from the challenge of playing time, music selections for the bands were done in an effort to push the musicians out of their comfort zones. According to all camp counselors and clinicians, “If the kids aren’t completely exhausted at the end of camp, then they didn’t do it right.”
The general consensus among the seven participating FISD band members was a massive appreciation for the SFA music program. Junior band member and Saxophone player Brady Nolen as well as Senior band member and Percussionist Riley Selman found the specialty Masterclasses that band members participated in to be both challenging, as well as a rare opportunity to learn from musicians that specialized in their instruments. Junior band member and Saxophone player Abby Menjivar enjoyed the overall experience of playing music she felt was beyond her skill set and seeing it all come together with a group of musicians who had, for the most part, never played together before. Junior band member and French Horn player Savanah Lindsey loved the opportunity of meeting new people that love music as much as she does and further developing her own abilities.
By the end of the week, the bands were able to perform beautifully prepared pieces for their friends and family. FISD band director David Robbins had the opportunity to watch his students perform at his Alma Mata, under the tutelage of his former directors. It was clear to see that the band members had made him proud!