Continuing a Holmes tradition
Shane has picked up summer band program where Callen left off
When the Holmes gymnasium filled with music from about 90 students for the Summer Band Concert June 25, it marked another
year for District 11's longest continuing summer band program - one that started in 1977. |
The tradition has been carried on by Holmes band instructor Ken Shane, whose duties came to include teaching the school's summer “band camp” four years ago when his predecessor, Bill Callen, retired after 25 years.
The students, directed by Shane, played more than 20 numbers for a full house of parents and friends. There were five band configurations - beginning, intermediate and advanced, and beginning jazz, and advanced jazz. The show culminated the camp, which started June 1 and went four days a week, 40 minutes a day, until the June 25 concert.
Callen, contacted by phone, said he started the summer camp at Holmes after seeing favorable outcomes from a similar program at his previous teaching job in Aurora. “It gave the kids the opportunity to keep playing,” he said.
Various other schools have had summer band programs, but none continuous for so long, Callen said.
“Bill had retired and he kept asking me to come up to Holmes,” recalled Shane, when asked what brought him to the school after six years teaching band at District 11 high schools (Palmer and Wasson). He'd previously taught eight years at Horace Mann Middle School.
Shane said he and Callen had become acquainted over the years at different district activities, such as multi-school musical performances and competitions.
“He'd been in the district for some time and been successful at every school,” Callen said. “I was very impressed with his work and wanted to keep the program strong at Holmes. I thought he was the best man for it, and he was.”
Looking back, Shane is glad he listened to Callen and interviewed for the Holmes job. “It's such a great age to get the kids interested in music,” he said, adding that he also gets pleasure from “passing on the music I enjoy to them.”
For the concert, Shane said several students played in more than one band, including some who are more experienced but are learning new instruments this summer. One student played four different instruments during the concert. (Told of this, Callen was sparked to remember the most memorable instrument switch by one of his students - a flute player who switched to tuba.)
Shane said that although he teaches no differently during summer school than during regular school, students may have an easier time learning in summer because they don't have other schoolwork and thus have more time to practice. He also credited parent support in this process.
He said he was “kind of surprised how good” the beginning band sounded at the concert - considering that it consisted of half students learning new instruments and half who'd never played before. He said there was no big secret. With the new students, “we work on their armature, how to blow and produce the sound, then they go home and suddenly they do it,' he said, modestly.
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