Welcome to Band!
The mission of the Band Program at Peru Central School is to provide a quality music education through the study and performance of woodwind, brass, and percussion instruments. Students usually enter the program in grades 4-5 and may continue through grade 12. Instruction closely follows the New York State School Music Association’s (NYSSMA) sequential guidelines for music education, and incorporates all New York State and National Standards for music/arts education.
Todd Pray teaches woodwind, brass, and percussion lessons in grades 6-12. He also directs the PCS grades 6, 7-8, and 9-12 Concert, Jazz, and Marching Bands, and is based primarily in the Jr./Sr. High School. For more information than you ever wanted to know about him, read his Bio. For more information about the band program, please contact Mr. Pray at the information below.
Based in the elementary building, Ms. Winchell teaches band lessons in grades 4-5, directs the grades 4-5 Concert Band, and teaches classroom music to grades 6 and 7.
Also based in the elementary building, Mrs. Yonteff teaches band lessons in grades 4-5 and is one of the classroom music teachers for grades K-6.
In-School Instrument Lessons
Each student enrolled in the Band program is required to take in-school lessons on their instrument of choice. Most individual instruction occurs during small group lessons, so it is vital to each student’s success that they attend or makeup lessons regularly.
For detailed information on band lessons, please read Band Lesson Information.
Below is a link to the grades 6-12 lesson groups and schedule (be sure to scroll to see all pages):
In addition to in-school instrument lessons, all students are encouraged to explore private lessons outside of school with a private teacher who specializes in the student’s instrument of choice. Students taking private lessons usually grow faster as musicians and stand out in their ensembles. While long-term private study will yield the best results, any number of private lessons is helpful. We always stress that taking even one private lesson can benefit a student greatly. Starting private lessons over the summer is a great way to test the waters.
Private lessons are offered by many area professionals (usually music teachers or performers from the area) and can be very reasonable in cost. Lessons usually range from a half-hour to an hour and can include material such as solo literature, etudes (studies designed to enhance playing technique), scales, arpeggios, alternate fingerings, instrument care and maintenance, and a variety of other advanced studies on the instrument of choice.
Although private lessons may greatly enhance a participant’s level of success in the program, we do not require them for participation or placement in the program.
For a list of private teachers that may be able to help you, please contact me at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Elementary Strings | Grades 4-6
Instruments: Violin, Viola, Cello, and String Bass
To sign up for Elementary Strings, please fill out and return a sign up form. These are available from any PCS music teacher.
Most other questions about participation in the Elementary String Program can be answered by reading the
Elementary Strings Handbook.
Grade 6 Band
The grade 6 Concert Band is the main performing group for experienced band students in grade 6. It performs in at least two concerts per year (December and May). Please refer to the Jr./Sr. High Band Handbook for detailed information.
Grades 7-8 Band
The grades 7-8 Concert Band is the main performing group for experienced band students in grades 7 and 8. It performs in at least two concerts per year (December and May). Please refer to the Jr./Sr. High Band Handbook for detailed information.
Grades 9-12 Band
The 9-12 Concert Band is made up of experienced band students in grades 9 through 12. The band performs in two main concerts (December and May), but regularly is invited to extra events in the Peru community and Lake Champlain region. Please refer to the Jr./Sr. High Band Handbook for further details.
Jazz Ensemble | Upcoming Events:
Friday, September 14, 10th Period. All interested students are welcome. Please bring your instrument!
With a history rich in experiences that last generations, Peru’s Marching Band strives to continue the traditions of musical excellence that have brought pride, honor, and entertainment to Peru and the surrounding communities. No matter the size of the event or its location, they do their best to make each appearance a memorable and meaningful experience for both themselves and their audience.
History of the Band
In 1952, legendary Peru Central School Music Director Lynn Wilke began a marching band at Peru Central School with a crew of hopeful young music students. Before long, Mr. Wilke developed a strong unit that rivaled most bands its size and age group. It wasn’t long before Wilke was taking his bright and talented students to events around Northern NY and occasional visits to much larger events such as the World’s Fair in NYC and the Expo in Montreal for parades and concerts. The group even performed in the Groundbreaking and other ceremonies for the 1980 Winter Olympics. Wilke is often credited with building much of the music program at Peru, and there is no doubt that his 30-plus years as music director at the school left somewhat of a legacy in the community.
After Wilke’s retirement in 1985, Peru Central’s Marching Band underwent several makeovers and changes in organization and leadership. Its scope became smaller and more local, but no less important, performing in events such as the Peru Apple Festival, the Saranac Lake Winter Carnival, Fireman’s Field Day Parades, and other parades and events around the Champlain Valley.
Under its current leadership, the Peru Marching Band is made up of interested students in grades 7 through 12. Aside from Marching Band, each student also participates either in a Concert Band (now the main focus of the band program) or Jazz Ensemble, NYSSMA Solo Festivals, All-County, All-State, and/or other musical activities. Besides their music ensembles, many students in the Marching Band also participate in several school sports each year, other extracurricular groups to enhance their education, and hold regular work schedules after school in their communities.
Although they receive an average of 25 invitations yearly, they are able to perform in about six events each year. They are regularly seen at the Battle of Plattsburgh Parade, Peru’s Homecoming and Apple Fest events, and the Hague Memorial Day Parade. Other events have included the opening ceremony of the Plattsburgh International Airport, welcome-home ceremonies for our returning troops, local Heart Walk and Relay for Life events, the NYC St. Patrick’s Day Parade, and more!
Benefits of Music Education
Both hemispheres of the brain are active during participation in musical activities.
Learning and playing musical instruments not only improves coordination, self-discipline, and creativity, but it also increases brain function and development while helping us to become highly-functional and well-rounded human beings.
Explore the research for yourself!
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