As students enter sixth grade at Frederick H. Tuttle Middle School, those interested choose an instrument to be part of the school band. This Nov. 12, parents of these musically inclined students were treated to the sixth graders’ premier concert. Dressed in white and black, these band students played to a full house under the direction of Dave Grippo, FHTMS band teacher, with assistance by Barbara Wager on flute and Nate Reit on trombone.
Parents reported that the band performed a wonderful concert, noting their amazement that many of the students had never played an instrument before or read a piece of music. The students’ concert came after only nine weeks of rehearsing.
The band is part of the music program at FHTMS where students are introduced to a variety of instruments at the beginning of the school year, learning about different instruments at every band class. To afford more individual instruction, Grippo splits the instruments into different groups for the first five weeks. This individual attention is possible due to five tutors: Grippo/saxophone, Reit/trombone, Wagner/flute, Nic Cannizzaro/drums, Betsy Leblanc/clarinet, and FHTMS alumni Jason Whitcomb/trumpet. After the weeks of tutoring sessions, the musicians come together in the band room to play as one.
The November concert featured well-known tunes, a variety of holiday songs, and a powerful ending performance of Beethoven’s Ninth Symphony. Next up? The student’s spring concert is scheduled for May 13.