Borne out of the interest of some groups to start their own bands, as well as the recognition of a need to improve the overall quality of our existing bands, ScoutsTT, in collaboration with the San Fernando Scout District hosted its first ever National Band Camp from April 8th-13th, 2019.
The six-day camp, held at Naparima Boys’ College aimed to improve the performance capabilities of each marching band by training persons to play brass wind instruments and to improve the general musicianship of the their drum corps.
Similar Band Major trainings and band camps had already been running in the San Fernando District by Mr. Jeron Romilly of the 1st Notre Dame Sea Scouts, making it easier to expand to a National event, available to all Scouts.
Mr. Romilly was appointed as Camp Director and joined by newly appointed, Deputy National Scout Commissioner for Programme, Mark John, along with Assistant District Commissioner, Jorrel Bisnath, and Scout Leader, Isaac Thomas (Camp Chief) to form the core team that would plan and execute the event.
For six hours a day over the course of five days, the 62 young people registered underwent intense training in technical skills for wind instruments, basic foot drills, drum major basics and repertoire building.
At the end of the camp, 55% of the participants went from not being able to play a note on a brass or woodwind instrument or play a drum cadence to having learnt these basic skills.
Few beginners even moved up to join the 45% of intermediates on both percussion and brass/woodwind. Everyone, however, became more efficient and effective with foot drills and marching while playing with instruments, which together with excellent musicianship was one of the prime goals of this young but blooming project.
In addition, all participants earned their Musician Stage 1 badge on completion of the Band Camp.
The rigorous Band Camp culminated in a Band Display at C3 Centre on the evening of Friday 12th and a short street parade on Saturday 13th. Having learned some new skills and songs, the budding musicians were eager to showcase what they learned over the 5 days, playing two of the five new pieces at these events.
With the success of this first Band Camp, even those who didn’t get to participate are looking forward to the next opportunity to learn and develop their music skills. Hopefully this program continues to grow and develop our young musicians into skilled performers in and of exciting Scout Bands.