It's been a while since the sound of horns and drums have filled the halls of the New Brunswick, N.J., public schools, but that has changed a lot in the past few weeks, thanks to a new partnership between the New Brunswick school district and The Jersey Surf.
The partnership was formed to create the specialized, non-competitive program, which is being designed to interest students in instrumental music and performance, and which will be a source of tremendous pride for the school district and the community at large. Twice-weekly after school rehearsals are already underway for a new district-wide instrumental musical ensemble, comprised of more than 60 dedicated students in grades seven through ten. In May of this year the district will take the wraps off of this extracurricular program offering – named the Sound of New Brunswick Drum and Bugle Corps -- when the group makes its first official public appearance in the city of New Brunswick's annual Memorial Day parade. Anticipation and enthusiasm are already running high among New Brunswick music educators, administration officials and students alike. Jersey Surf staffers are assisting district music educators in the creation of the overall educational program for the Sound of New Brunswick, with Surf duties including creation of musical exercises and parade tune arrangements, establishment of rehearsal techniques, equipment acquisition and uniform design. Surf instructional staff members and students from neighboring Rutgers University will be assisting the New Brunswick staff with the after school program, and to accelerate the learning curve, the new corps will rehearse along with The Jersey Surf once a month during the Surf's regularly scheduled winter camps. "We're thrilled and honored to be in a position to play a significant role in creating and implementing a project like this," says Bob Jacobs, Jersey Surf Executive Director. "We've been working with the district since the late fall, and we want to do everything we can to help to create a unique and rewarding program for the New Brunswick students. We've been blessed and we've learned a lot in the past twelve years, and we are very excited to have the chance to share our love for the drum and bugle corps activity with a group of kids who had never even seen a corps until just a few weeks ago. "The Assistant Superintendent of Schools, Dr. Penelope Lattimer, New Brunswick High School music teacher David Benus, and several other school district faculty and staff members have done their homework, and they specifically chose to create a drum corps because they wanted a program offering which was unique, specialized, and one which would create an immediate impact in the school district and community," Jacobs said.
Two members of the Sound of New Brunswick try out their mouthpieces for the first time.