MERIDEN — It has not been a quiet summer at Thomas Edison Middle School.
Quite the opposite is true, in fact. Instead of silence filling the school’s auditorium, classrooms and hallways, they billowed with the sounds of woodwinds, percussion, string ensembles, ukuleles and voices, as Edison hosted the city’s first ever Summer Music Camp for students in grades five through eight. More than 70 students participated in the free program.
The camp started on July 12 and culminated on July 23 with students performing a variety of solo and small ensemble pieces for each other in the Edison auditorium.
The performances included short one act musical theater scenes, solo piano pieces, duets, dancing, drumming and more.
Summer Music Camp Director Ciara Picard explained students received small group and individual instructions and explored a much larger music curriculum and performance experience. They picked up new instruments, like ukuleles, learned how to compose music, danced on stage and picked up new marching band skills as they rotated through different activities.
Picard, who is also the orchestra director at Maloney High School, explained the overall themes were community building and forging connections through music.
“There are just some things that are intrinsic to the music making process: being together just brings the best out of each other,” she said.
For students who were distance learners this past year, the program provided in-person instruction. They were joined not just by Meriden music faculty, but a small group of Maloney students who provided additional instruction and support.
“I think everyone got a lot out of it,” said Erin Lyons-Barton, who is now the principal at Edison. For Lyons-Barton it was a joy seeing the building abuzz with activity.
“It was really cool. Especially in the smaller group settings, our students were able to do some things they wouldn’t have gotten to do otherwise,” Picard said.