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Young musicians flourish at band camp

By Seth Leonard
sleonard@salisburypost.comBefore most kids are out of bed on summer mornings, a group of students at Knox Middle School is halfway through a rendition of Bill Withers’ “Lean on Me.”
In four days spent at the band camp, these budding musicians will learn, rehearse and present a concert for parents and administrators.
“It’s always an interesting scenario to have four days of rehearsal and a concert,” said band director Samuel Kyzer.
Kyzer, a 13-year veteran of Knox’s music program, has worked hard to build a tradition of music and instrument education at the school. Knox’s band has won four grand championships in the last 10 years, and trophies line the walls of the rehearsal room.
“We’re the smallest middle school band in Rowan County,” Kyzer said. “But one third of the All-County Band comes from Knox. Some years it’s been as high as half.”
Four students from the band got the honor of attending the University of North Carolina at Greensboro music camp. Grant money allowed the students to attend for free. Similarly, grants paid for the camp at Knox.
The Grassroots Grant from the Rowan Arts Council matched other funds and allowed kids who couldn’t afford the $75 fee to attend for free. Other funding came from the North Carolina Arts Council, the National Endowment for the Arts and the state of North Carolina.
The summer campers also got some help from three Salisbury High School juniors. Josh Schiemann, Robert Beaver and Sam Louis manage to wake up in time to arrive at 7:15 a.m. to add leadership to a very young group of musicians.
“They’re just great kids,” Kyzer said.
He said they would be nominated for the Service Above Self Award for their contributions.
Newly-appointed Salisbury High band director Dustin Mills is helping as well, and is tuned in to the children’s tone.
“They’re enjoying it,” he said. “If they weren’t it wouldn’t sound as good.”
The camp ran Monday through Thursday and ended with a concert Thursday in the Knox Middle School Auditorium.

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