Program will eventually expand to reach 6th to 12th graders across the Kent School District

In collaboration with Sunrise Elementary School and Meridian Middle School, Steel Magic Northwest has worked out the details of the continuation and broadening of the afterschool steel band program in Kent.

This program will eventually allow kids from the entire district, from 6th through 12th grades, to participate in the afterschool steel band program. This collaborative effort is a creative solution to the loss of space at Sunrise Elementary to keep their 25-year old steel band program going.

The program will launch on September 26, with classes meeting on Tuesdays and Thursdays, in two groups of 18 players each. There will be a 6th grade band and a secondary level band for 7th through 12th grades.

Enrollment priority will be given to those kids attending Sunrise Elementary or Meridian Middle School, and Sunrise graduates now attending other middle or high schools. Those students may register now. Registration for children from other schools will open on September 21, and a stand-by list has been created. If the demand is high enough, a third class may be created, but that expansion is likely not to happen until January.

The ultimate goal is a youth development program with high social and educational value, as well as high artistic merit. The bands will be ranked by age and ability, with the top group being by audition or invitation only. Steel Magic Northwest founder and Executive & Artistic Director Gary Gibson is an internationally-known steel pan/steel band specialist, and has taught the Sunrise program for the past five years.

“We’re thrilled to be able to continue and expand this wonderful program, allowing the kids who like doing it to continue doing it. This is how you meet the potential of both the artistic genre and the kids,” says Gibson.

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Gibson had previously announced the program’s continuation and eventual expansion in July. You can read more about that here.

[Source: Gary Gibson, executive and artistic director, Steel Magic Northwest]



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