Nick Rail Summer Band Camp: Shaping Young Musicians

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curriculum as all the other subjects you’d expect to find offered. Then, in the late 1980s, the economy contracted, choices had to be made, and a number of summer classes were cut, including band.

Nick Rail of Nick Rail Music learned of the proposed cuts before the end of the 1988-89 school year. Nick Rail Music was Santa Barbara Unified School District’s primary vendor for band and orchestral goods and services.

Not wanting students to miss an opportunity to play music over the summer, Rail worked out a plan to reinvent the class, and the Nick Rail Summer Band Camp was born.

The camp’s primary goal was to offer band class during the summer, The secondary goal was to make it as affordable as possible, so lower-income students would have equal opportunity to participate.

Now in its 31st year, the camp is offered for children interested in learning to play flute, clarinet, trumpet, trombone, saxophone, percussion, or tuba.

Nick Rail Summer Band Camp happens at La Cumbre Junior High for one month, 8 a.m.-noon Monday, Wednesday and Friday starting June 14. Tuition is $125 per student for a month of instruction and is open to incoming 4th through 8th graders.

Rail has continued to support the band camp program, following his desire to give students a space to study music over the summer and ensure it would be equally accessible to all students.

Notably, band camp includes practice in concert band and sectional instruction. It will conclude with a performance, so students can show their family and friends what they’ve accomplished. Students of all ability levels are welcome to attend, so beginners should not be discouraged from participating.

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