Virtual band camp at Reagan High School becomes master class with professionals

Top musicians teaching Reagan High School Marching Band

SAN ANTONIO – Prevented by the COVID-19 pandemic from proudly marching onto football fields, in parades or even practicing in the summer heat, Reagan High School director of bands Daniel Morrison had to get creative.

"My thing with the students has been different doesn't mean worse," Morrison said. "We just kind of decided to just really go for it."

This year, the Reagan High School Marching Band’s summer camp was not only virtual, it became an “all star master class” taught by professional musicians, and even a dancer.

"Between the three band directors, we knew almost all of these people and were able to connect with them," Morrison said.

Using funds from its budget that in the past paid for competition fees, food, travel and other band expenses, Morrison said the professional musicians were paid their typical hourly rate.

It was well worth it, he said, given the caliber of talent that has been working with nearly all 350 Reagan High School band members.

But since the sessions that wrap up at the end of the week are on Zoom, Morrison said the band is unable to play in unison.

Instead, each musician can play their instrument, hear individual students use theirs and give advice, Morrison said.

Following is a list of the professional musicians who have been teaching the students:

Emma Gerstein:- Chicago Symphony Orchestra (flute)

Trevor Mowry: The President’s Own Marine Band (oboe)

William Short: Metropolitan Opera Orchestra, New York City (bassoon)

Michael Lowenstern-: World-renowned soloist and professor at the Manhattan School of Music (clarinet and bass clarinet)

Nathan Nabb: Oasis Quartet, professor of Saxophone, Stephen F. Austin University (saxophone)

Michael Martin: The Boston Symphony Orchestra (trumpet)

William Caballero: Pittsburgh Symphony (French horn)

Colin Williams: New York Philharmonic (trombone)

Jeremy McBride: U.S. Army Band-Pershing’s Own (euphonium)

Zach Bridges: U.S. Army Band-Pershing’s Own (tuba)

Cameron Leach: Soloist (percussion),

Mark Ford: Professor of Percussion at the University of North Texas

Morgan McGhee: Broadway performer (color guard and dance)

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