The Northland Youth Music Program started in 1999 as the Duluth/Superior Area Youth Wind Band Program. The program was conceived by a group of parents and interested citizens who recognized the need for an affordable high quality band program for students in 7th through 12th grade. By the second year N.Y.M.P. opened the program to all students from 6th grade through high school who would like to participate. Students who are younger playing instruments, may audition at the beginning of the camp week to attend. The N.Y.M.P. provides students participating in a school band or orchestra program (students in alternative schooling welcome) a high quality affordable extracurricular music opportunities.
Bob Greenberg program director:
In Park Forest IL in the late 60's there was a marvelous summer music program that met every day during the summer for a few weeks. The instructor Mr. Chuck Fletcher directed two bands. Mr. Fletcher had the biggest heart He didn't care who you were or if you could pay for the program Mr. Fletcher only asked students to work hard and love music. At the end of each program first time parents who went to the concerts would always walk away amazed their child could learn so much and perform at such a high level in such a short time. Please help the N.Y.M.P. continue to make memories for your children and enjoy the amazing music these students perform after their four days in the program. Studies show most professionals, doctors, lawyers, and even politicians
were involved in music. Music is what gave them the discipline to achieve their life goals! It's time to give our children the opportunities we were given growing up!
Article written in 2009
20 years ago when I was a trauma nurse working in a Chicago emergency room I received the lost children in the emergency room, lost junior high and high school students that found their way on drugs, in gangs, and out of school. One night a 15 year old boy arrived in the emergency room shot in the head, I had seen him in the emergency room three times during the month because of gang violence but this time he was not going to go home, graduate high school, go to college or have any of the experiences we hold so dear in our lives. He was shot for his cool winter coat. This kid was not a bad kid. I remember talking to him about going to college and staying in school and staying off the streets. I remember to this day I muttered if I am ever able to make a difference in a teen’s life I will.
Ten years ago I came up with an idea to hold a music program for school age students who were already involved in their music programs in school, but may not be able to attend an extra program because of family financial constraints. I had approached friends, music teachers, and musicians pointing out the amount of poverty in our immediate area hoping one of them would want to start a program. A year latter I started organizing a non profit program with friends and educators offering to help if I was successful raising funds. We decided the most effective program in our region to make the biggest impact, would be to hold a summer music education program. The program would include a concert band program consisting of chamber ensembles, multiple classes, and private lessons a jazz band program concentrating on big band, combos, and multiple classes including jazz history, improvisation, theory, and private lessons.
Dr. Greg Kehl Moore Director of Jazz Studies at the University of Wisconsin – Superior and Brad Bombardier adjunct woodwind professor joined the N.Y.M.P. board during initial planning. With their assistance classrooms and auditoriums were provided free of charge. With the University’s assistance we were able to get past the first hurdle making an affordable summer program. Though the on campus fees have gone up over the past three years for on campus students, the early tuition price has stayed steady at $75 per week which is all a commuter student pays.
Bruce Rapp a founding board member, a Twin Ports musician, WWII veteran, and a great personal friend stated that his goal becoming involved in the N.Y.M.P. was to assure that performing arts were not lost by this generation’s youth, because of school budget cuts. He wanted to give the joy of music to the next generation to carry on. During a radio interview in 2002, Bruce said he wanted to make sure before he passed away that students continued to have affordable opportunities to be involved in music and to keep music programs alive and strong. Bruce said that he wanted to see the continuance of the performance of live music. Bruce told the audience that if we don’t support the development of these young musicians the “old timers” such as his self would be “playing” at their own funerals. In February 2003 Bruce passed away.
The N.Y.M.P. felt if you can get many students involved in a program that other students may not be able to afford, all the students would be able to benefit. Built in to the N.Y.M.P. by laws is that no local student would be turned away because of inability to pay tuition.
This concept of being all inclusive was very idealistic and risky not knowing if we could raise the money to offset the lower cost of tuition, attract quality instructors, and get the students who are the main reason for holding such a program to actually attend.
In 1999 our inaugural jazz program had less then 20 students. In 2006 the jazz program had 170 students from around Wisconsin and Minnesota and other States, with four jazz bands per week, the advanced band (Jazz One) playing selections that rivaled larger longer running programs. Students from 6th through 12th grade are invited to take part in the jazz program. All instruments are welcome. Total summer music education program attendance in 2006 was 436 students.
Our goal providing opportunities for students to stay in music and in school has been realized with former students now attending college for a number of different degrees including instrumental and vocal education. Two years ago the summer program started a choir program, and a volunteer graduate position. In 2007 a winter jazz program was started. Almost every student who has graduated high school still stays in contact with the program, most remaining on their instruments, and staying active in music.