It all started in the spring of 2022 when West Las Vegas Schools music teacher Quintin Leger offered to teach a summer music class to East and West Las Vegas Middle School students. Now in its second year, the music camp has been renamed the Novo Sondidos (New Sounds) Orchestra, and enrollment is now open for this tuition-free music camp for Las Vegas youth! The remainder of this article is taken mainly from comments by Quintin Leger.
After hearing from many of my students lamenting the lack of after school and summer activities, they asked if I could design an extra-curricular music program modeled on the activities we would do in class. This request inspired the first summer music program which was launched last year, and funded by Meadow City Academy of Music. The pilot program proved to be a great success, showcasing seven students from various musical backgrounds leading to a performance of an original composition and other learned materials at Traveler’s Café. The large audience consisted of parents, relatives, classmates, friends, and curious onlookers.
Over the years, we have seen the positive impact music education has on STEM and literacy achievement in students. Our music camp currently aims to reach all kids (over the age of 12) in San Miguel County, providing a musical opportunity unlike anything else offered through traditional school districts or commercial means. The Novo Sondidos Orchestra is modeled on the Berklee College of Music’s general philosophy, honoring the contemporary musical interests of students to reach the highest amount interest and relevance. Improvisation and creativity are at the forefront of values that are esteemed; encouraging and developing the innate talent of our local youth. To this end, the inclusion of all instruments as well as singers is essential.
Traditionally, we think of genres of music, i.e., rock bands, jazz quartet, string trio, etc. The summer camp breaks that barrier, and for students this assures an ever evolving and eclectic experience! Ultimately, we seek to build self-esteem through organic wholesome and fun learning while educating our youth in the virtues of democratic leadership through community centered youth mentoring. Fittingly, the highlight of the camp will be a community concert for all to enjoy the students’ final musical creations.
A typical day: 10 to 11:30 a.m. will be intensive rehearsal, from 11:30am to 12:30 pm will be unstructured time for lunch, socializing, and further mentoring. The day will conclude with another bout of rehearsal, from noon to 2 p.m., specializing in creativity and improvisation.
Novos Sondidos Orchestra
Age of mentees: 12 – 17
Number of mentees: 15 – 45
6-week duration, from June 12 to July 20, classes to be held at West Las Vegas High School
Monday through Thursday, 10:00am – 2:00pm
In some cases, instruments will be provided.
The Novos Sondidos Orchestra is cosponsored by San Miguel County and Meadow City Academy of Music. To enroll, please contact Quintin Leger at (505) 718-6859.
Quintin Leger was recently nominated by the New Mexico Music Educators Association – North Central District for “emerging music educator of the year.” Individuals who wish to make donations earmarked for Novos Sondidos may do so through the Meadow City Academy of Music website. Please visit www.meadowcitymusic.org.