Students are wasting no time this semester in bringing attention to a gap in Ramapo's music program: a concert band.
At the start of spring semester, a student petition was created with the intent to form a concert band at Ramapo.
"In the four years I've been at Ramapo, the music program has been really strong and it's time for a band again," said Jonathan Fishkin, a senior marketing major and music minor.
According to Fishkin, who is spearheading the efforts to form a concert band, the music program did, at one time, include a concert band, but was unable to sustain it.
Since then, Ramapo's music program enrollment has nearly tripled, growing from approximately 45 students to nearly 160 members.
"The music industry and production concentrations have grown, but performance is also really growing now as more opportunities are being provided. Big performance groups like Ramapo Chorale that go out into the community and abroad are getting the message out there that we have a music performance program at Ramapo. The progress has been really great, but we can do a lot more," Fishkin said.
With this in mind, the student-fueled movement for a concert band began with an online petition. This petition, currently adorning 60 signatures, is just the first step in bringing a concert band to fruition.
After achieving their goal of 150 signatures, the group hopes to meet with Steven Perry, dean of contemporary arts, and then the admissions office. They hope for the support of the staff as well.
"For music majors, performance groups are outstanding for developing musicianship skills – and developing friendships too. The idea of a Ramapo concert band… a good idea. I think a Ramapo band would add a lot to the campus community," Lisa Lutter, music professor and director of the Ramapo Chorale, said.
Although Ramapo currently has a Jazz Ensemble, Brazilian Percussion Ensemble and a Chamber String Ensemble, these bands are specific and are therefore limited to certain types of music and musicians. However, a concert band, Fishkin explained, includes just about all instruments – even less orthodox instruments such as electronic guitars and synthesizers.
"A band is a very important part of many students' lives and they don't want to give up playing when they go to college. When I came to Ramapo, I was disappointed when I learned we didn't have a band. I almost didn't come here for that reason," Fishkin said. "I started playing trumpet in third grade and haven't stopped playing since until I came to Ramapo. I know that many students feel this way and have had similar experiences. I think Ramapo loses students – both music majors and others – for this reason."
With the community in mind, Fiskin agreed that a concert band would benefit not only the music program, increasing musicianship, rhythm, playing in tune, style and phrasing, but would also benefit students who, like himself, are not necessarily music majors.
"A band involves lots of students in something that's rewarding," Fishkin said.
To be a part of this movement, students can join the Ramapo College Concert Band group on Facebook and click on the link for ipetitions.com.
"Now that we see the music program thriving-the time is right," Fishkin said.