Randy Bogden recently sat down with Dusty Molyneaux, Music and Art Supervisor for Great Falls Public Schools, to discuss summer music and art programs offered by GFPS.

Randy:  Summer vacation is almost here, but that doesn't mean that the fun stops. You've got a lot of things going on this summer.

Summer Music

Dusty:  We've got two fantastic opportunities. As soon as the kids get out on Friday, June 2nd, the next Monday we start our summer music camp and we're gonna be running that for two weeks. That's open to basically anybody that's an incoming fifth grader that wants to get started on an instrument, and it runs all the way through high school.  [...]  The fee is only 40 bucks, super cheap.  Registration forms are available at the schools and you can also always call the music and art office. We'll help you get registered for that.

There's no cap or class size limit or anything. We'll take as many kids that want to do this and it's a 45 minute chunk of time for the kids. What we try to do is we individualize the instruction as much as possible and we do small group instruction for the beginners. So if you're beginning violin, you're working with just other violin players. If you're a beginning trumpet, you're working with beginning trumpet players. And as they get a little bit older, we try to, you know, expand that and and do some interesting stuff with woodwind and brass choirs and things like that as they get a little bit older.

Tuba Euphonium Isolated On Gold
Mac Miller

Randy:  Are the camps at each individual school or is there one location?

Dusty:  We have two locations for the summer music camp. We run one at East. And so if you're on the east side of town, you can hit that one over at obviously East Middle School. And on the other side of town, we do the same thing at North Middle School.

Randy:  How many days are the camp? Is it a one day camp?

Dusty:  It's a 10 day opportunity. So each day at the specific time for your class, you would come Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday, Friday, and then we'd go one more week.  And one fee covers all 10 days. Yep. 40 bucks for all 10 days. It's super cheap.

Randy:  What times are the classes? Or does it vary throughout the day?

Dusty:  It varies throughout the day and it again depends on the instrument.  We start at eight and we go until about two o'clock in the afternoon.

Summer Art

Randy:  You said you have something else going on as well this summer?

Dusty:  Yeah.  We were really fortunate last year to start a summer art camp and it was super popular. We're going to do that again this year [over at] CMR and that's going to start on June 19th. We'll do a session for four days, Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, Thursday.

We do a 10 to 12 session for kindergarten through third grade, and then we'll do a one to three session for grades four through six. Then, we're going to do the exact same camp a week later, starting June 26th through the 29th. So you can't do both weeks. It's the same art projects and things like that, but four days and you get two opportunities to try for that.

Brush and bright oil-paint palette for backgroun.

Randy:  And once again, location and cost on that.

Dusty:  So that will be $40 per kid. And that also pays for all the art supplies that they'd be using over the course of the four days.  [The camp] will be at CM Russell High School in the art classrooms, and we've got information for that. It's actually a kind of a registration online with a QR code. It's on our Facebook page, GFPS Music and Art, and people can register there.

Randy:  Is all the paperwork is at the individual schools where they can pick it up.

Dusty:   So there really isn't paperwork for the art camp. We'll save all the paper for the, the crafts and projects that they do later.  [The art camp] does have a cap. We can't let everybody into that one because we'll run out of supplies. So registration is filling up quick on that camp, so if you're interested in that, check out our Facebook page and get your kid registered.

Signing up

Dusty:  I guess what I should let people know about too is it gets kind of confusing for the music camp.  What we want people to think about is the grade that their kid will be in next year when they're signing up for the classes for the art camp.

[The classes go by] the grade that they're in this year. So we don't want people that are going to have kindergartners sending their preschool kid to art camp. We're just not set for that kind of instruction. So they need to have at least been in the public school for a year to kind of understand how to work in a class and what art's all about.

Introducing Kids to Music & Arts at GFPS

Randy:  For kids who maybe don't attend the camps yet, they're wanting to participate in the different programs next year.  How do they go about learning more about it or what do they need to do to join your programs next year?

Dusty:  [In the fall], if you're a parent of a fifth grader, the music teachers will be coming around the classrooms and talking to all the kids one more time about what beginning band and orchestra looks like.

We typically have about a week to get to all those elementary schools and talk to those kids. Then, we'll have a night where we do rentals for the school instruments that [GFPS] rent[s to students].  The music stores in town will have things ready for people that want to rent from a music store, because the stuff that [GFPS has] is old and limited. The stuff that [the music stores] have is new and shiny and works really well.

It's about a week long process at the beginning of the year, and then we really try to get kids going about that second or third week in school and get them playing.

Randy:  Do you guys take donations of equipment?

Dusty:  Yes, thank you for asking. We're always looking for gently used instruments to put into our system, so that we have a little bit more to offer for people that are on that free and reduced lunch kind of program.  You can just contact us in our office at the [District Office Building].

Tuba Bell
Kaye Veazey

We've partnered with the Optimists Club in town and they give us funds to repair instruments that are, like I said, gently used. We're not looking for stuff that's tore up, but if it's been sitting in the basement or in the attic for a few years and it needs a little cleaning or a re-pad, if it's a woodwind instrument, we have some funds to kind of take care of that. And that has been a true blessing to get those instruments back out. We call it the Encore Program. So those instruments get a second chance to be played again.

Wrapping up


Randy:  Anything else you wanna throw out there?

Dusty:  I just want to thank everybody for their support for the Music and Art Department. We've had a fantastic year and we're looking forward to some fun stuff over the summer and hitting it hard again next fall.

More From The River 97.9