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A Summer of Creativity in Massapequa

More than 400 Massapequa students are enjoying art, music and theater with the return of the popular Summer Fines Arts camp. Last year’s program was limited to online music classes only. This year, there are 25 one- and two-week in-person camps at Massapequa High School, taught by certified teachers and supported by high school and college student assistants.

Beginner and intermediate level band and orchestra classes feature group and individual instruction. A new music class this year is Introduction to Ensemble Playing, which was created because of COVID restrictions over the past two years. Summer Fine Arts Coordinator Jessica Wyman said that since the pandemic began, elementary fourth and fifth grade musicians have only had small-group music instruction. They have not had any experience with large group rehearsals or concert performances, so this class helps close that gap.

Seventh grader Justin S. is taking the acoustic guitar class this summer with his former elementary music teacher, Tom Tucker. He already knows how to play the piano, and wanted to pick up another instrument so he can use his music software at home to create songs with multiple sounds.

Fifth grader Samantha C. and sixth grader Ava C. did the Decorative Arts camp together. Throughout the week, they worked on different projects in which they made looms from fabric strips and yarn and animals out of wooden sticks.

“I like art and learning different techniques,” Ava said, noting this was her first time attending the program.

Samantha said she likes to be creative and enjoys the arts camp because there are a lot of different materials to work with.

Art classes offered both traditional and high-tech experiences. In the Ceramic Glazing and Design class with high school art teacher Paul Leone, students sculpted both functional and decorative pieces out of clay and learned different glazing techniques. Middle school art teacher Jason Coppola led a 3D Pen class, in which participants learned how to use the gadget to create three-dimensional objects with printing filament. Students had dozens of colors at their disposal to make Massapequa logo magnets, Christmas ornaments and Easter eggs.

In the first two-week theater camp, students rotated through choreography, ensemble singing and vocal coaching classes. They put together a cabaret performance featuring songs from a variety of well-known musicals.

Three dozen student assistants played an important role in the success of the camp. Incoming senior Caitlyn K. worked in the ceramics class, setting up student workstations every morning, helping the young artists with their projects, and cleaning up at the end of the day.

“I love being able to help the kids and see how individual their projects are,” she said. “They all have a different take on the demonstration. It’s interesting to see how everyone’s pieces turn out when they’re finished.”        

Senior Emily H. is a student assistant for orchestra, her second year with the program. She assists the teacher during group lessons, and works one-on-one with students as well.

“I’m able to teach,” she said, “but I’m also able to learn.”

The Summer Fine Arts page on the district website features a student showcase with photos of their artwork and videos of instrumental music and musical theater performances.