Margaret Worsley has been tasked with re-establishing San Bernardino Valley College’s instrumental program, which has been defunct for nearly 15 years. The Music professor was hired in January by the community college with this goal in mind.
Worsley, who has also taught musical instrument courses at Riverside Community College, Chaffey College, Mt. San Antonio College, and Fullerton College, recently formed the Summer Band Program to amass more participation from Valley College and high school students. She believes with time, Valley College will be able to “hang with the big boys” of college ensembles.
Worsley explained she is currently developing curriculum for the program and seeking finances for instruments through donations and fundraising efforts.
“This will be no easy feat, as none of our former repertoire (music) or instruments remain, and starting from scratch isn’t cheap,” Worsley said in a written statement. “But, we’ve got to begin somewhere, and a Summer Band seems as good a place as any.”
According to Worsley, about a dozen students, mostly from Colton High School, are participating in the summer program. The students are going over fundamentals such as rudiments, scales, rhythms, and sight-reading.
Worsley said she intends to follow an “American music program”–involving lessons of United States history into the musical curriculum. “Music is integral to culture and history,” said Worsley.
Valley College has lost students to other local colleges that have musical ensembles and bands. The lack of an instrument program also hinders those individuals who are low income that may not be able to afford to travel to other campuses.
“It’s important that we keep the facet of music going for our community,” she said. “Music is essential to good human interaction and work ethic. This program will have the potential to retain local students, most of which are self-driven, critical thinkers, and creative.”
Worsley’s own experience in a two-week summer instrument and band camp led to her being recruited by Cal State Fullerton’s ensemble and receiving multiple scholarships.
Worsley believes with the right structure, many of these students can receive the same through Valley’s program.
“Most of these students are willing to learn and listen,” Worsley explained. “They are thirsty for knowledge. If we start a collaborative effort, this can become a great thing.”
Valley College President Diana Rodriguez said the Summer Band program is intended, “to not only be enjoyable, but to give young musicians additional training and a head start on their professional careers.”
“I am very proud of our college’s growing reputation as an arts hub in the local community and look forward to seeing this program expand over the coming years.”
The Summer Band rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 2:30 to 5 p.m. For information on how to participate in the instrumental music program or Summer Band, email Margaret Worsley at firstname.lastname@example.org.