Music Department Starts Year on a High Note


Photo courtesy of Bobby Curtis from the Camarillo Acorn

Cam High’s music department received $80,000 in funds this year from parent booster programs and other sources. The department used these funds to purchase new instruments and equipment to accommodate for the marching band’s growing size.

Cam High officially has the largest band department in all of Ventura County, totaling up to about 130 students in the after-school program.

The $80,000 came from various sources over the course of three years, including: grants from the City of Camarillo through band’s 501(c)(3) non-profit status and Oxnard Union High School District (OUHSD). About 3k came from Local Control and Accountability Plans (LCAP) funds, but the majority was through the organized parent booster program.

“There are many changes happening in the music program,” said Paul Lee, senior and drum major.  “Every bit of the $80k is being well spent on buying new instruments to replace those that were nowhere near working conditions and establishing a solid ground for the department to keep growing.”

In addition to the new instruments, Cam High’s music department has undergone many other changes to accommodate for their constantly growing band, such as expanding the band room to include room F-1 and using the upper parking lot to practice after school.

Band now has to use over three buses to transport the students to events, due to the increase in size of the program, which drives the cost up to over $10,000 a year. “Costs are staggering. The experience [of travelling all together in a bus] is valuable and worth it, [however]. When I arrived, the students all carpooled to events,” said Mr. Daniel Cook, Cam High’s current band adviser. Cook has been involved with Cam High’s band for the last three years now. 

“After the budget cuts of 2008-2009, nearly all [band] programs have [shrunk] in size and our county was no exception. [Cam High] has just been fortunate enough to recover from these cuts quicker than others,” said Cook.

Cook accredits Cam High’s rapid rebound from the 2008 recession to the band parents’ involvement with fundraising. The parent booster program is responsible for fundraisers such as the Snack Shack, Toodles and Noodles, pie certificates, food truck festivals, and Notes Uncorked — a beer and wine tasting event.

“Students publicize, community supports, but parents make this happen for these students,” said Cook.

One major benefit to the large band size is that the music department was finally able to add a String Orchestra class, which has been missing from Cam’s music department for decades.

“Because of the greater size, we have a wider variation in talents and opportunities to create a fuller sound,” said Monica Lin, senior and fourth-year band student. “I’ve definitely noticed the growth…most people who enter the music program stick with it until they graduate, and the numbers only increase every year.”

“It costs a lot to do things the right way, but anything worth doing is worth doing right,” said Cook. “These kids deserve that.”