In The News!

Music doesn’t stop in summer

Lessons keep students playing

June 12, 2014

By ANDREW POTTER - Staff Writer ( , Times-Republican

Save |

While many classrooms at Lenihan Intermediate School remain quiet during summer break, music can be heard bellowing from the band room three days a week this month.

It is part of the summer lessons program in the school district with hundreds of students participating district wide.

At Lenihan, band director Paul Sibbel said they have more than 100 signed up for summer lessons, which are key to keeping students on the right track in their craft.

Article Photos


Lenihan Intermediate School band teacher Paul Sibbel watches over 11-year-olds Emily Manis, left, and Natalie Duncan during a summer band lesson at the school Wednesday. Hundreds of students in the district stay sharp by taking lessons over the summer.

"This keeps the students playing longer, so they don't put the instrument in their case all summer," Sibbel said.

Sibbel said he really notices at the start of the school year in the fall which students took part in lessons that summer.

"We definitely see that students with the summer program have that head start and they are the leaders when we come back in the fall," Sibbel said.

Students in fifth through seventh grades receive four 30-minute lessons this month, while the higher grades do more with marching band and some one-on-one lessons.

In the past, there was a fee to participate in summer lessons, but that was waived for younger students last year and for all students this summer.

Sibbel said waiving the fee has helped the numbers rise in the summer program.

"I think it's really exciting that the district values what we do," Sibbel said.

The district has continued to add more summer learning programs to curb summer learning loss, but the band program has offered summer lessons for decades.

Sibbel said the students not excited about summer lessons tend to stay away, so he usually has some smiling faces in the band room during the summer.

"A lot of the kids leave and say 'that was a lot of fun,'" Sibbel said.

One student happy to be in lessons Wednesday was 11-year-old Emily Manis, who was receiving instruction on the alto saxophone. She said it keeps her from being lazy with her music during the summer.

"I feel like I'm not very motivated when I'm doing these," Manis said. "I like to do them to keep me going."

© Copyright 2014 Times-Republican. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.

Lenihan musicians participate in honor band

March 7, 2013


Save |

Fourteen fifth and sixth grade band students from Lenihan Intermediate participated in the Young Musicians Honor Band Saturday, Feb. 23, in Cedar Rapids.

Students were nominated by band director Paul Sibbel and selected by the honor band's committee. Students are chosen based on how far they are in their lesson book, extra activities (jazz band, solo/ensemble contest), leadership skills, range and ability.

The students rehearsed and performed a concert with students from 41 other schools. The event was held at Prairie Creek Intermediate School in the College Community School District, Cedar Rapids.

Article Photos


Pictured are the students in the sixth grade honor band. Back row, from left: Emily Sickles, Emily Miller, Natalia Barajas, Olivia Stone; front row: Kya Naughton, Brianna Dean, Abigail Potter, Luke Wymore

Save |

Lenihan’s band concert impressive, moving

May 31, 2011

Carrie Barr, Marshalltown

Save |

Excellence ... Superior 1+ Ratings ... "like a magnet school" ... talent and gifted.

These phrases were heard in the lobby following the Lenihan Intermediate School band concert. The fifth grade band, comprised of 159 students, filled the stage, all dressed in their "Sunday Best" snappy black and white. Their first selection included a special part for trumpets. At just the right moment, all 30 trumpet players stood to play ... they stretched all the way across the stage! Their second selection, the familiar Dona Nobis Pacem (Canon of Peace), brought tears to my eyes ... seeing all those eager children diligently playing their best in the name of peace. It was heart-warming! It was quite obvious to the audience that this teacher has created a love of music and the skills of performance in these students! The sixth grade band was equally impressive, displaying more intricate skills learned in a second year of instruction and dedicated practice time.

The indications of excellence in this band program did not stop with the fifth and sixth grade band performances. During the program Mr. Sibbel took time to recognize the many remarkable students who had voluntarily participated in solo contest, earning ratings ranging from "good" to "superior" in addition to mastering their required lessons. The first ever Lenihan Intermediate School Jazz Band performed splendidly! How wonderful to have students eager to work hard enough to achieve this high level of accomplishment!

In addition to instigating new enthusiasm and growth in intermediate school band, the concert showcased an appreciation for the dedication involved in maintaining Marshalltown's tradition of fine instrumental achievement. The final selection, a rousing march, was directed by retiring middle school band director, Mr. Dave Staron. Staron's many years of advice, encouragement and dedication were acknowledged.