Coordinating the transportation of 75 students to and from Bass Performance Hall is a challenging task. But that feat may pale in comparison to coordinating the transportation of the equipment that those 75 students need in order to participate in the five-day camp.
For the past four years, that job has belonged to Emmanuel "Manny" Flores, who is director of percussion at Southwest High School in Fort Worth and a volunteer instructor at the camp. Flores starts by taking inventory of the equipment that he can access at Southwest High School. His inventory includes four Yamaha Acoustalon marimbas, two xylophones, four vibraphones, two glockenspiels and a full set of Yamaha marching equipment. What Southwest can't supply, Flores borrows from a middle school he works with and then adds his own personal equipment.
As the first day of the percussion camp approaches, Flores gets a handle on exactly what equipment he needs. "We start to really look at numbers," Flores says. "We look at instrumentation. How many snare drummers are coming to the camp? How many bass drummers? Then I start filling in the gaps. If I'm out of equipment, I start reaching out to other percussion directors in the school district. [My goal is to] make sure that every student has an instrument by the time camp starts."
Percussion directors around the Fort Worth school district are always willing to help Flores with his instrument needs. "They're on board with the Bass Hall Percussion Camp," Flores says. "They have students attending. Even those who don't have students attending, for whatever reason, are at full support."
The weekend before the camp meets, Flores rents two 26-foot box trucks. One carries front ensemble equipment like keyboards, auxiliary equipment and stands. The other carries the battery percussion.
Flores enlists the help of Southwest High School students and percussion instructors from around the district to load the trucks. "We literally just put it inside those two trucks," he says. "It's worked every year getting all that equipment in those two trucks."
Flores and another percussion director drive the two trucks to Bass Performance Hall on Sunday. When Monday rolls around, Flores and the campers unload the trucks and get to work.
When the percussion camp is over, the various pieces of equipment are loaded up and returned to their original schools.
This article originally appeared in the 2019 V2 issue of Yamaha SupportED. To see more back issues, find out about Yamaha resources for music educators, or sign up to be notified when the next issue is available, click here.