Valley school music programs catching up on lost time

Shayla Girardin Image
Friday, September 2, 2022
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The time spent distance learning took a toll on school music programs, which are playing catch-up now that students are back to in-person learning.

CLOVIS, Calif. (KFSN) -- It was March of 2020 when Clovis North band director David Lesser had plans to tell his students the good news - they had been asked to play at the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade.

"There was going to be confetti all over... then the Friday before that concert, the world shut down," says Lesser.

With no idea what would come next, Lesser had to keep the news to himself for a year.

Finally he received word his students would get the chance to perform in 2022. But when they came back to in-person learning - they had to play catch-up.

"It had a giant impact. Every student in band this year is a year or more behind," says Lesser.

The time spent distance learning took a toll on school music programs.

"There's definitely a steeper learning curve because when you're alone by yourself, it's hard to know what to practice," says Clovis North student Aiden Oaks.

But districts across the Valley say they can rebuild what was lost.

"My seniors now were freshmen when this all went down, so they missed the bulk of their performing experience in high school. This year they come back really hungry for it and ready to work," says Fresno Unified music teacher Taylor Ledak.

At Clovis North, that rebuilding means getting ready for the Macy's Thanksgiving Day parade in just a few months.

The Clovis North band will leave for the Big Apple on November 20th.

If you'd like to support them on their journey you can email