After an extended lull, Santiam Junior/Senior High School will once again strike up the band beginning with the 2017/18 school year. 

Due to budget constraints, the band program was dropped over a decade ago. The announcement of it being revitalized is music to the ears of many folks in the Santiam area.

“I’m looking forward to seeing this program develop,” teacher Ross Miller said. “The administration and school board have done a great job in getting us to the point where we can do this.”

The district recently hired Robert Harris to carry the baton for the band classes, which will be open to students in grades 6 through 12. Harris graduated from Western Oregon University in 2016 with a Bachelor’s degree in music and will finish his Master of Arts in Teaching degree in December. He is a classically trained, professional percussionist and a certified instructor in all aspect of music education. Harris held the first rehearsal for the school’s drumline on Monday, June 19, and will continue working with the students throughout the summer.

“I feel extremely excited,” Harris said. “One of the things I’m looking forward to is starting to build a program from the early years on based on the skills the students possess. Ross and his team have done a great job with their existing program and part of my job will be to expand on that and further develop the music element.

“We will combine classical and contemporary approaches to teaching to make it a full musical experience. In a contemporary program, you aren’t bound by traditional conventions. We will have all of the classical instruction but it’s more than just playing instruments. For example, ‘ You’ve written a song, now how do you record…