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Rams Teaching Rams: Innovative music education partnership reaches local students

February 28, 2014

Chad Lemons ('08), director of bands at Longs Peak Middle School in Longmont, has forged a partnership with his alma mater to benefit middle school music students.

Chad Lemons and this year's Rams Teaching Rams award winner, Peter Swope.Last year Lemons initiated conversations with Music, Theatre & Dance department chair Todd Queen to create the “Rams Teaching Rams” scholarship.

This annual award, paid for by Longs Peak Middle School, is given to a student at the school who shows dedication to music classes, possesses passion and interest for music, and models good citizenship as a musician and student. The scholarship pays for two 30-minute one-on-one lessons with a CSU faculty member and any materials requested by the professor.

“We are delighted to have this partnership with alumni like Chad in the community to reach out to kids and enhance music in our schools,” said Todd Queen.

This year's winning percussionist

This year’s winner, announced on Dec. 5, is 6th-grader Peter Swope. Receiving several nominations from his teachers, Peter plays percussion in Beginning Band and guitar in Jazz Band and will study with CSU’s director of percussion studies Eric Hollenbeck.  Previous CSU professors who have served as participating instructors include Michelle Stanley and Robert Brewer.

“I wanted a way to connect professional musicians and collegiate professors to middle school students who wouldn’t normally have an opportunity to work with professionals of such a high caliber,” said Lemons. “The staff at Longs Peak Middle School goes out of their way to make education an exalted experience for the students. This is one way I can meet those expectations as a member of the school community.”

Lemons studied Music Education at CSU where his primary instrument was trombone, studying with professors Robert Brewer and Greg Harper.

Invovled with several bands

During his time at CSU, Lemons was heavily active with the Wind Ensemble & Symphonic Band, playing trombone. He also became very involved in percussion during his freshman year thanks to Hollenbeck, which led Lemons to also play percussion in Concert Band and the CSU Marching Band.

“I absolutely loved CSU and the city, so I did my student teaching in Fort Collins at Timnath Elementary with Karen Nuttall and Fossil Ridge High School with Daniel Berard,” he said. “And after five fufilling years at CSU, I am now in my fourth year of teaching at LPMS and was so excited to create a partnership with CSU for the advancement of quality education in our schools.”

Center of Excellence

Longs Peak Middle School was recently announced as one of 19 schools to win the Colorado Centers of Excellence Award. Each year, the Colorado Department of Education recognizes public schools in the state that enroll a student population of which at least 75 percent are at-risk pupils and that demonstrate the highest rates of student longitudinal growth, as measured by the Colorado Growth Model.

“We are constantly looking for ways to encourage our students to focus on their post-high school future,” said LPMS principal Timothy Bishop. “This partnership has given our students the ability to believe they can continue to play their instruments and participate in band beyond high school.

“They really feel like the sky is the limit for their future,” Bishopcontinued . “I want to thank both Mr. Lemons and Colorado State University for putting their resources into this program. It does make a difference in the lives of our students.”

During the 2013-2014 season, the UCA celebrates its fifth anniversary and features several celebratory events that highlight connecting our campus and community with impactful arts. For more information, visit

Contact: Carrie Care
Phone: (970) 491-5891