Monday, October 21, 2013

"Sit-Down Band"

Whew...  Friday's performance capped off about 8 weeks of intense work which saw the ZHS Marching Band (in some shape or form) perform 11 (ELEVEN) times.  These performances began even before school started!  This does not include band camp (or its Friday performance) or the additional 5 Monday rehearsals during school or the 2 before school started.  That's a LOT of work!  Thank you to all of the parents who made it possible, which is pretty much every one of you - driving your kids to and from school for all of this stuff, transporting them from an athletic event to a band show, helping out with uniforms, schlepping equipment around the fields, etc.  

This week begins what the kids refer to as "Sit-Down Band," which gives us a much less strenuous schedule.  Here are some details regarding what is going on there:

  1. During the 4th hour band period we split the large marching group into two different bands.  These bands function as completely separate ensembles from one another and play different music, though they perform at the same concerts.  Students were given the lunch/rehearsal schedule on Friday via email; we will be alternating which group meets first on a M-W-F/T-Th basis.
  2. Students in grades 10-12 were given a playing test at the end of last school year that functioned as both a final exam and a placement test for Symphonic and Concert band.  Ninth grade students were given the opportunity to audition if they chose; if they chose to not audition they were placed in Concert Band, but not all who did audition were placed in Symphonic Band.
  3. We group the students in this manner to assure that they will be placed at a level where they will be successful.  
  4. Our first concert, which will also function as part of the first semester exam, will be Sunday, January 12 at 2 p.m. in DeWitt Auditorium.
Students in both groups will be learning new music as well as rehearsing technical exercises and chorales (used for balance/blend and tuning).  There will be periodic playing tests, and both groups will be auditioning for chair placement very soon.

That should do for this week, I believe.  We DO have a game this week Friday - TRACK BAND week.  If your child has missed a performance due to a family vacation, illness, etc., this would be a good opportunity to make up that absence.  Absences created due to conflicting athletic events that were pre-arranged with coaches need not be made up.

Have a great week!

Monday, October 14, 2013

MB Wrap-up

Wow!  What a week...  Thank you, thank you, thank you for all of your support and getting your kids where they needed to be and all of the stuff required to have a 3-performance (and one evening rehearsal) week!  

This post will serve as a wrap-up of the general marching band activities and help you navigate as we move into concert band preparations.

First of all, we did a GREAT job at Grandville on Saturday!  We won the Class AA portion of the show (tough competition...), but most importantly?  Of all of the bands that performed at both Kenowa and Grandville, ours was the only score that went UP.  Every other band that played both of those shows ended up with a lower score than they had two weeks ago.  And with the Grand Champion (Portage Central) receiving an 89, our 82.4 looks very good.  (Two weeks ago our score of 80.7 was well below the high score of 95.0.)  So it was a great end to a fun season of competition.

My apologies for the delay in returning on Saturday.  The process for re-loading our equipment was not well thought-out (the equipment vehicle was far away from the buses, so the travel to and from the trailer was excessive), and we ended up about a half hour behind schedule by the time we fought traffic out of the single driveway exit.  In the event that we perform there again in the future I will have a different plan.

THANK YOU also to the nearly three dozen parents and students who helped out with hosting marching festival last Tuesday.  We couldn't have done it without you!  We received many compliments about our facilities and our volunteers.

This week will be much more relaxed; we have a game Friday night for West and that is about it!

"NOT A FUND RAISER" update:  so far we have collected over $1,000 in our fall "Not a Fund Raiser" campaign.  While we would like to get this wrapped up as soon as possible, I believe in the motto of "we'll take your money any time."  Our goal this fall is $6,000.00, and we'd like to have it done by the end of this week if at all possible.  Thank you in advance for your generous contributions. 

"What happens next?"
 - Well, this week begins our transition period to what some of the kids like to call "sit-down" band.  By the end of the week we will have the list of Symphonic Band students posted, and we will begin as early as next week meeting as two separate concert organizations.  (Students were offered the opportunity last spring to audition for Symphonic Band; those who chose not to will be placed in Concert Band.  Not all who auditioned will be guaranteed placement in Symphonic Band.)
 - Students will be learning/reinforcing concepts of tone quality, intonation, and technique that may be different from our marching unit.  We will be utilizing the iPad to download and read scale and technique exercises as well as warm-up chorales, etc.  Our first concert performance is Sunday, January 12 at 2 p.m. in DeWitt Auditorium.
  - The two groups will split the 4th hour/lunch period time between 11:02 and 12:31, with each band rehearsing about 43 minutes per day.  This year we will be alternating some of the days the groups meet so we can accommodate rehearsals for the HS orchestra, which uses some members of the Symphonic Band.  The new schedule will take some getting used to, but the kids always manage.
 - FOOTBALL playoffs are also on the horizon...  West has qualified already (with a 6-1 record), and East needs one more win to make it to post-season play.  Sometimes we do track band, sometimes full band, depending on the schedule.  In general the band does not travel to away playoff games, but we do provide something for the home ones.  In the event that a team makes it to Ford Field, we get to play there as well!  
 - EXTRA OPPORTUNITIES are also available.  MSBOA Solo and Ensemble Festival is in February.  Solos and small groups perform for a judge for a rating.  Also coming up later in the semester is a chance to play in the pit orchestra for the March musical "The Wizard of Oz."  This group begins meeting in January and works through early March providing live music for our stage production.  A very taxing musical experience, but one that is unforgettable as students perform a fully-produced Broadway musical.  

That should take care of things for this week.  This post may be the last official "weekly" one now that things are slowing down.  I will use it to post details of whatever we're doing for the post-season games, or if I find an interesting article or link for you to peruse.  As usual, if you need to contact me please use kwalker@zps.org and I will get back to you as soon as I can.


Wednesday, October 9, 2013

District Marching Festival

Wow!  What a great night to march and a great crowd to see it!  I hope everyone got out to see the show last night.  The kids did a very nice job and things went quite smoothly with our hosting duties at the stadium.

More on all of this later, but for now here's a link to the YouTube video of our show:

http://youtu.be/vqi1BfJPAtM

For our nearly 30 volunteers who helped with the logistics of th evening a heartfelt THANK YOU for all you do to keep things running!  LOTS of compliments from other schools about our facilities and the friendliness of our parents and kids.  That's always great to hear.

See you Saturday at Grandville.  We perform at 3:30, remember!!

Sunday, October 6, 2013

October 7

I actually had to correct the official title of this post!  I started typing "September"...

How did we get to this place so fast??  As I write this we are about two months since the END of band camp.  The older I get the faster the time goes.

Anyway, this week marks the last big week of events for the ZHS Marching Band.  We have one more regular-season game after this weekend, but this week gives us festival, a home game, and our final competition.  After that we'll be in a more relaxed mode of thinking.  Here's what's up for this week:

MONDAY, October 7 - Our FINAL Monday rehearsal - 6:30 - 9:00 p.m. at the stadium.

TUESDAY, October 8 - MSBOA Festival - Zeeland Stadium

FRIDAY, October 11 - Home game (in which we get to see WEST play again!)

SATURDAY, October 12 - Grandville Invitational

The DETAILS:

Tuesday - Festival.  Kids need to be DRESSED AND READY TO GO at 7:30 p.m.  We warm up at 8:00 and PERFORM at 8:45.
***This is the only date for which I will accept NO athletic conflicts.  Students are with the BAND at the TIME EXPECTED regardless of their scheduled game time.  Coaches and ADs are aware of this and support the decision.***
 Following our performance we will wait in the end zone area for Grandville to perform before our ratings are announced.  Students should be done by 9:30 p.m. after changing out of uniforms.

Friday - Regular game situation.  Rehearsal will begin at 6 p.m.

Saturday - We perform at 3:30 p.m.  Students will report to the band room by 1:15 for a scheduled departure time of 1:45.  Students may be dismissed, if necessary, immediately after our performance.  Parents should meet us down by the track/end zone to check out their students with me.  We will be back at ZHS around 4:30 p.m.

That might actually do it for this post.  It's been a FAST season!!  This week is the 7th week of football season, a game at which BOTH Zeeland teams can officially qualify for the post-season.  I'll keep everyone posted as to that schedule when it comes up.  In the next couple of weeks we will be breaking the large 4th hour class into two separate concert groups and begin what some call "Sit-down Band" season.  More on that later as well; for now, let's enjoy the prospect of a busy week!