Monday, September 15, 2014

Week of September 15

"It's not raining 'til I SAY it's raining..."  Some of you with older students have probably heard of my famous (infamous?) saying; the last two Friday nights have certainly tested that.  Well, we're 1-1 as far as band vs. Mother Nature, though she may have won the battle this past Friday, throwing wind, rain, and cold at us all night.  For the record, your kids did a great job in adverse conditions.  And as I told them, this week is when we get down to serious business.  We are four weeks out from MSBOA Festival, and that time will fly by!  Please make sure your kids are here for Monday nights as well as any scheduled performances.  And here's a list of what's coming up:

TONIGHT: Rehearsal at the stadium, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.  Last week we had a great rehearsal, and the parking lot one-way situation seemed to work out extremely well.  (You can imagine the disaster I am waiting for tonight based on my pessimistic outlook...)
    Parents are always welcome at these rehearsals, and you may come and go as you please.  Some people enjoy watching things develop as we work, and it's always helpful for folks to see and understand the process of learning and cleaning drill.  We hope that after tonight's rehearsal that the entire show is back on the field and ready to perform on Friday night!

Tuesday, Sept. 16: Color guard practice, band room, 7 - 9:00 p.m.  I always marvel at the amount of work that goes into the color guard portion of the show.  Each year, between the pre-game and half-time shows, we use about 100 flags for 20+ guard members (the school color flags - one set for each team - are only used for pre-game, and we usually change equipment after each piece in the half-time show).  Each person is responsible for his/her equipment making it to the right place before each show as well as taking care of it afterward.  As you can imagine, with 20 teenagers and 100 pieces of equipment, that can be quite a challenge.  Jill Landes and Laura McCranner do a great job keeping track of all things guard, and I can't imagine doing this without them!  Our section leaders are always a big help as well, and this year Lydia Kamps and Hanna Raynak have stepped up to the task admirably.

Friday, September 19: 
 - Homecoming pep assembly during the day - ALL students should be participating.  There is a senior meeting for West students, so they have the option of staying out of the assembly detail.  PM Tech Center students have that option as well.
 - EAST Homecoming game.  Report time 5:45 p.m.  Things went very well this past week.  As I said above, we are planning on performing the entire show.  I will be in touch with the several folks who have volunteered to assist with moving the auxiliary carts onto the field during the show.  Shaun Macomber will be finishing up some stuff on the carts tonight (more on that later).

FUTURE dates to be aware of:
 - Saturday, September 27 - Kenowa Hills Invitational.  No official time for our performance yet, but I anticipate around 3 p.m.  Students needing to leave immediately after the performance may do so - parents may pick them up after we are done performing.  I am indeed aware that it is West's Homecoming dance that night, but students will be done in plenty of time to get all ready for the big shindig.
 - Saturday, October 4 - Pumpkin Fest parade.  Pretty sure it starts at 2 p.m., but it might be 3.  I will keep you posted.
 - Tuesday, October 7 - MSBOA District Festival, Zeeland Stadium.  This is the ONE event for which I make NO EXCEPTIONS for athletics or other activities.  Students are expected to contact their coaches well in advance to make sure they are aware of the situation.  This is our "District Final" performance, and takes precedence over almost everything.  Please contact me if there are questions.  Our coaching staffs are very understanding of this situation.

Last Thursday evening I had the pleasure of working with three dads and one student on building the five carts for our final part of the show.  Shaun and Caleb Macomber, Dale VanValkenburg, and Paul Dumbleton put in a couple hours of hard labor while I looked on appreciatively and occasionally lifted something.  We have grand plans for how these carts will be loaded, transported, and eventually pulled onto the field for the grand finale.  We'll see how that goes...  Thanks so much to the crew of builders and the crew of volunteers who will assist with them at shows.  The drummers are very excited (Sarah probably is, too, but we may never know) to get to that part of the show!

Finally, an addition to last week's post: EMAIL!  I love email.  It is by far my favorite means of communication.  It is easy to organize, since gmail has the "conversation view" system; it keeps things in front of me, since if it's in my "inbox" it means I still need to deal with it; and it makes it easy to have a written record of what I'm doing.  Voicemail has virtually none of those features!

With all of that being said, here's my general email policy: I check my email dozens of times during the day.  (I found out what a habit I have during the first week of school when the network was down - I found myself reflexively looking at my dark computer screen each time I walked into my office!)  Because I check so many times during the day, I almost never check it at night.  If you send an email after about 4 p.m., I will get to it the next day.  I try to respond within 24 hours to every email sent to me, though some do get shuffled lower in the priority list and I get to those later. 

Thanks for your understanding as we get to know each other and you let me work with your kids!  It's a great bunch so far, and I am expecting some great things.

As usual, if you have any questions, let me know - kwalker@zps.org

KW