Tuesday, January 27, 2015

New Semester, New Updates!

It is late January already!  The bands and ensembles had a great concert a few weeks ago; I hope you were all able to attend and enjoyed the afternoon of great music.  The ZHS Video Production class filmed the event for us, and I have added the YouTube links for you to view at your leisure.

I'll get to the "good news" section right away here so you can start the week on a happy note:  the ZPS school board recently approved a very large expenditure for new band uniforms for next fall!!  This is a very exciting development, especially considering that our current uniforms are 15 years old and seeing some serious wear and tear.  

These new uniforms represent a step forward in several areas: they are of a more modern design (the current ones are more of a "classic" design that is still in style), there are fewer parts for everyone to keep track of, and, most cool, there are built-in snap systems to adjust the length of the pants and sleeves!  No more sewing parties!  Things should be able to easily snap into place and be ready to go, meaning that the usual freshman growth spurt over the winter (usually the boys) will not be as terrifying for our uniform crew!

A separate but somewhat related issue: don't forget that on February 24 the district is asking voters to consider a bond issue.  This proposal could impact the band, since the proposed bond has funds designated for band and orchestra programming.  Please get out and VOTE on Tuesday, Feb. 24!!

There have been some calendar updates and additions!  Please see the calendar page HERE and download the new document.  At this time the Google calendar hasn't been updated, but it will be very soon.

The first NEW calendar addition is NEXT WEEK Monday and Tuesday, when the Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band join our middle school 8th and 7th grade groups in a pre-festival concert at DeWitt.  This will be a very short presentation for the HS bands; each group will only be on stage for about 10-12 minutes.  Specific details will follow via email by Wednesday of this week.

Speaking of festival, there are TWO coming up: District Ten Solo and Ensemble is THIS SATURDAY, January 31, at East Kentwood HS.  Students will be given complete details Tuesday morning.  They already have been informed of their performance times, so hopefully you know those already.

       ****I could really use a volunteer or three to assist with moving virtually ALL of our percussion equipment to EK this Friday afternoon, as well as some folks to help reload, etc. on the way home on Saturday!  Please send me an email if you can assist with driving a truck, etc.****

Our second festival that's approaching is District Ten Band Festival.  The bands haven't been to this performance in many years for many reasons, chief among them the time of year that festival occurs: it is earlier this year than ever!  In consultation with students, middle school band staff, and administrators, however, I have decided that the time may be right to go back and see how things go.  Tentative dates at this point are either February 25 or 26; we should know in a week or two which of those dates we are assigned.  (As a comparison, this festival used to be the second week of March.)  We will be performing at either West Ottawa or Grandville, and at least one group, if not two, will be performing during the school day.  More details will be sent as soon as they are available.

Finally, there is a group of parents interested in forming a group similar to a band boosters organization that has met; a second meeting is coming up on Tuesday, February 17.  If you would like to come and see what the group is trying to establish, you are welcome to join us at 7 p.m. in the band room.  We promise not to put you in charge of any committees or anything!  At this time we are looking for a firm purpose and direction as well as how formally structured the group needs to be.  So far the decision has been made that "formality" will not be a requirement - this will not be an official organization with officers, etc., but rather a group with committees and chairs to provide assistance to the band program via fund raising, volunteers, etc.  The focus and formality may change over time, but right now that is where things stand.

Thanks for reading!  As always, if you have any questions, send an email to kwalker@zps.org.

Friday, January 9, 2015

Winter Concert Details UPDATE

As things stand right now, the building is completely closed Friday.  I will update the Facebook page with any office hours planned for Saturday for people to come in and practice, get instruments, concert outfits, etc.  Probably sometime around 1:00 p.m., possibly earlier.  (There will be people in the building for dance activities, so I will see if we can get the room open as long as possible.)

Rather than change the date of the concert and run into exam study time, sports conflicts, etc., we have decided to keep the concert going on Sunday, but adjust the time.

WE HAVE CHANGED THE CONCERT START TIME TO 3:00 P.M.  Here are the updated details:

**We would still like folks to be dressed for the concert when they arrive, but there may still be some outfits at school.  We will deal with that situation as needed**
I will have the band room open by 1:00 p.m.

In order to get some quick rehearsal time for each group, we are going to arrive at school quite early.  We will run the group order backward - this will allow the older students, many of whom drive themselves, to have some freedom to move about prior to the concert.  It will also mean that parents of the majority of the youngest students will not be sitting with nothing to do while their kids are required to be in the building.  Finally, it makes it a logical set-up sequence, with the Concert Band being all set up and ready to go for the start of the concert, rather than having to re-set the stage.  Each group will have 20 minutes on stage. 
- Wind Ensemble reports to the stage at 1:30 p.m.
 - Percussion Ensemble reports to the stage at 1:50 p.m. - there should be plenty of room behind the Wind Ensemble setup to get the equipment in place 
 - Symphonic Band reports to the stage at 2:10 p.m.
 - Concert Band reports to the stage at 2:30 p.m. and will remain there until the concert starts.
**DOORS WILL OPEN FOR AUDIENCE SEATING AT 2:45.  Thank you for your patience and understanding as we rehearse!** 

 AFTER you are done on stage you will go and spend some time with a tuner in the band room.
Percussion Ensemble members performing with the bands need to be on stage at the above times as well!
All band students except Concert Band should be in the front five rows of the audience when the concert starts.  (Concert Band will be on stage.)

Can't practice or make it to the building Saturday?  DO SOME LISTENING AT LEAST:
 - Candide - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=IYdCpB48CsY
 - Children's March - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UuSXAP1ABAM
 - Parade of the Tall Ships - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=bxT65HSqwIg 
  - Air for Band - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=x-9ndOOxgus
 - Cape Fear Chronicles - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=5BL34T3VV-Y
 - Folk Song Suite - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=D0sC4xbyT5c
 - Shaker Gift Song - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=BUM1X_Lvr2Q
 - Overture for Winds - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=sr20TBDl3d4
 - Beat 70 - http://www.jwpepper.com/sheet-music/search.jsp?keywords=beat+70
 - Big Country - http://www.jwpepper.com/Big-Country/10077000.item#.VK_4SHuYewY
 - Circus Circus - http://www.jwpepper.com/Circus-Circus!/2290369.item#.VK_4kXuYewY
Concert Band
 - Cape Fear Chronicles
 - Air for Band
 - Parade of the Tall Ships
*select members remove their chairs from the stage
Symphonic Band
 - Folk Song Suite
 - Shaker Gift Song
 - Overture for Winds
*ALL members move chairs and stands
Percussion Ensemble
*set up begins immediately after Symphonic Band stage is cleared
 - Circus Circus
 - Big Country
 - Beat 70
*ALL members re-set stage; those performing with Wind Ensemble set up equipment for Children's March and Candide
Wind Ensemble
*ALL members set up chairs and stands after percussion is cleared
 - Children's March
 - Nature's Intermission
 - Candide