Thursday, July 30, 2015

Band Camp Final Details

SO MANY THINGS keep coming up that I thought I'd write a new blog post!  As of Wednesday afternoon the student leadership team and I had spent a great couple of days together preparing to greet and teach students next week.  I am looking forward to another productive camp!

Hopefully this post will answer any remaining questions (a few of you have asked about things that I didn't think about, so thank you) and clear up any other issues still out there (like why the music may not download properly).

So in somewhat chronological order, here are the things you need to know before next Monday:

STUDENT EMAIL PASSWORDS have been changed.  But someone let me know how to do the new ones, so here is the formula: 
   User name is still <studentnumber>
   Passwords have been changed to 
      - First three letters of birth month (first one is capitalized)
      - birth day (no "0" for 1-9 digits)
      - birth year
SO...  Mine would be Jul311964

I still don't have access to Infinite Campus for the upcoming year, so there are many things I can't do right now with student lists, email, etc.  Please share this information with your kids.

MUSIC There will be a few copies available for those still having difficulty with the download.  I will also attach the zip files to a parent email again.  The trick that seems to work for about 90% of people is to click on the download arrow on the right side of the page rather than on the title of the file.  I still don't know why, nor do I know why this is different than all of the other links I've posted.

TRAFFIC There will be lots of it each morning and afternoon.  I have asked that a few of our section leaders be out in the lot to assist you as you drive in to drop off and pick up each day, but the plan is to keep the traffic flowing counter-clockwise.  Please drive in to the bus circle area - the driveway closer to West, between East and the soccer field - and drop off/pick up in that direction.  That puts the passenger doors opening toward the building and not into traffic, and prevents tie-ups in the narrow driveways.  Please do NOT use the driveway at the northeast corner of the building - that will be "exit only" for the week.  We also ask for your patience with children and other drivers as things get crowded and hectic, especially at the end of the day.

Speaking of picking up and dropping off, it's been asked if that will happen at the stadium or at the school.  Dropping off will always happen at school.  For picking up, my answer is probably "both," but with one stipulation: if you plan to pick up your child at the stadium, please do not follow that up with bringing him/her back to school.  This will help the traffic at school.  My guess is that most children will want to be picked up at school due to putting away equipment and that sort of thing.

TIME.  This one is going to be tough next week.  And many of you may become frustrated with me, but I am willing to risk it.  Our dismissal time is 5 p.m.  That means from wherever we are at 5 p.m., which will probably be the stadium.  Which means that by the time 235 band members walk back to school and put stuff away, it will be well after 5 p.m.  When we are at the field next to the building this is not a big deal, and when we do Monday evening rehearsals I release from the stadium before 9 p.m. when possible.  But being at the stadium will eat away some rehearsal time, so I can't necessarily get kids back to the building at 5 p.m.  They're dismissed at 5.  Thanks for understanding!

PARENT MEETING  The parent meeting on Thursday, August 6 will be in DeWitt Auditorium at 7 p.m.  We will talk about "how to be a HS band parent" sort of thing, including the best way to contact me, where to find information about band events, class policies, etc. 

SENIOR MEETING  Will take place this Sunday at 1:30 p.m.  This meeting is optional and will cover just some basic senior topics as well as a hanging out and reminiscing time!  Tell them to feel free to bring a snack or drink.  Should last about an hour.

CAMP SUPPLIES  I think we are all set with water jugs, tent canopies, and all the stuff we need for next week.  The team rooms will be open for kids to use if necessary, which are cooler than being outside.  Again, please make sure your students come well-prepared with water, sunscreen, hats, etc. 

I think that should take care of it.  Feel free to email me if I've missed anything!


Wednesday, July 15, 2015

Summer Updates II

Here are some updates that need to be made note of so things keep running smoothly (I am assuming that they are already running smoothly...).

I'd like to say that these are in some kind of order, but as I review them there are really no major issues, so I'm writing them as they appear on my list:

 - EARPLUGS My apologies for posting incorrect dates for the earplug days at Holland Doctors of Audiology.  To be honest, I didn't realize I'd posted the information and now I can't find it to make the changes online!  (If someone can find it and direct me to where it is I will make the change.)  Here is the info directly from HDA:
 - Thursday 7/30 and Friday 7/31 8:30am-5pm, no appointment required, keeping it still at the same $10 per pair including taxes, cash only. 
 - Earplugs can also be purchased at the reduced cost if they let us know they are band students any time M-F, 8:30-5 if they know their size.  Please note that, for hygiene reasons, earplugs are not returnable and we encourage checking ears before to select size first. We can also do the reduced cost office visit ($25+cost of plugs) if they want to make an appointment for a one-to-one consultation outside of the designated Band dates. If wax removal is necessary, that is NOT included but they can do at home with OTC drops, their pediatricians office, or here (sometimes covered by insurance; varies). 
*HDA is located on 32nd Street and US31 in Holland, about a quarter mile west of the intersection.

RETURNING STUDENTS are being reminded to bring their marching shoes to camp with them.  We want to make sure they HAVE shoes so we don't get stuck at the first performance - we have discarded the "shoe library" and will not have spares this year.  Please make sure your child has his/her shoes and brings them to camp.  We can always order a new pair if needed, but we want to get it all done at once.
 - Anyone who has any CONCERT uniforms at home needs to let us know that.  When your child is fitted for a uniform at camp, he/she should let the crew know that the concert uniform is already assigned and at home.

BAND TRIP Cathy Lugten has been doing lots of volunteer work this summer making sure parents are kept up-to-date about their trip payments.  She is working to make sure that all payments are accounted for and sending email reminders, etc.  Please be patient as we work through her schedule, the office schedule, and the mail schedule!  She will keep everyone posted as efficiently as possible.  (Please remember that although she is a district employee, she is also a band parent, and her time and effort after June 4 and before September 8 is all volunteering!)

WISH LIST In my blog post last week ( I added a list of things that the band needs as far as equipment, etc.  Someone asked if some of these things could be loaned to the band and returned - like the water coolers, carts, etc.  Absolutely!  If you have something on the list you'd be willing to loan out, let me know and we will make sure it gets back to you in good condition.

OFFICE HOURS I will NOT be here on Thursday (tomorrow) this week.  I somehow managed to schedule a very busy week and have two appointments tomorrow...

VOLUNTEERING If you plan to help with anything band-related this year, please click over to the ZPS volunteer sign-up page here: so we can get the necessary background checks, etc. completed.  These are reset every summer, apparently, so if you filled one out last year, please do so again.  
 - Speaking of volunteering, here is your first opportunity!  Amy Busa and Holly Corley have taken over the uniform crew duties, and they could use your help at band camp.  This is a VERY easy job.  Kids try on clothes and if they fit, you write down the numbers.  It's a pretty easy system and runs in an assembly line fashion.  Contact Amy at or Holley at and let them know you're available.

STUDENT EMAIL At this time I am unable to connect with incoming freshman students, so I have only sent emails to parents.  Please share any relevant information with your children so that they are kept informed as well!  

I think that should do it for today's updates.  19 days til camp!!

Monday, July 6, 2015

Summer Updates

Every year when I was a kid, on or about July 5, my dad would say, "well, summer's over."  Drove us all crazy.  But in some fashion or other, summer is at least coming to the point where we have to begin thinking about what the next month will bring about.  Hopefully this will help folks stay on top of things between now and band camp.

In the event that folks need to stop by to pick up a school instrument, drop off a check for the trip, or other pressing need, I will plan to be in the band office on Mondays between 9:30 and 11:30 a.m., Wednesday evenings (with drumline, so the room is open but I may not be available to chat) from 6 - 7:30, and probably Thursday afternoons between 1 and 2:30 (please call if you plan to stop on Thursday in case I am not here).  My office number is 748-3130; calling before you come by on any day is probably a good idea.

 - Drumline meetings/rehearsals on Wednesday evenings begin this week on July 8 at 6 p.m.  All members of the drumline are expected to attend if they are in town.  This week we will be assigning some parts, instruments, and equipment as well as looking at a few things musically.
 - Section leaders and drum majors will be holding their annual "pre-camp" sessions beginning on Tuesday, July 28 at 9 a.m.  They are aware of this, and I am aware that a few of them are out of town that week.  I will send them a separate reminder email regarding this.
 - Music is available on the website and has been emailed to parents on my email list.  Mr. Hall will be writing the drill beginning this week.
 - Band camp starts on Monday, August 3.  ALL of the items that students and parents need to know for camp are posted on the band's website under the "Marching Band" link on the left sidebar.  Introduction letters, permission slips, list of things to bring, etc. are all available.

As the program grows, so do our needs.  The budget, however, remains pretty neutral!  If you would like to contribute to any of the following things, please let me know (or simply send/drop off a check or an item on the list).
 - 2 or 3 more 5 or 10-gallon water jugs for band camp.  We currently have two, and with well over 200 people we will need a few more.
 - a small/medium equipment cart.  Something with four wheels and a platform to transport things (like the water jugs) to and from the room.  Pneumatic tires are probably better than hard rubber ones, but you never know.  Costco had something that was pretty cool for around $50.00 - foldable, etc.  
 - We were told that our plans to expand uniform storage won't work, so we need to purchase some portable uniform racks.  These are $99.00 apiece, and we need 4-6 of them if you would like to donate to that fund
 - We have designated some fund raising money for new color guard uniforms so that they get something new as well, but a supplement to that fund would also be welcome!  Total cost per uniform is about $120, and we need about 30.
 - Finally, we are also expanding the band camp professional staff this year, and they all need to be paid.  Again, there is fund raising money designated, but as you can imagine it will quickly be depleted.  Staff costs will be $1500.00 for camp this year.
        *Any moneys donated for these items will be treated the same way as we do our usual fall patron drive; they are tax deductible, etc.