Monday, September 28, 2015

Week of September 28

TWO WEEKS until festival!  Yep, two weeks from tomorrow is our annual MSBOA festival performance, and we are putting the final touches on the show the next week or so.  Tonight's rehearsal is vital for all involved - there may or may not be some dance moves happening...  Seriously, though, it is very important for all students to attend rehearsal tonight so we can get everything heading in the right direction.  Here is the schedule for the week:

TONIGHT: Rehearsal at the stadium - 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.  Parking and traffic might be a bit of a challenge tonight.  As I'm sure you are all aware, ZPS is hosting a showing of the film "Hope Bridge" beginning at 6:30 p.m., and we are expecting a pretty full house.  It would be best, if possible, to drop your kids off directly at the stadium at 6:30 to avoid the crowd here at the high school.  I will remind them to grab their instruments after school so they don't have to stop here to get them first.  (Large stuff like tubas and drums would be exceptions...)  Option B would be to get here early to avoid the rush.  I will be here by 5:45 or so, and kids can get dropped off and walk to the stadium when it's time.  I wish that these events were not occurring simultaneously, because I think it is important for people to see this film.  Unfortunately, due to the fact that the band rehearses in three separate class hours during the day, Monday nights are pretty critical to our success.  Thank you for your understanding!

Tuesday, September 29 - Color guard practice, band room, 7 - 9 p.m.

Wednesday, Thursday - NOTHING!

Friday, October 2 - West home FB - Track Band  Report time 6:00 p.m.  Here's a friendly reminder that Track Band is a less formal, pep band-style, voluntary organization.  We hope that lots of students want to join the group and cheer on the team!  Wear West colors if you have them; no uniform required.

Saturday, October 3 - Pumpkin Fest Parade.  The parade starts at 3:00 p.m. in front of Cityside.  Students are to be lined up on Main St. by 2:30 p.m. in full uniform ready to go.  It is required of ALL students.  Athletes who have direct conflicts will be excused from the parade, but I need an email confirmation, please.  

    (Direct conflicts would be defined as "I am swimming/golfing/running at 1 or 2 p.m. and there is no physical possibility I can do both events."  Folks who have athletic contests in the morning and are back in town by parade time are expected to be at the parade.  Thanks!)

FUTURE planning:

 - Mattress Sale, Saturday, October 24.  Here is a link to the event on Facebook.  Please mark your calendars!  This sale made LOTS of money last spring.  There should be flyers/coupons for families to pass out this week.  The basic idea is that you write your student's name on the flyer/coupon and pass them out to friends and family, church, work, wherever.  When a customer brings that flyer to the sale, credit for the sale is given to your child, and the profit margin is credited to his/her trip account.  What if someone forgets the flyer with the name on it?  No problem - all they need to do is remember who it was and we will write in the name.  Further, more specific info will be given out to students in class soon, and we are trying to schedule a parent meeting for it as well.

 - In conjunction with the mattress sale, we are also running a Life Expressions "make-and-take" fund raiser.  For $20.00 you can paint and letter a sign for your home or office, and students will receive credit in their trip account.  Details on that event are here - - and again more information will be forthcoming in the next couple weeks.
  *you do not need a Facebook account to see these events - just click on the links.

Grandville Invitational - Saturday, October 10.  As I emailed last week, this will be an evening/night event.  I am thinking that an afternoon rehearsal/"tailgate" might be in order and at least a little fun, so I will be looking into that idea the next couple days.  We are scheduled to perform at 9:30 p.m. (!!).  Here's a link to the day's events:

That is a lot of information for this week, so I will stop here.  Please let me know if you have any questions - 616-748-3130 or


Monday, September 21, 2015

Week of September 21

"It's not raining 'til I say it's raining..."  What a damp debut for our new uniforms!  The good news is that they seem to have held up extremely well and actually dried pretty quickly.  Things are almost even smelling OK in the band room this morning, and usually by now the old suits had the room in kind of bad shape.  The material in the new ones is much lighter and water-friendly as well as being much more comfortable (with the exception of the stiff collar around the neck, but they'll get used to that).

Overall I thought Friday went about as well as it could have - we have tons to work on as the season progresses, but given the conditions, the feel of new uniforms for every student (no one in the drumline, for instance, has ever been in a full uniform that is the same as everyone else), and the first time in front of a home football crowd, I am pretty happy with where things are right now.  I will try to post video (thanks, BJ Meyaard!!) to the Facebook page and YouTube sometime later today or so, though admittedly that is not a high priority this early in the season.

Speaking of thanks, a HUGE thank you to all of the parents who helped out Friday with everything - photography, videography, uniforms, drum major podiums, donating water, being unused on the plume detail (good call on not using them - thanks to Brent Deters for that final call), etc.  It takes a village to raise a child, but a pretty strong force of parents to make them all look good in front of a crowd.

On to this week:

TONIGHT: Monday rehearsal at the stadium, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
Tuesday: Color guard rehearsal, dance studio, 7 - 9 p.m.
Friday: West Homecoming, FULL BAND again, 5:45 p.m. report

Upcoming events for your future planning:
 - Monday, Sept. 28 - Monday rehearsal at the stadium.  This may be a very crowded evening with an event going on in the auditorium.  Students are not excused from rehearsal for that event; there is another showing of this film in the Holland area this week.
 - Saturday, October 3 - Pumpkin Fest parade.  Parade begins at 3 p.m. in front of Cityside MS.  

This can be a touchy subject for various reasons, so I will be as careful as possible, but no promises to not step on any toes.  

On Friday night there were over 20 students absent from the performance for one reason or another.  I am happy to say that the vast majority were pre-planned, excused reasons (varsity football, family weddings, a concert where tickets were purchased many months ago, etc.).  And since it was the second week of school, the illnesses started up already, so we had a few people who were ill.  There were also a couple out with concussions...

My point is this: it's important to have everyone at every performance and rehearsal.  And clearly, based on the above items, it's also virtually impossible.  I can't stress enough how every person is important to the band's final performance and look, whether it be a lowly freshman on the back hashmark on the 10-yard-line or a drum major.  Everyone has a place to be.  Please make every effort to have your child participate - the course description states that "rehearsals and performances outside of the school day will be required."  I think Friday's 10% absentee rate set a record, and it's one that I hope to never break.  I think that once in a while the feeling might get to a "hey, there's 225 kids, they're really not going to miss one" sort of thing, and that is definitely not the case.  I appreciate your efforts to help your kids fulfill their commitments!

That should do for this week.  Look out for some emails/surveys/signups for assistance at this week's game, the upcoming mattress sale, and helping to run the MSBOA marching festival.


Monday, September 14, 2015

Week of September 14

Welcome to the second week of school!  This week things get rolling more seriously, as we have some evening rehearsals and a full band performance on Friday.  Here is a run-down on the week as well as some other things for you to keep in mind.

TONIGHT: Rehearsal at the stadium - 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.  We have MUCH to accomplish: reviewing the halftime show to get it in shape for Friday night, getting it on and off the field, setting up what the expectations are in the bleachers, and running a new pre-game set.
    (Senior Alex Stuive has written a fanfare for our pre-game show that incorporates both East and West fight songs as well as some general "exciting musical build-up" to kick off our pre-game festivities.  It's possible, though probably not this week, that we will be bringing back Script Chix and Block Dux for pre-game as well.  My goal is to do something other than just stand there between the initial fight song and the national anthem...  Look for something new this week!)

Tuesday: Color guard 7 - 9 p.m.  This will either be in the band or choir room (maybe even outside?) - the Holland Symphony will be rehearsing in the building tomorrow night, so we may have to adjust where guard goes.

Thursday:  Band Boosters meeting, band room, 7:00 p.m.  All parents are welcome and encouraged to attend.  We promise not to volunteer you or put you on a committee, though there will be opportunities for both of those to happen.  These meetings are a good place to catch up in person with what's going on in the bands as well as to connect with other parents and be part of something that is very valuable to your kids.  This week we will be discussing hosting MSBOA marching band festival and some trip updates and fund raising opportunities for October.  Hope to see you there!


This is a required performance.  ALL students, full uniform, etc.  I know that there will be several students otherwise engaged, and I have received those notifications (thank you again!).  We dodged a West Cross Country situation (the team will be back in plenty of time), and all else looks good at this point.  Remember to get your kids HERE; "I didn't have a ride" is not an excuse to miss a performance.  With well over 200 kids in the band, someone lives near you and can offer your student a lift to school.

Students need to be here a little early to make sure we can get stuff done on time before the game.  I want kids her NO LATER than 5:45, but preferably earlier.  My goal is to have a fully-uniformed band on the practice field by 6 p.m.  There are fewer parts of the uniform to put on, but since they're new it might take a while to get everything where we want it, and we already know that there will need to be some adjustments in pant length.  (For folks looking to add to their prayer/thought list for the week, please put "no rain Friday" on it ASAP.  Thanks.)

There will be a new Signup Genius out later today or tomorrow for a Friday night crew.  We will need plume distributors/collectors (kids do not keep these with their uniforms), some general assistance in the uniform room, a DM podium crew, etc.  If you have assisted before I will probably be in touch with you to make sure you're on again for this season.

 - Monday rehearsal, 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.
 - Tuesday Color Guard, 7:00 - 9:00 p.m.
 - Friday - West Homecoming game, full band, all students

THINGS TO KEEP IN MIND for the future:

 - MSBOA District 10 MB Festival will be hosted at Zeeland Stadium on October 13.  Athletes need to inform their coaches that this is our "district finals," and as such I will expect every student to be on the field with me.  Many events will allow students to participate in both; this is the one and only band event for which I do not make deals, though, so be aware of that as you plan.

 - The Mattress Sale rides again.  Saturday, Oct. 24 in the East cafeteria.  Find the Facebook event here.  This is a great fund raising opportunity for the upcoming trip to Memphis!

 - Speaking of the trip, we will plan a parent meeting for October to update folks on details, etc.  Andy Watson has been a great researcher and planner and has things figured out quite well as far as our schedule, food, etc.  At this point we anticipate kids only having to by a couple of meals or snacks; all else will be included in the cost.  Chaperones are coming together, too.  I am now ready to accept emails from folks interested in helping out.  Please understand that lots of people will want to chaperone, but we only have space for about six more.  School employees, medical personnel, etc. have an advantage here.

 - I posted some general blog stuff the other day of information that folks need frequently throughout the year.  So far I've added "Communication" and "Track Band;" in the near future look for posts on calendar/requirements and band/athletics.  I hope to get the "Uniforms" one done today or tomorrow.  

Thanks!  As always, is a great way to contact me with any questions.


Tuesday, September 8, 2015

Week of September 8

Good Morning - 

Here is what to expect for the first official week of school schedule-wise:

Tuesday, Sept 8 - Color Guard rehearsal, band room, 6 - 9 p.m.
Friday, Sept. 11 - East home football, Track Band - report to band room at 5:45 p.m.
Monday, Sept. 14 - Evening rehearsal - 6:30 - 9:00 p.m.

This is a pretty short week, so this is a pretty short blog post.  Future posts will include more specific details regarding dates and times, etc. as needed, as well as any updates to things that you need to know.

I have written several new posts regarding general band stuff so that the information can be seen all in one place.  You can view them by clicking the arrow next to the "August" tab on the left sidebar.

Please let me know if you need anything!