Band E-News

May 6, 2020 - Band Updates Week of 5/4 (Important SENIOR Info)

Hello band students,


I hope this email finds you as well as possible given the circumstances.  Here are some updates as we begin to wrap up the year.


1.  Buzz Listening Assignments - 

Please make sure you are keeping up with the light listening assignments on Buzz.  We are consciously trying to provide a meaningful but manageable workload for this class.  There are a few students who have not yet turned in any assignments; please remember that these are not optional and will need to be completed.  Questions?  Ask Mr. Brown.


2.  School Fight Song Assignment - 

As a fun version of a playing assignment, we will be doing a quarantine video version of the school fight song.  Check out Buzz for details.  (The performance part is an assignment although you are not required to be featured in the video.)

Click here for the sheet music.

Click here for the play-along video.


3.  Music Awards (for Seniors) - 

Music Awards Night, like everything else, has been canceled due to COVID-19.  This year, we will only be distributing awards for graduating seniors.  Everyone else will catch up when we come back together next year.  Stay tuned for a separate announcement about the senior awards usually given at the final concerts (Sousa, Armstrong, etc).


SENIORS, please fill out this google form by Monday 5/11 with your points from the year.  We will tally your points and distribute awards later this month.


4.  Senior Slideshow - 

SENIORS, please email Mr. Brown <> the following info:

  • Favorite Band Memory

  • Favorite Band Piece

  • Future Plans

  • Baby Picture

  • Current/Senior Picture


5. Rosters for Next Year - 

For those returning, please check out the class rosters for next year.  Next year's bands were created with the goals of achieving balanced instrumentation, providing leadership opportunities for students, and attaining educational outcomes.  We are really excited about the bands next year and especially excited to get back to making music together.


6. Marching Band - 

We know that there are a lot of questions about marching band next year.  All we can say at this point is that we are still planning to have marching band if we are back to school as normal in the fall.  Unfortunately, it does not look like we will have any firm information about the situation until summer - we're just going to cross our fingers and let you know when we know!


7.  Zoom Office Hours Reminder - 

MWF: 10:00am-11:00am

TR: 5:00pm-6:00pm



Michael Ver Voort

Music Teacher & Director of Bands

Middleton High School

April 2, 2020 - Band Updates: Instrument Drop-offs & Auditions

Hello all,


Just a few more updates:


1.  Instrument Delivery -

We will be able to deliver more instruments tomorrow.  If you still need yours from school, please send Mr. V an email tonight with your name, address, and where we will find your instrument in the band room.  Delivery will be tomorrow around midday - if this will not work, please indicate in your email.


2. Chamber Winds Auditions -

I forgot to include a due date for the video in the last email.  Please either upload to Google Drive or email videos to all three band teachers no later than Tuesday, April 7th.  Music is available here.


3. Class Code Reminder -

PLEASE enroll as soon as possible in the Buzz course - email me if you are at all confused and I will try to help.  Reminder of course codes:

Chamber Winds Block 1 -- MCP1041171 

Wind Ensemble Block 3 -- MCP1041172 

Concert Band Block 6 --  MCP1041175 

Cardinal Band Block 7 -- MCP1041168


4. Student Tutors -

Student tutors should enroll in the class they are tutoring as well as the class they play in.  More information forthcoming.


5. SmartMusic -

Please consider trying out SmartMusic... it's pretty great.

Sign up at this link:

With this class code: ZCCXW-6A3RE


6. Lines of Communication -

Email is best, or Zoom office hours.  If you need to talk to a teacher, send an email with your phone number and we'll call you ASAP.  Check the website for an archive of all email updates.


Good luck to everyone starting online school.  I have heard that some classes are already having homework and tests - try not to stress out too much, and make sure you enjoy this beautiful weather!



Michael Ver Voort

Music Teacher & Director of Bands

Middleton High School

(608) 829-9680

March 31, 2020 - Band Updates, Online Course Info, and More!

Dear band students and families,

What a month this has been.  I admit that I still get a little sad thinking about the major events that have been canceled over the last three weeks.  An enormous amount of teacher, student, and parent effort will not bear the fruit that we had all hoped to see.

Then I remember that the entire world - quite literally - is in the same situation.  Our experiences today are unprecedented in living memory, and I find the gravity of that knowledge oddly comforting.  As we look ahead to the remainder of the school year and beyond, I hope that all of us are able to find enjoyment in our new day-to-day and to make the best of these strange and challenging times.


With all that said, here are some important updates. This is a lot, so please digest slowly.

-- This Week --

1.  Buzz Enrollment Codes -  
Chamber Winds Block 1 -- MCP1041171 
Wind Ensemble Block 3 -- MCP 1041172 
Concert Band Block 6 --  MCP1041175 
Cardinal Band Block 7 -- MCP1041168


2. Assignment for This Week -  
Simply log into Buzz and fill out the survey (1 question) that you will find on the course page.  This allows us to know who can successfully access the course content.

-- Loose Ends --

3.  Chamber Winds Auditions -  
If you are interested in auditioning for chamber winds next year, we will have auditions via video submission.  Submit a  video recording of yourself playing the audition etude(s) - either clearly labeled in your Google folder or simply by email to all three directors.   Forgot your music?

4.  Pep Band Makeups - 
We are currently planning to do pep band makeups in person when we return to school.  In the event that we do not return to school for the year, there will be a remote alternative available.

5.  Concert Listening - 
Students who have not completed the 2nd-semester concert listening should attend a classical or jazz concert remotely (30 minutes minimum) and write their paragraph.  One side effect of the COVID19 cancellations is that there are tons of amazing streams online now!  Some suggestions: 
The Berliner Philharmoniker's Digital Concert Hall

Rimsky-Korsakov: Scheherazade


We highly recommend listening with the best audio device you own and not multitasking during the concert.  Send your paragraph to Mr. Rothacker via email and include a link to the concert stream you watched.

6.  Full Orchestra Assignment (Block 1 Only) - 
If you participated in the recent full orchestra performances OR have already completed the other assignment, you will be exempted from the first two weeks of online assignments (4/6, 4/13).  Otherwise, don't worry about the full orchestra thing and simply do the assignments as we send them.

7.  Virtual State Solo & Ensemble - 
If you qualified for state solo & ensemble this year, WSMA is offering an online option.  All registrations and submissions are done individually, so any interested students are encouraged to check it out!

-- Looking Forward: Online Band --

There is a reality that what we do in an ensemble performance class cannot be meaningfully replicated over the internet.  For the most part, we will catch up on missed content next year.  If you are overwhelmed and stressed out by online school, we want to make online band as painless as possible.  On the other hand, if you have more free time than usual, we encourage you to practice and improve as a musician.

8.  Online Curriculum Overview - 
Starting next week, you can expect the following short assignments each week.  More info to come.   
     a) Listening - Listen to assigned music and discuss 
     b) Practicing - record a short piece of music that Mr. V teaches via video. 
     c) Challenges - optional challenge assignments to help get you motivated.  We're hoping to do some fun things like a collaborative video, technical study competition, etc.

     d) If we missed you on the first round of instrument drop-offs, we'll be in touch soon.  I just need to find out the next time we can get into the school building!

9. Office Hours - 
Someone will be available on Zoom each week during the following times to answer questions or just hang.  Feel free to drop in!  You can always email as well; we'll be checking regularly as school resumes.

Please check your email for the Zoom links. We will not be posting Zoom links on the website.

MWF: 10:00am-11:00am
TR: 5:00pm-6:00pm 

10.  SmartMusic - 
There is a  great opportunity available right now on SmartMusic.  It's an online music library and practice tool that lets you play along with literally thousands of pieces of music.  You can read solos with their accompaniment, play your part of band pieces while listening to all the other parts, and access method books.  The newest version is fully web-based, so it works on Chromebooks.

It's free - just  click here and use our MHS class code (ZCCXW-6A3RE).  We strongly encourage everyone to try it out; we will even have opportunities to submit some assignments this way.


11. Marching Band - 
Just a quick note that we are still planning to have marching band next fall!  The whole process is just a bit delayed because of construction and of course the coronavirus.  Stay tuned for info about the show, registration, leadership auditions, etc.  For those planning your calendars, band camp is currently scheduled for 8/17-8/28, and the state championships are 10/17 in the evening.

-- News --

12. WSMA State Honors - 
Congratulations to those students accepted to the WSMA State Honors Project!  The list was released yesterday and is available  here.

13. Fine Arts Month - 
In lieu of Fine Arts Week this year, which should have been next week, Mr. Kurr is running a virtual Fine Arts Month.  All members of our school community - even parents! - are invited to participate.   Click here for more info.


Mr. Brown, Mr. Rothacker, and Mr. Ver Voort


Michael Ver Voort

Music Teacher & Director of Bands 
Middleton High School 
(608) 829-9680

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