Band E-News

August 11, 2020 - Welcome Back 2020-2021

Dear returning band students and parents,


As we near the beginning of the 2020-21 school year, we wanted to reach out as a band department to fill you in on everything we know so far about the upcoming school year. Yesterday should have been the first day of marching band percussion/color guard camp, and while we are mourning the loss of so many events past and future, we are very excited to start synchronous classes and get back to learning.


1. Cancellations/Postponements -


Marching Band, including color guard and drumline, is cancelled for now. The Big 8 has postponed all fall sporting competitions, which means no football games and no marching band. Additionally, WSMA has cancelled the marching band state championships in October. If circumstances permit, we will consider a winter season for drum line and color guard (WGI). If football games and marching competitions are rescheduled for the spring, we could also consider the feasibility of a spring marching band show.


Jazz Band Auditions are postponed for now.  The fate of co-curricular activities like jazz band is still up in the air.  If and when we are permitted to have rehearsals or even small group sectionals, we will be able to revisit jazz band.


In-Person Classes and Rehearsals will of course not take place until the school allows for in-person activities. When this happens, we are optimistic about the possibility of (optionally) playing instruments live and in person. If you are interested, we encourage you to check out the ongoing NFHS study of playing musical instruments safely during COVID.


2. What will virtual band class look like?

We’re excited that the school has allowed for synchronous learning in the new online schedule. Unfortunately, technology does not allow for synchronous performance, but we will be taking advantage of the zoom/google meet format to cover some fun and useful topics that we don’t usually have time for.  There will be two components to the class:


A) Solo Preparation: this is the “independent” part of the class. Students will work on a WSMA-list solo piece and on their personal technique and will check in regularly with teachers. The school’s expectation is about 1 hour of homework per class each week, although students may want to practice more. This time will allow students to maintain their skills so that we can get back to normal as soon as possible when we are able.


B) Live Class Options: the synchronous part of the class will involve a choice of short units in the style of “band camp” offerings. These classes will build fun, useful and relevant skills that we don’t always get to in band class. All activities for these units will take place during class (no homework), although resources for extra enrichment will be available.


3. What About the “Fully Virtual” Option?

The latest info we have is that “students who choose to go fully online will ... be able to take part in the large ensembles with the requirement that they come in person for  those classes if we return to the building at some point.”  This is all the information we have available at this time.


4. What If I Use A School Instrument?

If you already have a school instrument, we can arrange for you to keep it. If you need to get or return a school instrument, stay tuned! We’re working with the school to figure out distribution.


We hope everyone is staying healthy, safe, and enjoying these last beautiful weeks of summer. Please reach out with any questions you might have. As we navigate the changing landscape of this fall, we often hear about new developments at the same time you do, but we will do our best to answer any questions that we can. We are really looking forward to getting back to school, and we hope you are too! See you soon!


Doug Brown, Mike Ver Voort, and Eric Rothacker


Michael Ver Voort

Music Teacher & Director of Bands

Middleton High School

(608) 829-9680

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

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