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