About the OCHS Band Program

Oldham County High School was established in 1953 with the consolidation of LaGrange and Crestwood High Schools on its current campus in Buckner, Kentucky. Oldham County’s close proximity to Louisville and its reputation for outstanding schools have made it one of the fastest growing areas in Kentucky over the past half century.

OCHS has been recognized twice as a National School of Excellence, and as a Kentucky Blue Ribbon School. Our school has always been blessed with solid administrative leadership, an outstanding faculty, and students who are genuinely interested in learning. As a result, OCHS has been consistently ranked as one of the top high schools in Kentucky, has had many student participants in the Kentucky Governors’ School programs, National Merit Scholars, and numerous academic honors.

The OCHS band has received consistent Distinguished ratings for performance in KMEA events for well over three decades. Prior to 2004, the Marching Colonels were very active in marching events including Bands of America regionals, the KMEA State Marching Band Championships (5 time finalists) and major parade performances at the Fiesta Bowl (1987), Macy*s Thanksgiving Day Parade (1988) and the Orange Bowl Parade (1988). The program refocused their emphasis on concert performance and support of school athletics since 2004.

Since 1992, the OCHS band has performed with distinction in concert events throughout the eastern United States and Canada, most recently in the WorldStrides Festival of Gold/Chicago in the spring of 2015, the Grand National Adjudicators Invitational in 2017 and the Dixie Classic Williamsburg Concert Festival in 2019. The Symphonic Band performed as a featured ensemble at the KMEA In-Service Conference in 2006, 2010, 2014, and 2018, and served as a clinic ensemble on three other occasions. Our Tuba-Euphonium ensemble and the Flute Choir performed at the Conference in 2013 and 2014. Students in the OCHS band participate in all aspects of the program (concert band, marching band, pep bands and small ensembles), and are well represented on academic teams and in academic honors organizations. Students excel individually as well, with many representing the program in All District and All State Ensembles, university-sponsored honors band clinics, and national honors bands (NAfME All National Ensembles). A considerable number of band students are also involved in at least one team sport as well, including soccer, cross country, lacrosse, wrestling, track and field, tennis, and others.

The Marching Colonels are a non-competitive ensemble made up of the total enrollment of all instrumental classes. This group performs for home football games and community events throughout the summer and fall semester, and is split into two pep bands to perform for girls and boys basketball teams during their season.

OCHS returned to a seven-period traditional schedule in 2010 after twelve years on a 4 x 4 block schedule. All music performance classes meet for 50 minutes daily, with percussionists scheduled in a separate percussion class. One after school rehearsal each week is scheduled to tie the ensembles together for performances. Instrumental courses include Jazz ensemble, Percussion Techniques, and two ability-leveled Symphonic bands.

Thank you!

To: All OCHS band parents and students
From: Brad Rogers
Date: June 4, 2021
Subj: Thanks!
 
As we put the finishing touches on a most unusual year for the OCHS Band, I would like to take a moment to thank each of you for the many incredible opportunities you have provided me through our work together.  The tradition of excellence that is at the heart of the OCHS band program has always been the direct result of all of those who have contributed their talent, time, and treasure to its musical mission—each and every one of you are part of that tradition.  We have made substantial progress as an ensemble this year in spite of what seemed to be insurmountable obstacles, and many of you are already in a position to do some very special things musically as you turn the page into the coming summer.
 
If you are graduating from our program, I owe you more than I can possibly repay.  My wish for each of you is that you have all the success and happiness possible, whatever you may be doing in the future, and that you find some way to keep music important in your life.
 
There are a number of items that should be mentioned as we approach the end of this year —things that will make what happens next in your musical experience mean even more to you and will maximize your continued efforts as a band program.
  

  1. Keep playing your instrument through the summer.  You’ll be in MUCH better shape when camp begins and will hit the ground running on your seating audition music once school opens.  Don’t neglect the fundamentals of tone production and scales; without making those areas solid in your playing, not much else truly great can happen.
  2. Summer lessons are a great idea!  We have a superb staff of folks who work our sectionals every year; these people also offer individual lessons.  Private lessons are an investment in your musicianship—the better you play, the more you want to play.  If you are already taking lessons, continue; if you’re not, please consider starting.  Ask Mr. Centers or your section coach about this possibility!
  3. Collabra Music technology is a wonderful “practice buddy” during the summer.  Our current subscriptions run through the end of July and will likely be renewed at band camp time.  Students who make this effort will arrive on the first day of school ready to move forward immediately.
  4. Commit to taking advantage of all of the musical opportunities available to you through band membership.  If you haven’t auditioned for all district band, try it this year.  Ask to be nominated for participation in honors band clinics.  Put together a student-led trio or quartet or jazz combo.  Learn a doubling instrument.  Assist an incoming freshman in your section.  Commit to giving your individual best effort every single day, whatever level of experience or proficiency you bring to the group.
  5. SUMMER PACKET!  Check the band website: www.ochs.band
  6. Each of you CHOOSES to accept the responsibilities of band membership.  Be true to that commitment.  Whether you like it or not, your experience puts you in a position of leadership.  Provide the correct example for those who will soon be here, and they will follow your lead.  They should want to “be like you” for all the right reasons.

 
Summer band begins July 5th.  Each of you should be very excited about everything the coming year will bring to our band program.  While 2021-2022 will mark the first change of director in over 30 years, Mr. Centers is uniquely qualified to take the OCHS Band program to even greater levels of musicianship and success.  Follow his lead, support each other and the incoming class, and make OCHS the example of how a program can come out of a pandemic and flourish!   
 
Now that I’m finally graduating from high school myself, I will become your new “biggest fan”…
Brad Rogers

Wholehearted Attention by NAfME Member Walter Bitner

By NAfME Member Walter Bitner

Article Originally Posted on Off The Podium

Music teachers in school settings often feel a sense of isolation from the activities happening in other classrooms, and a lack of understanding on the part of other teachers and administrators about what it is, exactly, that music teachers teach. There are striking differences in the way teaching and learning happens in the music classroom when compared to the activities happening in other classes. In the current standards-obsessed education climate, appropriate musical activity in the classroom faces real obstacles in being appreciated, understood, and ultimately funded, because it resists being reduced to a checklist of objectives.

Which is not to say that there are not discrete objectives for a music teacher to impart to his or her students – quite the opposite, in fact.  Music-making is such a complex activity that the act of separating all the components that go into it into easily assessed bytes of information ultimately leaves out essential aspects of what it is really about, presenting an incomplete picture at best, and at worst, a distorted view of the purpose and value of musical activity.

And it’s true that there is a vast amount of both knowledge and skills for a music student to assimilate.  An accomplished musician is expected to have a systematic knowledge and set of abilities in regards to music generally and to their chosen discipline specifically (i.e. technical proficiency on an instrument/voice and mastery of a complex notation system, working knowledge of music theory, history, repertoire, etc.) as well as the ability to apply these skills to varying social circumstances. To be successful, a musician must develop a secure understanding of the rehearsal and performance process both in regards to their own abilities and psychology and in the context of the conventions of making music with others.

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Much of the content a musician must master is traditionally presented sequentially out of necessity – as in other academic disciplines like mathematics, many musical concepts build upon previous knowledge, and these are the aspects which lend themselves most easily to academic means of assessment, and to codification as standards.

But this is only part of what a music teacher does in the classroom, in rehearsal, and what music students learn and experience.

Music plays a unique and important place in our culture and an understanding and appreciation of music is a hallmark of the educated person. Beyond the content of the music curriculum however, there is something fundamentally different about the process of music-making from the way most other subjects are taught in school that is of immense value to the successful education of dynamic, flexible, and responsive individuals. Students who sing in choir or play in band or orchestra must simultaneously perform a complex set of operations that call on more aspects of the human being than any other activity they face in school. All at once, they must:

  • Maintain awareness of the physical body, holding a specific posture(s) and performing precise physical techniques to produce sound either with the voice (the breath) or on an instrument (the breath and/or hands and in some cases other parts of the body).
  • Listen: not just to a single object of the attention (e.g. a teacher’s or classmate’s voice), but to the sound they are producing themselves and what those in the ensemble around them are doing (often many different parts or sections of the ensemble doing different things all at once) – constantly adjusting their performance in response to what they hear.
  • With the eyes, interpret visual cues from the director to align their efforts with those of everyone else in the ensemble – constantly adjusting their performance in response to what they see.
  • With the eyes, read and interpret a complex notation system (that they are in the process of learning to understand) that describes what they are to play in real time.
  • Negotiate their own emotional responses to the experience – this can be complex in itself, consisting of multiple layers including response to social experience (subordinating ego to the needs of the ensemble), artistic/intellectual/spiritual response to the music itself, and emotions provoked by the constant process of evaluation, criticism, and the attempt to improve performance that is the daily grind of the rehearsal process.

"Violinists"

cyano66/iStock/Thinkstock

The concentration required to do all of this at once is formidable, and the only other activities a child participates in in school that come close to this level of complexity are in other performing arts: dance and theatre. At its best, musical performance demands a wholehearted attention from the participant, a complete absorption in the moment in which all other thoughts and concerns disappear. The development of the ability to sustain this wholehearted attention takes time and effort for students, and careful cultivation of the learning environment on the part of the teacher. Repertoire must be chosen carefully to present the right challenges for the ever-changing capacities of students, and be artistically worthy of this kind of effort. And the teacher must exhibit this wholehearted attention herself in her work in the classroom, consistently modeling a kind of behavior with which the students may not be familiar, as it is not required of them in the other learning environments they are exposed to. Ultimately, as any fine musician learns, this is the way – the only way to do this difficult work well is to do it with wholehearted attention.

My experience as a teacher taught me that – for the vast majority of my students – this kind of effort was something they valued tremendously. Children wish for the opportunity to rise to the demand placed on them in a musical ensemble, to put forth their very best effort right now, in this moment, in making something special happen that is beyond what any one of them could accomplish individually. Participating daily in an activity that required their wholehearted attention brought them a respite from the worries of the day, and the music classroom became a place of refuge and renewal.

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Musical considerations aside, teaching a child to make a consistent effort to put everything she has into what she is doing right now has the potential for great impact on the kind of people our students will become. In our ever more distracted world, with so many stimuli vying for our attention, the ability to concentrate completely on the present moment seems to be in danger of becoming a scarce commodity. Yet the implications of teaching a child to do this in even one facet of their lives sets an example for how one could live differently.

A child who has learned to apply wholehearted attention to one part of life may be able to apply it to other moments when the practice of this kind of attention can have a great impact on themselves and others – when she is faced with difficult emotional or social circumstances, the death of a loved one, or the needs of her own child someday. But even in small ways, this practice of attending to the present moment with all of one’s faculties can bring an experience of freedom, wholeness, and connection to others and the world that is vitally different from the stressed, distracted, multi-tasking state many of us find ourselves in too much of the time.

We have all heard and used the common expression “pay attention” but in fact, attention is not a payment, it is a gift. Teaching students to give this gift to their own lives may in the end be the music teacher’s greatest legacy, and the most important thing that students learn in rehearsal and performance, regardless of whether or not they continue to make music as adults.

Go to the companion article, Trust

Visit Walter Bitner’s Facebook and the Nashville Symphony Facebook page.

About the Author

"WalterBitner"

Photo Courtesy Walter Bitner

NAfME Member and Veteran music educator Walter Bitner is the Director of Education & Community Engagement at the Nashville Symphony. He has led a multi-faceted career as a teacher and performer: a multi-instrumentalist and singer, he is also a master teacher, composer, and conductor conversant with a wide variety of musical styles and traditions. Walter has been a performing musician since childhood; he began his career as a boy soprano singing in school and church choirs and began to study piano at the age of seven. His work as a choral singer continued for many years into his twenties, and he has sung in symphony choruses under many directors including Michael Deane Lamkin, Robert Summer, Julius Rudel, and Robert Shaw.

Moving It Forward in a COVID World

Moving it forward in a COVID world

It should be obvious by now that these are challenging times for music programs at every level and in every corner of our country.  In fact, that may be the biggest possible understatement of the situation. 

It is fairly obvious the standard for public education in general has shifted to put safety into a position of primary emphasis.  I’m not going to argue that safety isn’t important for students and teachers alike.  I do think all involved in the business of educating our population have to stay focused on building structures within the current climate of constantly shifting and often contradictory restrictions—structures that have a chance of actually producing long-term, positive outcomes for our programs.

I won’t claim to have figured out any of this to my satisfaction after eight months of NTI, the most unusual summer and band camp I’ve ever experienced (resulting in a marching band that performed but didn’t march), and a late NTI school opening that was followed by several weeks of a hybrid A/B schedule and then back to NTI until mid-January.  Of course, we have now returned to the A/B hybrid and will be there for a while.  This constant shifting has never allowed a rehearsal situation involving an entire ensemble, an appropriately balanced instrumentation, or consistent daily contact with students—other than on a computer screen, and we all know what that has been like.  

My wife tells me “you’ll just have to lower your expectations.”

I say “no” to that statement.  For me, high standards are what make music programs special in our schools and provide the reason for their very existence.  Reconciling my attitude about this, the situation at hand, and the needs of my program are the reasons I continue to show up for work. 

I have not found teaching virtually or on a hybrid schedule to be an adequate replacement for a traditional, in-person rehearsal format based on a full ensemble model.  I have also not found virtual individual instruction to be somehow ‘better’ than private instruction in-person. There are aspects of virtual instruction that I think will be of benefit as an extension of in-person teaching and learning once we are back to a regular routine.  We can’t afford to have virtual instruction replace what we all know has to happen for our programs and students to thrive! 

As we work through all of this, administrators may look to ‘technology’ as a way to redefine how music performance opportunities are presented to students.  A snazzy virtual “ensemble” performance on YouTube is interesting to watch, but I doubt producing it was nearly as engaging for the performers as an actual live performance for an audience. 

And that is the point.

I have been blessed to have a long career working in several different school systems and feel especially fortunate to have worked in my current band room for well over thirty years.  Each of my teaching opportunities has been a situation in which a band program could be directed toward a high level of excellence—another blessing.  All of these experiences have put me in a position to deal with a wide range of challenges over the years. 

So, I’ve seen a few things—good and bad—that have helped me form an opinion about how to approach digging out of the current mess we’re in.  We can’t afford to look backward but must focus on the way forward.

Most importantly, music educators at the school level must come together and take the long view of things.  It is a fact: a truly viable, successful music program is not built in a year.  It takes consistent effort on the part of all involved to develop the culture, support structure, school and community buy-in, instrumentation, and musical proficiency that are present in programs that project excellence as their core value.  In my experience, seven to ten years consistently directed toward this end product is necessary to build a program in which the expectation is to be excellent year after year.  Once that is achieved, I think it is even more challenging to maintain what has been developed over time.

Unfortunately, many have discovered that you can significantly lose a traditionally excellent band program in just a couple of months.  Even those fortunate enough to have weathered the COVID storm relatively intact will likely find that proficiency levels, ensemble cohesiveness, and even student interest in band have fallen away over the last calendar year.  Consider the band student who has never marched and played at the same time, has not performed a live concert since Christmas 2019, or hasn’t attended a concert assessment for the last two years—not to mention those who did not have an opportunity to even start on an instrument in beginning band!  Students who have a choice to make about band membership between middle and high school are especially vulnerable.  The choice they make will have an immediate impact on the viability of high school programs.

We all feel it: NTI or virtual lessons completely remove the most important aspect of performance ensembles—in-person, real time collaboration.  Beginning and intermediate bands at the elementary and middle school level are where this all starts.  It is this area I believe all of us will need to focus on and invest in if we are to achieve long-term success with our programs.

High school directors may need to rethink program priorities as they put things back together.  Middle school directors may need to step up into assistant roles on a daily basis if they aren’t already doing so, and high school directors should invest themselves fully in the middle school feeder(s) that provide their prospective band students.  Superintendents, principals, counseling staff, and faculty colleagues at the building level must also be part of the overall recovery plan.  

Restructuring staff allocations for band classes between feeder and high schools through enabling daily team-teaching scenarios could accelerate the recovery process.  Creating itinerant teaching or “board-level” director assignments, rather than assigning teachers to a specific school faculty, may provide some flexibility in scheduling and staffing level concerns.  Any of these will require a commitment by all involved to make such a commitment work as a long-term strategy (remember, 7-10 years…).  One or two years will not achieve the end result—only a long-term vision consistently implemented will result in a lasting and sustainable result.

At the university level, teachers of methods courses, student teaching advisors, and ensemble conductors should include at the very least a discussion of strategies for program building in their instructional model.  After all, if that kid doesn’t start on an instrument in beginning band, there probably won’t be clarinetists on the stage in the university wind ensemble or trumpets and trombones on the field at halftime.  

We really are all in this together.  Let’s help each other move forward.

 

 

Brad Rogers has been the director of bands at Oldham County High School in Buckner, Kentucky since 1989.  Prior to his appointment at OCHS in 1987 as assistant director, he held positions at Oakland High School (Murfreesboro, TN), Central High School (Columbia, TN), and Christian County High School (KY).  His opinions are his own, and he is getting too old to change his mind about most of them.

He can be contacted at bradford.rogers@oldham.kyschools.us 

For the time being, anyway.

Wash your hands.

Director’s Comments October 12, 2020

Director’s Comments
October 12, 2020

Friday (October 2nd) was another in a series of small steps toward putting our band back together.  The students are making slow progress—in every class, in every rehearsal together over the last three weeks, they have demonstrated incremental improvement in their cohesiveness and sound.  It should be noted that for our performance on October 2nd, the only time the band actually played together as a group was at 5:30 on Friday night—just before the game.  It was also the first time the entire band played a single note together since September 18th when our football team played SOHS—a full two weeks “apart”.

I continue to work with the students on how to be “in a band” through our in-person, A/B schedule.  Frankly, it is so difficult to make musical progress on concert or marching band selections with the instrumentation as wacky as it is on A/B that working through the re-building of the program is focused on building knowledge, fundamental training, and the right attitude.  I’m hopeful we will get the opportunity to actually rehearse together in our actual classes sooner rather than later.  Time will tell.

Our Snap! Raise project is off to a decent start, with the project scheduled to conclude on October 20th while we are on our fall break.  We are still not up to my expectations on participation level or completeness of student account information, but it is slowly improving.  I’ll keep after them to do so get things completed.  We need to see an improvement in participation level, or this effort will fall short of our budgeted result.  As easy as this project is to do successfully, I’m expecting our students to max out their effort by the end of this week—they certainly won’t be thinking of anything school related after this Friday!

Rehearsals while we are on current in-person format (A/B), the rehearsal day will continue to correspond with a day the students are already in the building at 3:45 p.m.  A-Day in-person students will meet on Wednesdays, and B-Day students will meet on Tuesdays.  These rehearsals will run from 4:00-5:15 p.m.; parents can pick up their student at 5:15.  In addition to these rehearsals, we will have a brief rehearsal on the evening of any home football performance (October 16th and October 30th).  I’m asking our coaches who teach individual lessons here to try and coordinate with the after-school rehearsal days until we’re back in-person/every day.  These folks will probably have a greater level of involvement than in previous years in an effort to recover the ground lost over the last six months. 

All rehearsals and performances of the band are part of the grade in the course!  If a student is not in attendance, they will not receive credit for that event.  Per the course syllabus, exceptions to attendance at rehearsals are at the director’s discretion (athletes at games, verified illness, and unresolvable conflicts with other school-related functions).  There is no way to “make up” a missed performance.  I do not like publishing a schedule that has to be constantly adjusted; as a result, I’ve tried to communicate rehearsal and performance dates/times well in advance.  The situation we’re currently in makes publishing a long-range calendar at this point much harder to do with any degree of accuracy.  I encourage everyone to watch your email/Remind/Google Classroom/or Infinite Campus communications. 

Uniforms made a HUGE difference in how we presented ourselves on October 2nd.  Getting our concert uniforms fitted are the next step, and a good bit of progress has been made the last two weeks in getting this accomplished.  Let’s hope we are able to get our annual photo shoot and fall semester concerts to happen!  The dates for our upcoming concerts are: November 12th (Symphonic Bands); November 13th (Jazz Café I); and December 15th (Holiday concert).

Audition music was made available to all students in their Google Classroom/Classwork.  Auditions will be recorded the week of November 16-20, with the format (live or virtual) to be determined.  I’m still waiting on definitive word concerning All-District and All-State auditions (the same excerpts will be used as in the past).  I am confident this information will become available in the coming days.  Kids should NOT WAIT to begin working on these pieces; they will be graded on their performance and seated in chair order in November!

Thanks for everything you do in support of your band program!  Eight weeks after school finally started, we continue to revise schedules, how instruction is delivered, expectations of teachers and students, and even the makeup and duties of our faculty and staff.  Not a day goes by without a new twist to some aspect of how and what we are doing.

I am so blessed to be assisted in navigating these very unfamiliar waters by a group of band parents who “get it” and work so hard to see to it that their kids have the best musical and performance opportunities they can under the difficult current circumstances.  That is what has made our first quarter work as well as it has, and what will bring about our ultimate success going forward.

 

U of L School of Music Virtual All State Audition Help Session

In past years, our band students have had the opportunity to travel to U of L to work with clinicians on their All-State Audition Music.  Due to COVID the in person clinic is being replaced by a virtual clinic.  Please see below for details on this years virtual clinic which will be held on Wednesday, September 30th.  If you have any questions, please email Mr. Rogers directly at bradford.rogers@oldham.kyschools.us.

From Dr. Frederick Speck, U of L Bands:
 
Though COVID restrictions preclude hosting an on-site version of our Annual All-State Audition Clinic, we are pleased to let you know that we will be hosting a Zoom Clinic on Wednesday, September 30, 2020. As in the past, our artist faculty, along with other excellent local professionals will serve as clinicians.
 
We know that all of you are teaching in a variety of unique modes and that the challenges are great. We are living that out at UofL, too. All of us on the UofL Band staff wish you our best. Please let us know if there are specific ways in which we can help.
 
Below you will find instructions to share with your students so that they may attend the Zoom Workshop.
 
SCHEDULE
6:30-7:00pm – Registration/Join Zoom Meeting
7:00-9:00pm – Zoom All-State Workshop with UofL Faculty
 
REGISTRATION
The Zoom call will be available to join starting at 6:30pm. We will use that time as a registration window to get everyone assigned to their instrument meeting room. Once signed in, you will change your username to "First Name Last Name, Instrument," example: Frederick Fennell, Percussion. From there, you will be assigned to a "meeting room" within the Zoom call based on your instrument.
 
ZOOM MEETING INFORMATION
Topic: UofL School of Music All-State Workshop
Time: Sep 30, 2020 06:30 PM Eastern Time (US and Canada)
 
Join Zoom Meeting
https://zoom.us/j/93473728572?pwd=Nm02QktPSGZJSjFLNU9HR0hDd1FBdz09
 
Meeting ID: 934 7372 8572
Passcode: 599153

Director’s Comments September 21, 2020

Director’s Comments
September 21, 2020
 
Friday night was significant.  I could not have been happier with the result of our week of full band rehearsals.  The students made great progress—every time they played together, they showed improvement in their cohesiveness and sound.  And the result on Friday night (only the third time they have played as a full ensemble since July 31st, and their first performance of any kind since mid-March) was an outstanding example of how bands CAN still provide a musical performance opportunity in the face of stifling but necessary restrictions.  It was definitely something we can build upon.
 
However…our students missed out on all of the non-musical elements of building a band program due to our very different approach to summer rehearsals, band camp, and of course the NTI opening and resultant reduction in “together” time.  Summer rehearsals and band camp are when bands traditionally “come together” as a group, incorporating our incoming students into the habits and traditions that have been established in the program over many years.  That has not had the opportunity to happen with our group, and it especially shows when the students are not in “performance mode”.  I’m sharing a short article with you at the end of my comments that we actually read through during our first week of classes; it might be a good idea for all parents to read it as well, and do what you can to help your child become more of a “band kid” than a “kid in band”.  It really isn’t the kids’ fault—it is almost impossible to instill the “band” attitude in students you don’t see on a daily basis.  Nearly all students arrive here without any clue about how important their attitude is in creating a great experience for themselves and others they work with through our band program.  Our success depends on them learning how to change their attitude about what they are doing in band and who they are doing it for.
 
It is a fact, not an opinion.  Without developing a room full of true “band kids”, we won’t maintain the excellence this program has enjoyed for the past 30 or so years.
 
Snap! Raise kicks off tomorrow (Tuesday).  Unfortunately, we still have a sizeable percentage of students who have not completed their online account activation as of today.  My first “ask” on this came prior to the Labor Day weekend, and in spite of my persistent hounding, we’re still falling short of my expectations.  I’ll keep after them to do so, but without an improvement in participation level, we should expect this effort to fall short of our budgeted result.  (This is another indication of what I described above…)
 
Our “target” is still a moving one.  We have just completed our fourth week of NTI instruction, with one more week to go until we move to an A/B in-person schedule.  I don’t know that it will be better or worse than NTI, but at least we will be able to work together in-person on some level.  I might have a chance to learn the new kids by name/face (at least from the cheekbones up) better.  How well kids and the school handle all of this relative to the virus/masks/distancing, etc. will likely determine how things will go for the remainder of the semester, and possibly the rest of the school year.  Cheerful compliance will win the day.
 
For the next week, we will continue with our Monday and Thursday summer rehearsal schedule. Beginning with Sept. 28 and the A/B format, things will change…
 
In putting together reasonable rehearsal and performance alternatives for opening on an A/B in-person schedule, I’m still expecting to have an after-school, in-person rehearsal component (one rehearsal per week as usual) regardless of whether we’re NTI, A/B, or daily in-person.  If we are in-person (A/B or Full time), the rehearsal day will correspond with a day the students are already in the building at 3:45 p.m.  Those rehearsals will run from 4:00-5:15 p.m.; parents can pick up their student at 5:15.  In addition to these rehearsals, we will have a brief rehearsal on the evening of any home football performance, much like last Friday night.  I’m asking our coaches who teach individual lessons here to try and coordinate with the after-school rehearsal days until we’re back in-person/every day.  These folks will probably have a greater level of involvement than in previous years in an effort to recover the ground lost over the last six months. 
 
In case there is still some confusion…all rehearsals and performances of the band are part of the grade in the course!  If a student is not in attendance, they will not receive credit for that event.  Per the course syllabus, exceptions to attendance at rehearsals are at the director’s discretion (athletes at games, verified illness, and unresolvable conflicts with other school-related functions).  There is no way to “make up” a missed performance.  I do not like publishing a schedule that has to be constantly adjusted; as a result, I’ve tried to communicate rehearsal and performance dates/times well in advance.  The situation we’re currently in makes publishing a long range calendar at this point much harder to do with any degree of accuracy.  I encourage everyone to watch your email/Remind/Google Classroom/ or Infinite Campus communications.
 
Uniforms will be issued during the evening rehearsals this week in the hope of actually WEARING THEM at the next game (October 2; homecoming).  We will come up with some alternatives for ladies who didn’t order marching shoes to get us through the remainder of the season; since we won’t be actually marching a drill, some may wear extra shoes we have in our stock, others may need to wear a low heel, all black shoe they own already.  The uniform chairs (the Christensen’s) will advise what to do.  Concert uniforms will also be handled; tux shirts are purchased by those in tuxes, dresses are purchased by those in a dress.  You’ll receive information on all of this shortly—if you haven’t already taken care of it.
 
Audition music was made available to all students in their Google Classroom/Classwork.  Auditions will be recorded the week of November 17-21, with the format (live or virtual) to be determined.  I’m waiting on word concerning potential All-District and All-State auditions (the same excerpts will be used as in the past).  Kids should NOT WAIT to begin working on these pieces; they will be graded on their performance and seated in chair order in November!
 
Thanks for all you do in support of this program!  I could not have gotten through the last few weeks nor through last Friday’s inaugural performance without your assistance and support…and patience.  Things continue to evolve in terms of schedule, delivery of instruction, expectations of teachers and students, and even the makeup of our faculty and staff.  Senior Night in and of itself is a huge event to organize, and to get it all done so well with only a few short days to plan and implement…it takes a parent group that is truly “there for the kids” to make that happen.
 
And now, here’s the “article”:
 
Band directors would make good preachers.  All would agree that I probably talk too much, but I am hopeful I’ll say something occasionally that will have a positive impact, even if it’s only on one person.
 
I really have only one “sermon”; it just appears as though I have an unlimited supply of them.  I simply have the ability to move the words around each time I deliver a “message”.  Regardless of where my sermon starts, it always ends up being about the BAND—and I’m always passionate about that subject.
 
One of the topics I think makes a huge difference is about the characteristics that separate a “band kid” from a “kid in band”.  Possibly what follows will help you determine which you are.
 
Anybody can be a “kid in band”—all you have to do is show up with a horn.  You don’t need any particular musical knowledge or talent, or even try to develop or discover any.  It does help if you are physically sitting in your chair or standing in your spot during rehearsals, but to be a “kid in band” there is no requirement that you actually DO anything.  Their contribution to the identified musical goals of the group can be almost zero, but they will claim all privileges of band membership for themselves regardless.  Personal needs always come before any expectation the group might have of them.  Attendance at rehearsals and performances is optional depending upon their personal schedules.  Sending text messages behind their music stand, talking while instruction is being given (or even while the band is playing), leaving their seat at random intervals, eating or chewing gum while playing, and generally ignoring the group effort are all part of their “participation”. 
 
A kid in band often leaves their area of the room a shamble; articles of clothing and half-consumed food and drink are jumbled along with their music and instrument, usually in the floor.  They usually need multiple copies of assignments, music, and schedules.  If they are using school-owned equipment (read: fundraised for by the band), they never know how it gets broken and wouldn’t think of reporting that it is, even though they are the only one who touches it and have signed an agreement accepting responsibility for its care.  Showing up late, leaving early, and pointing a finger at others or making excuses for their inadequacies are all part of their game. 
 
Kids in band usually have great leadership skills, and work very hard to succeed in influencing others to “be like them”.  They are perfectly happy with a minimum grade (or even a failing one) as long as they can be identified with the group.  They generally think band should be an easy “A”, but can’t figure out why they don’t get one.
 
Conversely, a “band kid” is low-maintenance.  Their instrument almost always goes home in the evening, and their music folder is worn through from use.  These folks tend to be the first ones in the band room in the morning, would rather hang out there than go to class, and are the ones still around when the director has to leave several hours after school is out.  They set up chairs and stands if they aren’t already in place, and ask if they can help if someone else is doing it for them. They pick up after the folks who leave their area in a mess; if they move something, they put it back where they found it.  They are the folks who are already warmed up when the conductor steps on the podium to begin rehearsing. 
 
Even though band kids may not be the most naturally talented individuals, they spend time working on their skills because they don’t want to let the group down in rehearsals or performance.  They maintain their equipment in good working order, report problems, and accept responsibility if they had an accident.  They usually complete assignments on time and don’t make excuses if they miss a deadline.  They resolve schedule conflicts to meet the commitment they made to the group. 
 
Band kids make plenty of mistakes in rehearsal and performance, but try like crazy to not let them happen more than once.  They always have a pencil in rehearsals, and know why they need one.  They don’t complain; they get busy.  They respect the music they perform, the people they perform it with, and the organization enough to bring solid preparation and their very best effort every time the band is together. 
 
Band kids are capable of leading a hundred of their peers without saying a word, often without realizing they are doing so.  They think band is an easy “A”, and don’t feel the least bit overwhelmed by the work involved in earning it.
 
Great bands are the product of great “band kids”.
 
For a band (or any group with a common purpose and goals) to be successful, the members must agree to hold themselves and each other accountable for meeting the highest standards for participation and performance.  They must also be willing to give up a portion of their “individuality” in order to embrace the expectations of the ensemble.  While it is possible to have a group with only a few members willing to uphold those standards, it is impossible to have a BAND.
 
Everyone involved in a truly great band possesses an “A” work ethic and an “A” commitment to the others in the band.  Talent and natural ability are a bonus, but quite honestly, the largest part of a director’s job should be identifying and developing those things.  If a lot of the director’s energy is expended dealing with poor attitude and effort, development of that talent is a lot harder to accomplish.  Most directors would rather work with “A” attitudes and “C” talent than with “A” talent and “C” attitudes—because the end result in performance is always better, and the journey there is much more enjoyable and rewarding.
 
“Kids in band” can become “band kids”—they are often closer to it than they can imagine.  They simply have to change their minds about themselves.  It is all about bringing the correct attitude and great effort to their band involvement every day. 
 
It is the distinction between good bands and truly great ones.
 
 
Brad Rogers

Letter from the Director: Next Week’s Rehearsal Schedule

Good evening all:

Thanks for your help and support the past few weeks!  It has been a particularly difficult stretch getting ready for our first actual live performance in over six months.  I thought the band performed admirably on Friday night and represented themselves extremely well.  Just as a point of reference, Friday’s performance was only the third time the entire band has had the opportunity to play together as a group since the last 30 minutes of band camp week–seven weeks ago.  Really pretty remarkable…and something to build upon.

We will return to our "summer" rehearsal format for next week only, 6:00-7:30 p.m.

Monday-All Brass

Thursday-Woodwinds and Percussion

The focus next week will be on concert literature and audition excerpts.

Once we begin A/B in-person classes on Sept. 28, all after school rehearsals will occur immediately after school from 4:00-5:15 p.m.  All students will be required to attend one rehearsal per week, and the rehearsal day will be the same as one of the days they attend school regularly (all A-Day students regardless of class on Monday or Wednesday; all B-Day students on Tuesday or Thursday), with no rehearsals on the planned "rotating" Fridays, other than before home football performances (see below).  I’m still working out the logistics on this and will announce the days each group will meet by Monday 9/21…so stay tuned closely!

As a friendly reminder: ALL students and staff must complete the online health screening form, including a self-check of your temperature, prior to arrival on campus for ANY REHEARSAL OR PERFORMANCE EVENT.  

Once you arrive, you are required to have your temperature verified before you enter the building.  

ALL students must complete the attendance check in to verify your arrival and attendance–this is in ADDITION to the health check survey and is used to confirm your attendance at required rehearsals and performances.

Upcoming home football performances (required performances): 

October 2nd (v. Fern Creek; HOMECOMING)

October 16th (v. Bryan Station)

October 30th (v. Collins–Halloween Show???)

NONE OF THESE DATES HAVE CHANGED since they were first announced in February…

I hope to see all of you in our Zoom meeting of the Band Boosters at 7:00 p.m. on Monday night!

Bradford D. Rogers

Oldham County High School Band

1150 N. Hwy. 393

LaGrange, KY 40031

Adjustments/announcements for next week’s rehearsals/performance

Rehearsal schedule for week of September 14-18:

FULL BAND Monday AND Thursday 6:00-7:30.  Make sure to wear proper shoes; we will need to learn how to get onto the field for halftime on 9/18.  All of the time will be spent on the back (band) practice lot.

A detailed schedule for our first performance next Friday will be finalized by this weekend; it will be posted here and through booster email.

A form for pre-paid concession packages will come out this weekend as well.  Because restrictions require all concessions to be pre-packaged, "no-touch" delivery items, pre-ordering is the only option you’ll have if you want concession items after you perform on Friday night (3rd quarter),   This form MUST be turned in with payment at next MONDAY’s rehearsal!

Information about parent tickets will be forwarded as we receive the plan.  Stadium capacity is severely limited, so you’ll need to be timely in responding once we know how that will work.

Keep your eyes peeled for more info as we get through the next couple of days–from the boosters and from me.

At least we’re getting to PLAY TOGETHER…finally!

 

Wash your hands…

Mr. R