Director’s Comments August 17, 2020

Director’s Comments
August 17, 2020

The target keeps moving on us.  We will now open in NTI and remain there until at least September 28th before re-evaluating the situation and deciding the next steps.  When we are allowed to return to in-person instruction, it will begin with an A/B schedule of some sort (that keeps moving too).  More on this and how it might affect the band program follows below.

Band camp went extremely well!  I could not have been happier with the result of our week of rehearsals.  The staff and students made great progress, working on nearly all of the marching band selections in their split rehearsal sessions.  Our wonderful staff members have been attending rehearsals since July 13th and continue to come out and work with the kids as we resume the summer rehearsal schedule.  I’m attaching a report I was asked to put together by the superintendent concerning the summer rehearsal and camp experience here.  You may have already seen it in your booster email postings.

I still have not heard anything definitive from KHSAA concerning “fans in the stands” at games and may not for some time to come.  That group is to meet later this week to work out guidance for fall sports practice and the opening of seasons for football, soccer, and volleyball.  With the governor’s recommendation that all schools open in NTI until September 28th (what we’re doing), the reported increase in positive tests among young people (vacations…?), and the constantly shifting position on school opening locally, any previous guidance or season opening dates that are out there now are likely to be changed as well.  I’m not counting on doing any “football band” yet.

I continue to discuss with Mr. Roth and festival coordinators about spring travel, but until I hear definitively that field trips of any kind will be possible next year, it is not really time to do any more than simply think about possibilities.

Summer program activities continue with our Monday and Thursday summer rehearsal schedule. 

In putting together reasonable rehearsal and performance alternatives for the reopening of school, we have since moved from opening in-person, to opening on an A/B in-person schedule, to opening in NTI through the month of September—all in the span of a couple of weeks.  The NTI schedule for OCHS is not “every day”, but two days per week, and I’m not sure if it matches the A/B scheduling we will be using when/if we get to that point.  I’m fighting for 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.  By necessity, while on NTI, those rehearsal times will need to be adjusted to accommodate parent schedules and transportation issues until we return to the building for instruction.   Any viable alternative that will be of benefit will include our talented paraprofessional section coaches, probably at a greater level of involvement than in previous years.  I hope to have more definitive information to present at tonight’s meeting.  I’ve attached my latest proposal to administration at the end of this director’s report.

Thanks for all you do in support of this program!  Things seem to evolve by the hour in terms of schedule, delivery of instruction, expectations of teachers and students, and even the makeup of our faculty and staff.  The amount of stuff “flying around” is almost too much to keep straight!  We have to remain focused on things that really matter: that we plan ahead as best we can, concern ourselves with continuing the financial viability of the organization, and focus on making the future bright for the program.  This won’t last forever, and the students need for the band program to be ready when we come out of this.

Proposal for VLA/NTI/In-person Band classes-Oldham County High School (revision 8-17-2020)
Fall 2020
Brad Rogers

In an effort to provide a reasonable opportunity for students to remain connected to their band experience and for VLA students to potentially return at the end of the first or second trimester to in-person instruction, I’m proposing the following for students who will begin in NTI or intend to begin the 2020-2021 school year on VLA as a temporary method of instruction for their academic and elective classes.

Band students who elect to begin the year in VLA with the intention of returning to in-person instruction must be scheduled in Symphonic Band I (upperclassmen),  Symphonic Band II (freshmen) or Percussion Techniques (grades 9-12) as part of their course of study for the entire school year.  These students will begin the year earning their band credit through the Music Appreciation course offered in Edgenuity

Band students who intend to take their coursework in VLA for the entire 2020-2021 school year probably should not schedule a band course.  If they choose to take the Music Appreciation Edgenuity course as a substitute, these students should employ a private instructor on their instrument to enable them to continue their musical studies, and audition in May for placement in the band program if they desire to return in 2021-2022.

Now that we know we’ll be opening schools on NTI, we will continue our evening summer rehearsal schedule in the same groupings we used for those gatherings, and at the same time of evening (6:00 start) to facilitate parent transportation after work hours.  The only difference is that we will finish each rehearsal at 7:30 p.m., rather than going to 8:30.

    1. All Brass will rehearse on Monday evenings from 6:00-7:30
    2. All Woodwinds/Percussion will rehearse on Thursday evenings from 6:00-7:30

We will continue this rehearsal schedule until we are allowed to return to the building for A/B in-person instruction.  At that time, we will adjust to conform with the groups of students in the building and by class period.  Exactly how that will look is still unknown, as rosters for the A/B schedule have not been issued yet.

VLA students who plan to return to in-person instruction are encouraged to take advantage of these after-school opportunities to rehearse with their eventual classmates.  This will be on a strictly voluntary basis if parents and students are comfortable doing so. 

Band is co-curricular.  It has always involved a combination of daily, in-class work along with required after-school involvement in rehearsals and performances as the basis for grading and awarding academic credit in these elective courses.  I believe these suggested accommodations are congruent with the allowances currently being made for athletes, clubs, etc. for after-school participation by VLA students in those activities.  This will allow a level of accountability and familiarity for VLA/band students to not only have the opportunity to return at the trimester breaks, but also facilitate the scheduling of students returning to the in-person environment, as they will have already scheduled the courses they would be taking if they started the year with in-person instruction. 

Summer Rehearsal and Band Camp report
Oldham County High School Band
Brad Rogers