July 2019 Director’s Comments
Each month, Mr. Rogers prepares comments for the OCHS Band Boosters Association (OCHS BBA) on the topics that really matter to the band–right now! These topics and his comments are included below. Any OCHS BBA response or relevant updates to his comments follow the topic most-effected by the update.
Band Parent Participation at OCHS’s School-Based Decision Making (SBDM) Meetings
In years past, we have had band parents attend the school’s SBDM meetings to ensure that our band’s best interests are being represented and discussed as part of the school decisions made at these meetings. I think it may be time to check on the monthly agenda for this group, then if needed, send a couple of representatives to present on behalf of the band, if an issue that concerns the health of our program arises. Parents are affected by the decisions made by this group, and it’s important to speak up and be heard.
- Band Tower Replacement: We should not expect to see anything done on the band tower replacement issue until after the marching season for the year is finished, with Summer 2020 being a more realistic timeframe for addressing this need.
- Restriping of the Practice Field: I’ve also inquired about the restriping of the practice field, but that will likely have to wait for the tower project to be completed, as the field will probably need to be "moved" a bit and likely shortened.
- Excavation of the Bus/Band Practice Lot: Due to historical water issues with the current bus/band practice lot, the lot–or at least a portion of it–may need to be excavated as a solution.
Summer Band Rehearsals
The students are making good progress this summer, and we are looking forward to good weather to see us through the Oldham County Day Parade and Band Camp, which is at the end of the month.
Website Woes and Wins
Due to a sudden loss of our last website, our online presence has undergone a dramatic transformation. We’ve launched a new and improved site, and are grateful for the excellent work Webbering, LLC. has done to get the new site up and running so quickly. Thank you, Mr. Douglas, for your sponsorship! As our new site still has pages and sections still under construction, we will continue to use www.eboard.com (type in "rogersbrad" in the prompt) for downloadable, type-in forms and band information.
Oldham County Day
As you are aware, I was asked to serve as Grand Marshal for the parade this year. That means the band will need some serious chaperonage getting from the school to the parade, through the route, and back to the school.
UPDATE: The OCHS Marching Colonels were priviledged to follow Mr. Rogers’ Grand Marshal car during the parade this year! The band’s performance was exemplary, and we were honored to represent the Present of Mr. Rogers’ incredible efforts for our student musicians and this community and to be cheered on by the "Rogers Raised" alumni who lined the streets and chanted "Mis-ter Ro-gers!" over and over again before dancing to the band’s rendition of the OCHS Fight Song. It was a great–if hot!–day for all. Be sure to browse through the Oldham County Day Parade Gallery when you get a change.
NAfME ALl-National Honors Ensembles
I received word that we have four students accepted as participants or alternates for the All-National Honors Concert Band in Orlando, Florida, in early November. Chloe Otterback, William Middleton, and Khaled Alasad were selected as participants, and Natalie DeSimone was selected as an alternate for this prestigious national honors band. I congratulate them on their talented musicianship and dedication to their instrument, the music and their craft!
All band students will audition for chair placement in their respective bands in November. The audition music is the Kentucky All State Band excerpts for their instrument (also used for All District auditions), all major scales, the chromatic scale, and a brief sight-ready excerpt. The auditions are graded as an individual performance evaluation; as such, they are heavily weighted in the overall grade for each student.
We are allowed access to our music when the Kentucky Music Education Association (KMEA) receives our school registration for this year. I already have that in progress and hope to have access to the actual music in early August–maybe even by band camp week! It is not too early for students to begin working on their scale proficiency, however!
Oldham County Community Band
If your student is looking for an opportunity to complete community service hours (i.e., BETA, NHS, Scouting, etc.) while expanding their performance opportunities, please consider becoming involved with the Oldham County Community Band. This group has been in existence since 1988, performing for community events and presenting formal concerts–sometimes with the OCHS band or other community bands in the area. The Community Band has no audition prerequisite, only that members be able to provide their own instrument (with large percussion excepted) and attend rehearsals and performances. While the adults in the group pay nominal annual dues, student members join for free! The group rehearses on Tuesday evenings from 7:30 p.m. – 9:30 p.m. in the Multipurpose Room of the Oldham County Schools Arts Center in Crestwood (cornder of Floydsburg Road and KY HWY 146, adjacent to Crestwood Elementary School). Several OCHS students joined this group last spring and made a tremendous impact on the balance and viability of the band in multiple concerts. This is a great way to broaden their OCHS musical experience, get those service hours for honors organizations, and inspire and support a really appreciative and talented group of adults.
Our program is approaching 150 total members, certainly above the 140 we were expecting for this year. This is a good thing–except, our instrumentation balance is showing some very serious issues. The middle school programs are providing decent raw numbers, but not always on the right instruments for a successful concert band experience at the high school level.
For this reason, we are in immediate need for:
- 3-4 students to switch permanently to tuba
- 2-3 students to move to euphonium
- 1-2 new bassoon players
- 1-2 French horn converts
These students should preferably be in 9th or 10th Grade for the 2019-2020 school year, and the two sections these students should likly come from are the trombone and trumpet sections, as they have the largest numbers and the most potential candidates. Bassoon players are best moved from clarinet or saxophone. For the brass sections, those switching would commit to a total change for both marching and concert season. The bassoonists would obviously need to march with their current instrument and perform on bassoon in concert band situations.
We have the instruments. We have great section coaches and teachers to get switchers off to a quick and successful starte on their new instruments. We also have more than one or two examples of others who have made the decision to switch and found the change was the best thing for them as musicians. If a student feels as thought they’ve "hit a wall" on their current horn, a change can re-ignite things and likely result in a much-improved outcome for them. Parents and their kids should talk, consider the option, and see me ASAP if they are interest in this. NOW is the perfect time to get going in a new direction!