Solo / Ensemble
Thanks and best wishes to the 111 students who have registered for this year’s Solo/Ensemble festivals.
- Participating students received a paper invoice on Friday, Dec. 1 (solo $15, ensemble $10). Payment of that invoice is due Friday, Dec. 8, 2017. (The invoice contains instruction for an online payment option)
- Following that, we will place soloists with their accompanists. Students should plan to contact their accompanists after the Winter break to set up rehearsal times.
- Students should be ordering an original published version of their music (Photocopying music is illegal.)
- Help students remember to mark their planners on Feb. 8th and Feb. 17th for the Urbandale and Perry solo festivals respectively.
IMPORTANT NOTE: Over the past couple of years, we’ve noticed a trend of more students signing up for solo/ensemble festival, but in the final hours – not following through. Parents, we (and the students) appreciate your support now – with plenty of time before performances roll around – to help students get practicing.
Students: February will come around quickly. Be sure to get all our notes and rhythms down in December so that January and early February can be spent working with your accompanists and refining the performance
The staff is expecting students who signed up for solo/ensemble to have 100% follow through. You can do it! We’re here to help you be successful.
Jazz Band One
SCIBA District Jazz Contest
Jazz Band One will perform Dec. 9th at the SCIBA District Jazz Festival. The itinerary for that event is posted on the band website ->Itineraries -> Jazz Band page.
Bonus: Jazz Ensemble One will be sharing a “gig” with the Des Moines Big Band on December 13th at Des Moines’s Nocè Jazz Cabaret. DSM Big Band performs its first set at 7:00 p.m., after which Urbandale will perform. Admission: $10/$5.
SCIBA Honor Band Audition / Results
Congratulations to those who auditioned for the SCIBA Honor Band. Double congratulations to those who were accepted to participating in the honor band festival. Results can be found here: Catch All / SCIBA Honor Band.
All Concert Bands will present a concert on January 11, 2018, 7:00 PM
Opening the concert will be the UMS 8th grade band. Concert Attire specifications are posted on the website under Ensembles / Concert Bands (and posted near the end of this newsletter).
Professional Quality Instruments
For students wishing to excel on their instrument, it is vital to practice and perform on the best instrument affordable.
If you are ready to advance to the next level of performance, here’s our list of recommended instruments.
Band Summit – Photos
If you have photos of band events that might be great in the Band Summit video, please send those to Mr. Doggett. We have the greatest need for photos related to concert band and jazz band.
Updates From The Staff
Symphonic band spent the end of October and part of November reading through eleven different pieces. I wanted to gather some information on how the band performs on its own, without being a part of the larger marching band. I also listened to nearly 60 new issue compositions written for this level band, and from that I chose 25 that I thought were great pieces of literature, that covered a wide range of styles, and that I thought we were capable of performing. I played a short excerpt from each of the pieces for the band and had them rate each on a scale of 1-5. I then selected the most popular titles in several different styles for us to study this year. It has been my experience that the students will work hardest, and perform the best on music they like, and as long as it quality literature, I feel good about conducting it!
We have also started practicing sight reading in the method that will be used to evaluate the students in March during band placement auditions. I tell the students that I love having them in band, but would like it even more if they “graduate” into the second or third band.
We are also looking forward to solo and ensemble contest in February with students being involved in more events than the past two years! You should be hearing some practicing being done at home on their solo or ensemble pieces. Receiving their music in November gives students plenty of time to prepare for a February contest!
It’s hard to believe that it’s December already. The Student Survey last month gave me a lot to consider and implement into rehearsals. Students expressed interest in improving many areas of their playing including scales, sight-reading, rhythms, and range. With this feedback, I’ve organized rehearsals to include all 12 major scales with various rhythms. This past month, we’ve approached sight-reading a couple of different ways including listening to recordings and analyzing the music prior to playing. Our concert is shaping up and will include With Quiet Courage by Larry Daehn and Fall River Overture by Robert Sheldon. Our newest piece is Where the Black Hawk Soars by Robert W. Smith. Upcoming assignments will include a playing test. Students will be asked to submit a recording of themselves playing selections from the three pieces listed above. Details of the playing test will be announced this week.
Jazz One had a very successful performance just prior to Thanksgiving. Their hard work paid off and I’m very proud of them. Since then, we’ve critiqued the recording of our performance and selected the best pieces to perform at SCIBA Jazz Contest on December 9th. The students are equally excited about their upcoming performance with the Des Moines Big Band at Noce on Wednesday December 13th.
Wind Symphony – Mr. Peterson
The Wind Symphony is off to a fast start and shows great promise for a fantastic season of performances.
Along the way, we are taking some time to explore related topics to maximize performance. For the next few weeks (and for the rest of our lives) we’ll be working to strengthen our “growth mindset” which is applicable to all aspects of life – not just band. The more we can maintain a “growth mindset” as individuals, as an ensemble, and at home, the closer we’ll get to our reaching our potential in achievement and in personal satisfaction.
Many area schools have purchased long black gowns for the women and tuxedos for the men. We have chosen to give students some liberty in their choice of clothing for their concerts. However, in order to maintain the appropriate decorum in the formal concerts, we ask that all members of the J-Hawk Bands follow these guidelines when choosing their concert attire.
- Black dress shirt with collar and tie based in blue.
- Black dress pants (suitable for a crease in front) and black belt (exclude cargo pants, denim, corduroy, etc.)
- Black dress shoes with black socks (suitable for polishing; exclude athletic shoes and socks, sandals, flip-flops, or other casual footwear)
- Black suit or sport coat optional but recommended (if wearing a suit, you may substitute a white dress shirt)
Wind Symphony & Wind Ensemble men are highly encouraged to accept the suit or sport coat option.
All options offered for the men are also acceptable for women
- Floor length black dress with sleeves or floor length black skirt with black blouse
- Optional accent accessories should be blue (such as a scarf or head band)
- Black dress shoes (Color: flat black close-toed and flat heel with skin-toned hose. Exclude athletic shoes and socks, sandals, flip-flops, or other casual footwear)
Proper decorum for formal concerts suggests no skin is showing from shoulders to the floor.