Over the past couple years, we have focused on streamlining all of our events in order to reduce the demand on volunteers. In so doing, we ask for fewer volunteers at each event and we are careful to only ask for the volunteers we actually need – no extra padding! Thanks to Cindy Miller for her work to honor the time of our volunteers.
Because all spots are truly vital, we hope you will consider helping.
- A few spots remain open for the jazz colloquium
- A few spots remain open for upcoming solo/ensemble events.
We thank you for helping us make these events smooth and meaningful for the students.
Urbandale Jazz Colloquium
Feb. 3, 2018
The Urbandale student itinerary can be found on the band website along with a complete schedule of all performing groups. Parents and friends of the program are encouraged to join for the performances.
Jazz band parents, thanks for volunteering here: jazz colloquium
Urbandale Solo Festival: Feb. 8
Perry Band Olympics: Feb. 17
The final schedule for Feb. 8th is posted on the band website. (Highlighted entries indicate a time change from the draft to the final schedule.)
The schedule for Perry will be posted on the band website as soon as we receive it. It should be any day.
Solo/Ensemble To Do List:
These tasks should be completed or in progress by now!
• Students should have their own original copy of the music
• Music can be ordered through Reiman’s Music, JW Pepper (online), or other music outlet
• Students should be rehearsing with their accompanist
• Accompanist Information is posted in the band hall and on the band website
There are volunteer opportunities available for solo/ensemble events.
Thanks for signing up!
Southeast Polk Jazz Fest
Feb. 10, 2018
The itinerary for this event will be posted on the band website in the next day or two. Parents and friends of the program are encouraged to join for the performances.
Coe College Jazz Summit:
February 22 – 23, 2019
Both Jazz Bands will travel to Cedar Rapids for the Coe College Jazz Summit. A complete itinerary will be posted on the band website. Parents and friends of the program are encouraged to join for the performances.
Concert Band Concert:
March 6, 2018
This concert will feature all three UHS Concert Bands. We expect the program to last app. 75 minutes. See you there!
UHS Wind Symphony to Share Concert with Johnston High School Wind Symphony
Looking ahead: On April 12th, the UHS Wind Symphony will share a concert with the Johnston High School Wind Symphony. The concert will take place at Johnston High School.
We’ll have a special guest conductor doing a mini-residency at both schools. Dr. Rebecca Phillips, of Colorado State University, will work with both bands, and conduct the combined bands on two pieces in concert. More details on the timeline will be published as the date draws near.
2017-18 Band Placements
Band placements for the 2018-2019 concert bands will take place shortly after spring break. Students will be assessed on the following skills:
Music reading – sight-reading via the “sightreadingfactory.com”
Technique development – Major scales and chromatic scale
History: attendance habits, quality of participation, and attitude.
Student will showcase their best if they are building skills over time rather than attempting to cram their progress at the last minute.
One great thing about music is that there’s no elevator to the top; we have to take the stairs.
Updates from the staff
We are putting on the finishing touches on solo and ensemble contest right now, and I want to congratulate those students who are participating. It is a great way for students to challenge themselves and learn how to perform well. I relate playing a solo to interviewing for a job—you need to prepare carefully, know your stuff, and be able to communicate in order to succeed in both!
The snow days have shortened our preparation time for the next concert. In addition we are trying to get three new pieces ready in about half of the time we had to prepare for our first concert. Students are having a bit of difficulty accelerating their learning, but the standards I set for their performance remain high. Growing and maturing as a person and as a musician is definitely being encouraged!
The Armenian Rhapsody is a new and exciting piece that is a lot of fun to play. It has some technical challenges with some extended 16th note runs in the woodwinds, and rhythmic challenges for all—but that’s what makes it fun! We are also starting our study of a traditional Spanish March entitled Amparito Roca. It brings to mind all the excitement and color of Spain. I actually heard this music being played at a bull fight in Spain! Very exciting music!
Some time will be spent in band rehearsal preparing for the band placement auditions that will be held in March. Sight-reading, scales, tone quality, and for percussionists, rudiments, will all be a part of the placement process. More about that next month.
Thanks for your continued support of the arts.
The Wind Ensemble had a very successful performance in January. The Reflection Survey gave me insight as to how they felt about their performance as well as what they learned and what they need from me as a director. I ask the students to critique me because I feel strongly that we create music together. By creating a safe environment for creativity and criticism, we all benefit. The other part of the Reflection was to write about what they enjoyed about the other bands. I feel that young musicians get in a frame of mind of only criticizing and need to be reminded that music is to be enjoyed as well. Ask your child what they said in the survey. The Wind Ensemble has been doing very well with the challenges of Tryptich II by Elliot del Borgo. Their hard work paid off this past weekend at the Band Summit when they worked with guest conductor and clinician, Russ Kramer from Mason City. Mr. Kramer was able to help them understand this challenging work for concert band. This week we will start working on three new pieces as we plan out the rest of the semester.
Jazz One and Jazz Two are busier than ever with new music and four upcoming performances. They have been working hard learning new pieces in addition to reviewing pieces from our previous concerts. This combination of old and new has allowed us to assemble a program for this weekend’s Jazz Colloquium and next week’s South-East Polk Jazz Festival. At the end of the month (February 22 & 23) the band travels to Coe College to participate in the Jazz Summit. Jazz One will play a short set the following week to welcome the 8th graders to the high school at the “What to Expect Night” on March 1st.
The Wind Symphony is fast at work for the March 6th concert followed rapidly by the April 12th shared concert with Johnson, followed rapidly by the April 30th Awards Concert and Large Group on May 5th. (Whoa – the school year is almost over. That was fast.) Given Wind Symphony’s performance schedule, the students are being treated must more like young professionals rather than students. Our preparation time to offer inspiring performances is much shorter this semester. Students are doing an admirable job of preparing their individual parts outside of rehearsal. Keep it up! You’re taking ownership over the material and the performances, which you’ll find very rewarding when all is said and done.
While in the phase of learning new music, this is the perfect time for students to employ mature, effective practice strategies in their personal practice. Practice:
- Slowly (very slowly; unrecognizably slowly)
- in chunks – and then the chunks in even smaller chunks
- with a few seconds in between repetitions to focus on what to improve (error recovery).
This strategy is explored in detail in Daniel Coyle’s book, The Talent Code. He explores several locations across the world where an extraordinary number of highly “talented” individuals have grown up – so called “talent hot beds” (in many fields: sports, music, dance, etc.). He discovered the individuals were not more talented on average than at any other place across the world. Instead, what these “talent hot beds” have in common is how they practice: slowly, in chunks, and with reflection between each repetition. His eloquent research and writing is great news because it supports the notion that practice is the real ingredient to success – and anyone willing to put forth the effort over a period of time can achieve high levels of success.
We are using these strategies in rehearsal, however it’s most effective place is in personal practice.
Wind Symphony Repertoire for 2nd Semester:
*Jillian Whitaker: Coming Home
related listening: Aaron Copland: Billy the Kid, Appalachian Spring, Rodeo (similar to Whitaker’s opening section) and Steve Reich, John Adams (innovative composers in the minimalist genre, similar to Whitaker’s middle section of the music)
Timothy Mahr: Fantasia in G
related listening: Beethoven, 9th Symphony, Movement II especially. Timothy Mahr borrows Beethoven’s Ode to Joy Theme for his fantasia as a wedding gift to his friend.
Shirley Mier: Maiden Voyage
related listening: Any folksy sea songs. Although Mier’s thematic material is original, it calls upon the style folk songs, and sea songs.
Frances McBeth: Kaddish
related listening: McBeth: Masgue, Beowulf, Of Sailors and Whales, Chant and Jubilo