Even as we speak
Students in grades 9-11 are completing band placements for next year. These should be completed on or before April 6th. (Students in 8th grade will be completing those in their regularly scheduled lessons at UMS.)
UHS Wind Symphony – Johnston Wind Symphony – Joint Concert
Thursday, April 12th
7:30 p.m. Concert – FREE
@ Johnston High School
Complete Student Itinerary is available on the “Itineraries” Tab above
Jazz Bands Activities
On April 20th both Jazz Bands will perform at Olmsted Elementary for their Earthday Celebration. The bands will perform from approximately 1:30 – 2:30 PM.
May 8th marks the UHS & UMS Jazz Bands’ final concert of the year at 7:00 p.m. in the UHS PAC.
The concert bands will perform their last home concert of the year on April 30th. This will also be the awards concert. The concert will take place at 7:00 PM in the PAC. Please join us as we wish the seniors well on their final month at UHS and beyond. Due to the awards portion of the evening, this concert is a bit longer than the previous concert.
All-State Jazz Band – Results
Congratulations to Robert Kaman for being accepted into the 4A Iowa All-State Jazz Band for the 3rd year! Only 20 students from across Iowa are selected for the 4A band.
Selection occurs through a competitive recorded audition process. Students submit a recording of a challenging jazz etude and an improvised solo. We also congratulate Jack Kaman and Alec Albrecht for completing the audition process, which fosters tremendous musical growth.
The All-State Jazz Band will perform on May 10th, 4:00pm, at the Iowa Bandmasters Association Conference at the downtown Marriott. The performance is free and open to the public.
State Large Group Festival
On Saturday, May 5th, all three concert bands will perform at State Large Group Contest – Location & Schedule TBD.
This performance is designed to be a year-end culminating performance where students display all they’ve learned about the performance of windband music throughout the year. Stay tuned for details and be sure to keep schedules clear for this day.
Members of next year’s Wind Symphony will perform for commencement on May 24th. A complete roster will be posted after band placements are complete and the itinerary for May 24th will be posted in the coming weeks on band website and in the band room.
Drumline – Battery Showcase
Percussionists interested in playing in the battery next fall will have the opportunity to Showcase their skills by May 11th. Interested students should see a band staff member for details. Students should prepare snare drum rudiments & the etude provided by the directors.
Summer is a great time for students to get connected with the Metro’s best musicians for lessons. Students (and their parents) who are interested in connecting with great private teachers this summer should visit with any of the band staff for contact information of the best local pro’s on each instrument.
Dates for Summer 2018-19
The band’s summer schedule leading up to July 4th is posted here. Thanks for adding these to your calendar.
The full calendar of events for the year is in the works. We will send it out as soon as it’s complete.
Fall Band Camp will start with uniform fitting on Aug. 4, 2018. Please ensure students are back in town from vacations for Camp. Attendance at camp is vital to students’ feelings of success and the overall success of the ensemble.
As a reminder, you can subscribe to the J-Hawk Band Calendar electronically using this link:
Fourth of July Parade
The community has long enjoyed the UHS Band students’ participation in the Independence Day Parade. Please mark your calendars so band students will be available to provide this great service to our community on Tuesday, July 4th. Students will be involved from approximately 8:00 a.m. to Noon.
We hope to see you along the route cheering on the band as they perform for you and the whole community of Urbandale!
Des Moines Symphony – April 28-29
CHEAP STUDENT TICKETS
“Student rush tickets” are available for $5 to high school age and younger. “Rush tickets” are purchased at the ticket window the day of the concert by showing a student ID. There are ALWAYS great seats still available the day of concerts – so take advantage!
April 28 – 7:30 p.m.
April 29 – 2:30 p.m.
Enigma Variations, Edward Elgar
“Beyond The Score”
$5…seriously…you can’t beat that!
See you there.
Updates From The Staff
April will find the Symphonic Band working on band placement tryouts of course, and preparing for our biggest performances of the year. Large Group contest will be held on May 5. Three judges will evaluate our performance overall on a scale of I to V, with a I being the best. There are eight areas each judge considers; tone quality, intonation, balance/blend, rhythm, articulation, technique, interpretation/musicianship, and stage presentation. Each area has a possible 5 points, with a possible total score of 40. All large school bands are judged on the same criteria and scored the same way regardless of the age of students in the band. This makes our preparation very important to say the least! Please encourage your child to bring the music – Armenian Rhapsody and Sol Invictus – home to practice!
I can’t believe it’s April. Time has been flying by…I think I begin every newsletter with that statement? Anyway, time has been flying by and here we are at the beginning of April.
Over the past month, the primary focus has been preparing for Band Placement Auditions. I agree that it would be more fun to play music instead of all 12 major scales but the quality of music you can play increases the more you understand your instrument.
I’ve been inviting students to conduct the band. We begin every rehearsal with a chorale: a simple piece to get started that allows us to achieve blend and balance. The first day, three students volunteered. Next rehearsal; three more. It’s fascinating to see what they do. The entire purpose of playing a short chorale is to get everyone warmed up. If I’m conducting or a student is conducting, the same goal is accomplished. However, with a student conducting, I’m opening up the environment of the classroom. It’s no longer a “me and them;” it becomes an “us.” Additionally, I can spot student leaders, advanced musicians, all the while cultivating an environment of shared learning. This will be a regular opportunity during the week for students to conduct during a rehearsal.
For our upcoming concert and contest, we’ve been working on a variety of pieces. I’ve been taking this time to explore music with two purposes in mind. The first purpose is to expose the students to a variety of literature. The second is to give students a taste of the type of music the Wind Symphony may play. Many students in Wind Ensemble are eager to join Wind Symphony and there are compositions in the style of advanced literature to prepare young musicians. The third movement from A Longford Legend by Robert Sheldon is composed in the style of Percy Grainger and would prepare a student to perform a Wind Symphony standard: Lincolnshire Posy. Another piece that will be included on our next concert is Autobahn by Ryan George. Composed in 2008, Autobahn includes a variety of modern composition techniques including mixed meters, syncopation, and independent musical lines. Additional pieces will be added and rehearsed in the coming weeks.
Following every concert, I assign a Concert Reflection to the students. As an educator and performer, I feel that it is important to put into words thoughts and feelings about a performance and reflect on the preparation that went into the performance. I always enjoy reading what the students have to say and I encourage you to ask your child what they had to say in the Concert Reflection.
As you can see from the earlier portions of the newsletter, there are many great opportunities to hear live music around Des Moines. All three of the high school band staff continue to play music in various ensembles – and we love to see students and families out on the town enjoying the many great performances the metro has to offer. The premier “instrumental” music ensemble in Iowa, the Des Moines Symphony, is very accessible, and affordable for students with the $5 rush tickets. Mr. Thimmesch performs with the Central Iowa Wind Ensemble, whose concerts are free! Mr. Doggett performs regularly around the Des Moines area with Courtney Krause and others. I am fortunate to perform with the NOLA Jazz Band, Tony Valdez Large Band, and the Metropolitan Brass Quintet.
We tell students that music is a lifelong thing – and we are blessed to be living examples of that. We hope it’s contagious!
One of our values is to develop appreciation for music and both performers and consumers. As students transition into their adult years, there are plenty of opportunities to continue playing as a hobby, such as the Central Iowa Wind Ensemble, the CJC Big Band, the town’s municipal band, church, start your own combo or band. And even if it isn’t “in the cards” to keep playing your instrument into the adult years, there is so much music to enjoy in Des Moines. I often face this common mental state, “Eh – I’m tired, let’s just stay home.” BUT, when I power through that moment and go hear live music, I have never – not once – regretted it. I always leave the show a healthier person. We hope you can enjoy some great art music regularly – and even better if you can do it as a family! Enjoy.