Thanks to all who helped make the XPLOSION! Show a success. Changing the show from May to November provided a few new challenges, but all came together in a fantastic production. We created this show to offer students a different type of performing opportunity and to give the community a show that was not just your average "sitting down band concert".
Putting the show together isn't easy. Finding music, rehearsing acts, creating choreography, designing sound and lights, coordinating rehearsal time in the theater.... there is a LOT that goes on in preparation. It all works well when we can get the smaller groups committed to learning their music and selecting acts early in the process. We would love to see even more students in the show...every year, we have a significant number who do not participate. They miss out on one of our more exciting events of the year. Those that participate have a great time. We always have individuals and small groups that exceed our expectations. We find that "star of the show" personality or that "musical wow moment" when a group does something amazing.
Opportunities like this abound at Pope. Take advantage of all that you can. Try out jazz band... percussion ensembles....chamber groups...honor bands...Friday Night Band... the list goes on. When you miss out, you deprive yourself of the memories and experiences that others hold for a lifetime! Come out, participate, and have your fun musical performance moments!
We have started the process of collecting funds and setting the itinerary for the New York trip. Details are arriving from the travel company, and we are lining up fundraisers to make the cost more affordable for all families. Speaking from personal experience, my family raised the money for several major trips for both of our daughters while they were in band...we did over 95 % of their cost through participation in scheduled fundraisers. You can, too!
Please attend the scheduled meetings so that you have the most current information. Please DO NOT create your own versions of the information and pass them around... we have already started hearing false statements about how we are doing things related to the trip. The correct information comes from the band directors...not other parents. Please contact us with questions rather than operating on "someone said"!
Things will change before we actually leave. All of the details are not yet in place due to the time-frame of working through the tour company. Remember... this is nothing like scheduling a family trip.... they are dealing with multiple groups, preferred companies, and restrictions at some of the venues. Please be patient and you will get the information as soon as we receive it from them.
This will be a fantastic trip! We hope that some of you will be able to attend and see the performance!
Please plan to attend the XPLOSION! Show coming up in November! It is an exciting theatrical/musical extravaganza similar to the Broadway show Blast! Most of our students are participating and it will be a fun evening of music that you will recognize, sing along with, and enjoy.
In December, we have our Showcase performance along with the chorus and orchestra programs. The drama students will perform some short vignettes and work from our visual arts students will be on display. Tickets are available through any of the music organizations... check the band website for details.
We also have our traditional winter concert at Hightower Trail middle school. It will feature our 2nd and 6th period bands along with our 9th grade percussion ensemble performing alongside the HTMS 8th grade second band.
As you can see, we have lots of band performances upcoming. Check your calendars and make sure that you can attend!
Many thanks to all who attended our annual Community Show to wrap up the competition season! Food trucks, great performances, and alumni spanning the entire 30 years of Pope Band history! It was a fantastic and emotional evening and the students did a great job with the halftime and competition shows.
The great thing about the marching band activity is not the trophies and placements, even though those are very special and much celebrated (as they should be). The thing that stays with the students is the sense of teamwork and accomplishment achieved during the process. One of the defining moments of the marching season was the conclusion of warmups at Western Carolina. The kids played their show music better than ever before and they knew it. The smiles, hugs, and high fives were a trophy unto themselves.
It was particularly bittersweet for me, as it marked my last competition season with the Pope Band. 30 years of memories and a sense of accomplishment didn't entirely erase the sense of finality as the evening came to a close. Thank you for all the kind words and well wishes.... they mean a lot!!!
Dr. Susan Hatch Tomkiewicz
Director of RiverPark Honors
Associate Professor of Oboe
9/10 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=yxlUiP-AOyA&feature=youtu.be
11/12 - https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=gozf4CtId28&feature=youtu.be
In three weeks, we will be auditioning for spring semester band placements. The materials have been available since August and announced in class continually. Students play major scales, a prepared selection (GMEA All State lyric etude), and do a short sight-reading. Please remember that the auditions also count as a grade. It represents 20% of the overall grade for band. Auditions will take place during class, so no one has to commit any after school time. Make sure that your student is preparing the materials! THese auditions will split the bands into three ability-based groups for spring semester.
I wanted to introduce myself, Joe Girard, the saxophone professor at Columbus State University.
I recently recorded the 2018 Concert and Symphonic Band All-State etudes, along with practice tips. Below, you will find a link to a playlist on YouTube with all the videos. Please pass this information along to your students and feel free to share it with any colleagues who may find it useful for their students.
This week brings our first marching band competition. All of the work leading up to this event now will be evaluated and we will get feedback on our performance efforts. Please take a moment to find the link about "Competitive Philosophy" and give it a read. Unlike sports, our view of competition is a little different. We are competing against a standard of excellence that has been created and passed along for three decades at Pope High School. We want to give a performance that represents the best that we can achieve. Will this always garner a high score or placement ? We can't say. Will it always seem "fair"? ... probably not.
What it will do is to give us feedback on where we are in the creative performance activity. Keep in mind... there will be bands there that practice nearly twice the amount of time that we practice. Some do marching band as a class every day. Some spend the equivalent of our entire year's budget just on marching band staff and show design. It isn't always a level playing field.
That is why we don't teach scores and placements as the valuable part of the activity. The PROCESS of growing and learning is what holds the true value. If a students invests the time and effort to truly achieve at the highest levels, they will grow. If they only give 75% at rehearsals, then they will improve, but might not experience all of the benefits.
The biggest thing that we must realize is that marching band is a "We/Us" activity. The finished performance will not be the equivalent of a class in which some students make a 97 while others make a 56. We are evaluated as a cohesive unit and our results are based on the sum of the whole. With this in mind, you can see the importance of every member being in attendance, learning their routines and music, and giving their strongest effort. You can't "blend in" when you are on a giant stage in front of an audience!
Wish us good luck as we experience the competitive arena for the first time this year. Come out and support the band as we perform at Carrolton, McEachern, and Western Carolina. Hard to believe, but in two weeks, competition band is done!
Just a quick word of thanks to those who expressed condolences on the passing of my mother. If you have experienced this type of loss, you know how difficult the time surrounding the event can be. I appreciate your kind words and gestures.