Mr. Smith's Blog
Some wonderful updates from the Band Room to start 2013:
“Dream lofty dreams, and as you dream, so shall you become. Your vision is the promise of what you shall one day be; your ideal is the prophecy of what you shall at last unveil.” ~ James Allen
Happy Thanksgiving everyone!
Stay tuned for more news and please keep your ears open for chances to be involved with the CHS Band. These sound like big dreams sometimes but "as you dream, so shall you become."
I would rather be ashes than dust!
I would rather that my spark should burn out
in a brilliant blaze than it should be stifled by dry-rot.
I would rather be a superb meteor, every atom
of me in magnificent glow, than a sleepy and permanent planet.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
I shall not waste my days trying to prolong them.
I shall use my time.
- Jack London
I shared this quote with the Band at our last rehearsal. As we've been discussing quite a bit the past couple weeks - the honeymoon is over. We start the year with intense anticipation, excitement, adrenaline. And then reality hits - tests, papers, sporting events, family commitments - are there any more directions we could be heading at the same time? There are a number of "things" that constantly distract us from the task at hand. The world currently seems to point away from uninterrupted focus and instead to over stimulation and a distracted existence. And yet, I believe that we can truly "live" and not just "exist." Music is the truest testament of this mindset, to truly use ones time to the fullest and dedicate oneself to excellence. An unending journey indeed, but worth every step nonetheless!
A huge congratulations and thank you goes out to the CHS Band students and parents for a tremendous success in the 300th Anniversary Parade. The CHS Band won the "Community Pride Award" for the "2000 and Beyond" Division - and we agree that the 70+ members enrolled in Instrumental Music at CHS demonstrates incredible community pride whether it's at a Football Game, Concert, or Parade!
Speaking of concerts - stay tuned (and check with your students!!!) regarding details of the upcoming Fall Concert on Oct. 18th. We truly cannot wait to share what the Band has accomplished in such a short month and a half.
In the next few months, we will be undertaking a very large project: The "CHS Band Strategic Improvement Plan." This will serve as a platform for all stakeholders (Parents, students, administrators, music teachers, etc) to share their thoughts regarding the immediate and long-term goals of the CHS Band. These goals will vary from financial targets to recruitment to simple activities that the students would like to participate in. Right now we ask that everyone begins thinking of the "ideal" goals and we'll start the formal process after the Fall Concert to document our goals and begin charting out the next five-year plan of the CHS Band.
In the meantime, enjoy and please keep in touch if there are ever any questions, comments or concerns: NSmith@CoventryCT.org.
The function of man is to live, not to exist.
"Suffer now and live the rest of your life as a champion." ~ Muhammad Ali
I hope I didn't scare anyone with that title. And not that we ever want to think of music or practicing or dedication as "suffering," but what a terrific sentiment for students of music. We look back at this school year and see some wonderful progress in the CHS Band. The trip to Cleveland and our 2nd Semester performances certainly give the band much to celebrate, but we will also be the first to tell you how much further we'd like to go as "champions."
To close out the year, we have plenty of fun activities:
June 1 - Pops Concert at Patriots Park (6:30pm) and Senior Awards
June 8 - BanDquet 2012
June 23 - Graduation (the full band performs)
I won't rush the summer away on you, but there will be information coming out before the end of the school year regarding how we'll be starting up next school year. We'll have a parade on Sept. 29th celebrating Coventry's 300th Anniversary as well as our traditional beginning of the year festivities - Fall Concerts, Football Games, and some "Getting-to-Know-You" opportunities for students and parents. Clearly we'll be hitting the ground running this fall (barring any hurricanes or surprise blizzards).
Have a terrific summer if I don't see you in person, and we very much look forward to next school year!
It's about time. And I don't mean that we've been waiting for something to happen - I mean it really is about time. Everything we do is tied into the clock - busy work schedules, family schedules, one activity after the next - and music is no exception to this rule. As I look down at this blog that the Boosters so kindly set up for me, I see two posts in October.... and now this one - what a year it has been! I'm going to try to be much more consistent with updates through the blog postings. It's all about time. Suddenly it's March, Music in our Schools Month - a wonderful time to pause, remember, and celebrate the subject in our schools that so many students find joy, challenges, peace, art (or insert your own descriptor here _______) in - MUSIC!
We have a wonderful array of activities coming up now that the Spring Musical is over with. The Red Satin Concert this Friday the 23rd promises to be a wonderful night of music and entertainment accompanied by a "Music in our Schools" Poster Contest, and CHS Band Student Bake Sale. During the concert, select members of the CHS Jazz Band will join Red Satin for a song.
Once we get into April, we have the annual All-State Conference in Hartford where Emma Gould will be representing our Band as a Clarinetist. Following the April Break, the Band will be making its way to Cleveland for a Performance Tour encompassing a number of performances for the Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Band, an Percussion Ensemble in a variety of venues as well as opportunities to see the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame and Cleveland Orchestra.
Anyone else's ears still ringing? Thank you so much to those who contributed, supported, and came by the Guinness World Record Drum Roll. 30 hours - we did it! Now the challenge that lies ahead is documenting it: we lost power, witnesses were stuck in their drive ways, and now we have limited to no communication statewide. But we will not be denied - if there's one thing we just proved, it's that we are determined.
I know it's been a whirlwind couple of weeks and these days off from school will only contribute to that sense of uncertainty for many. Here's a couple items beyond the drum roll to keep in mind.
Charter Oak Music Festival - as of right now, is still on. If we aren't in school Wednesday, we will not have that first rehearsal. More info TBA.
Eastern Region Auditions - instrumentalists are going to carpool to avoid being stuck on site for 6 hours. Times are posted and I will share that once we're back in school.
Football Games - Only 2 left! Saturday afternoon and Thanksgiving morning! And did I mention the team is still undefeated?
Trip Info will be forthcoming. I was trying to hold off on information overload before the Record Attempt; now that things are settling back to "normal" around the Band Room, I'll be sure to get that info out.
Greetings all! Here we are two weeks out from a World Record Attempt, the following week the Charter Oak Music Festival, the following week some students will be auditioning for the CMEA Eastern Region Music Festival. And then before you know it, the holidays are upon us and the Winter Concert will be here. So will end a very active first semester here with the CHS Band. A huge thank you the Boosters, volunteers, and students who have dedicated hours of work to assist the band in any way, shape, or form.
Needless to say, simply staying active is not why we do what we do. These students stay active because they believe in the importance of what we do as students of music and they find a place to belong with other musicians. They believe in the importance of beauty and expression, some of them are just drawn towards melody and rhythm, and from time to time they have thoughts uniquely different than their peers. The conversation of "what we do" is ongoing with our students. And believe me, the conversation of why we do it is even more challenging sometimes. This week, as I found myself getting somewhat frazzled with the immense workload set before us; I was reminded of a story. Sir Ken Robinson, a very eloquent speaker who you can find on www.TED.com, explains below to some degree what we must recognize in our student musicians. This story certainly keeps me focused on the "Why" of music for our students. And it reminds me always, that even if we can't always explain or quantify the significance, it is nonetheless deeply valuable within these students of Coventry High School. Have a great weekend!
He begins the story by explaining that Gillian is an 8 year old student struggling in school:
"We think Gillian has a learning disorder." She couldn't concentrate, she was fidgeting.
Anyway, she went to see this specialist. So she was there with her mother, and she was led and sat on a chair at the end, and she sat on her hands for 20 minutes while this man talked to her mother about all the problems Gillian was having at school. In the end, the doctor went and sat next to Gillian and said, "Gillian, I've listened to all these things that your mother's told me, and I need to speak to her privately." He said, "Wait here, we'll be back, we won't be very long." and they went and left her. But as they went out the room, he turned on the radio that was sitting on his desk. And when they got out the room, he said to her mother, "Just stand and watch her." And the minute they left the room, she said, she was on her feet, moving to the music. And they watched for a few minutes and he turned to her mother and said, "Mrs. Lynne, Gillian isn't sick, she's a dancer. Take her to a dance school."
She did. I can't tell you how wonderful it was. "We walked in this room and it was full of people like me," [said Gillian]. People who couldn't sit still. People who had to move to think. Who had to move to think. They did ballet, they did tap, they did jazz, they did modern, they did contemporary. She was eventually auditioned for the Royal Ballet School, she became a soloist, she had a wonderful career at the Royal Ballet. She eventually graduated from the Royal Ballet School and founded her own company -- the Gillian Lynne Dance Company -- met Andrew Lloyd Weber. She's been responsible for some of the most successful musical theater productions in history, she's given pleasure to millions, and she's a multi-millionaire. Somebody else might have put her on medication and told her to calm down.