To Band Families:
Well, here we are at the start of the 2020-21 school year! I can honestly say I never imagined my 32nd year of teaching band would look like this. Crazy! Here are a few things I know and feel we must continue to instill.
Music is important and fundamental.
All arts bring joy to life. We need each other.
Everyone needs to be a part of something bigger than themself.
Grit determines success.
When you are part of a band you are important.
To these ends it is time to get busy!
Next week we are going to have “virtual band camp.” Camp will run August 31 to September 3, from 6:00 p.m. to 8:30 p.m. on the world wide web. We will be creating a digital performance entitled “Ignite.” This show was created by our staff specifically for this unprecedented 2020 season. Students and guests are performing, compiling video, filming, and editing in anticipation of our world release in November.
We might not be able to be physically together, however we are arranging many virtual opportunities to work together, rehearse together, perform together, grow together, and have fun together.
This “virtual camp” will be an opportunity for you to meet the band, work on our show music, be inspired by other online shows, and be excited for our season. All members of the Century Virtual Marching Band will be put into groups of five, with one group leader. All members will have section leaders, adult staff mentors to ensure our best chance of success.
A full schedule will be attached with this letter. Music and recordings can be found on our new and improved website, centuryband.org, under the “Members Only” section. You must request permission to be included in the “Members Only” section. The schedule for camp will also be included on the website and band app. The schedule contains all of the links needed for camp as 100% of camp is online. Everyone will need access to an instrument (or percussion pad if you are a drummer), music, and a music stand. I will be at Century Monday, August 31, from 1:00 to 2:00 p.m., to check out instruments and stands.
After virtual camp we will have a weekly online meeting on Thursdays evenings, from 6:00 to 6:30 p.m. All members will be expected to participate in a 30-minute sectional which their group will schedule. We will also post a schedule for Thursday meetings after 6:30. They will not be the same every week, so we will post at least two weeks ahead of time.
The Century Band and band boosters are utilizing all of our considerable resources and expertise including equipment, staff, brain power, and 175 amazing high school kids to make sure this can be a huge success. We understand that our audience has moved from local to global and we want to impress the world!
If you have any questions, please feel free to contact me at email@example.com.
Mr. Jim Dunlop
Director of Bands
Century High School
8/17/2020 - 6th Grade Letter
Ladies and Gentlemen:
My name is Jim Dunlop and I am proud to be a band teacher in the Hillsboro School District for the past 23 years. During these years I have been blessed to teach at nine different elementary schools, Brown Middle School, and Century High School. I am writing to you today to plead for 6th grade band FTE.
We want to first thank you for your amazing support, both pedagogically and fiscally. In the past five years the “Arts Investment” money has infused over a half million dollars investing in band programs in 5th to 12th grades, district wide. I know at Century we have spent every dime of our Investment Money on new instruments. This has been critical in ensuring all students can participate with quality equipment.
Hillsboro elementary schools now have “loaner” instruments being distributed district wide to ensure equity and accessibility. The Hillsboro School Foundation has awarded several grants to help instrumental programs grow. This year alone HSF awarded $4,000 to Ladd Acres to purchase instruments for a school-wide program.
Your support has been continuous at board meetings, budget meetings, and planning meetings. The Hillsboro School District was just awarded the Best Communities for Music Education by NAMM (National Association of Music Merchants). I can honestly say all Hillsboro band programs are stronger than ever thanks to your support. Thank you!
Now we are faced with new challenges and obstacles. We see from our distance learning survey, students and parents are more concerned with social and emotional well being. Engagement and community are more important than ever, and harder to achieve. Band has always played a critical role in these goals for so many. Truthfully, online bands had many challenges. It takes creativity and teamwork from students and teachers. Grit and self-discipline are not only beneficial but essential.
We have a plan! In collaboration with the grade school band teachers, the high school band students will work together to cultivate success. All four high school teachers (Century - Jim Dunlop, Hilhi - Geoff Fotland, Liberty - Kevin Soon, and Glencoe - Ben Adams) have met with our students and will commit one mentor for every 6th grade student. All mentors have pledged to practice twice a week with each of their apprentices. Combined with the synchronistic teaching from their adult teachers we believe together our beginners can thrive. This partnership will also benefit the high school programs, helping us keep our band communities strong.
The high school students are also working on a recruitment video and a “How do I pick my instrument?” video. When programs begin to meet together, elementary students will have a solid start and can continue their experience.
We already know what will happen if we fail and 6th grade bands cannot be funded. In the 2003-04 school year the Hillsboro School District discontinued elementary school band. Some of us gave up our own time to start some beginning band kids. Century went from averaging 40 freshmen a year to 10 in 2006-07. There were less than 25 freshmen in all four high schools. It took three years to get elementary numbers up after the cut. It took six years to recover 100% at the high school level. Cutting FTE from 6th grade band was not a one-year decision. This cut would cripple our programs for six years.
This is an historic year! Everyone is experiencing difficult decisions. Things will look different - change is inevitable. We know your commitment and understanding of the benefits of a competent arts program is clear in both your words and actions. Please help us protect your investment in our programs. Please help us save your bands. Please keep FTE for 6th grade bands.
Download the Full Letter:
8/10/2020 - Marching Band Update
This week the OSAA announced that all Fall sports will begin in March. This will not affect our plan to run a virtual marching band with a video focus “IGNITE”. When we get closer to March we will determine what this postponed athletic season means to the Century Band. Some options might mean (pep band only, add choreography to Ignite show, do a different show, ???) . Some of this will depend on what the students want, part will depend on what NWAPA (marching band circuit) does. Most important piece for right now , we are moving forward with “IGNITE”.
8/4/2020 - Marching Band Update
To Century Band and Families:
It is hard to believe that school is right around the corner and we are still looking at online education and design uncertainty. I must admit I have been resistant to reach out and communicate with things changing every week. I never thought this would happen, especially in my 32nd year of teaching. It is with this new year that I am determined to dive in with positivity and enthusiasm, knowing just how very important music can be in our lives, and knowing that I have a strong desire to share music with my students. A couple of things that I am 100% positive about - our kids need music, they need us, and they need each other. The Century band program is great and we must do great things now and for our future. “Don’t be afraid to fail. Be afraid not to try.” - Michael Jordan. It’s time to get going, buckle up, and make it great!
As I’m sure you know, school will be online until November, and that marching band competitions have been cancelled. We, the Century band staff and leaders, have decided to make a virtual marching band, with a video performance focus. We have written a show called “Ignite”, with all fun music, with a “light” theme to capitalize on our amazing success last year. It will be different from anything we could have even imagined a year ago, but it will be “SWAWESOME” (so awesome)! As part of the change, we will not have any scheduled rehearsals or camps until August 31st. August 31-September 3 we will have an online band camp, from 6:00 p.m. until 8:00 p.m. During these next three weeks leading up to our virtual camp, I will be planning with student leaders and adult staff to calendar and coordinate. All rehearsals will be online. Most rehearsals will be during school time. We will have just a few rehearsals outside of school time. If and when we are allowed to meet in smaller groups, and dependent on individual comfort levels, plans may morph and change.
I will make sure we communicate at every level. Students are being encouraged to begin communicating with each other. To help with this, we will be relaunching our website this week at centuryband.org. We are working hard to make this your go-to for all things band. We will also be sending emails through Patricia Bradley and using the band app.
I am very excited to see what we can do! I know we can do great things!
Mr. Jim Dunlop
Director of Bands
Century High School