Showing posts from April, 2008

Chicago Trivia - Part Nine

Congrats to Oliver for correctly identifying all of the actors and comedians as alumni of the Second City Comedy Troupe!

In my opinion, the ultimate movie that relates the entire Chicago experience is Ferris Bueller's Day Off. Not only does Ferris's mantra of "Life moves pretty fast...if you don't stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it" continue to influence my life, but the film also made a list of "must see" items for my first trip to the city in 1989. In my favorite scene of the film, a best-of-the-best montage of art from the Art Institute of Chicago is presented. Here's the entire scene: (YouTube - blocked at school)

Chicago Trivia - Part Nine

Name each piece and the artist who created it: (see the rules if you don't know them already). This question is worth two (2) bonus points!

Piece No. 1

Piece No. 2

Piece No. 3

Piece No. 4

Piece No. 5

Piece No. 6

Piece No. 7

Piece No. 8

I'm Out Today (Wednesday)

I'm out today, but Chicago trivia and the usual bloggery go on. Check back later today for the final Chicago trivia question and the final tallying of points. I'm still waiting for an answer to the latest question, though.

Please be on your best behavior for your sub and follow directions. :-)

Chicago Weather For The Weekend

Cool. Rainy. Chance of thunderstorms. Be sure to come prepared with rain gear and an extra pair of comfortable shoes. It'll still be a great trip, unless you have raindrops falling on your head. Don't let the weather dampen your spirits! We'll be outside the most on Sunday, and it looks like no rain that day.

Lieberson: Neruda Songs. Sample Them. Why Not? What Ya Got To Lose?

Want to sample Neruda Songs? It's one of the three pieces we'll hear at the CSO on Saturday night. I bought all five of them for less than 5 bucks and plan on soaking them all in before the concert this weekend. Free 30 second samples are available on both and the iTunes Music Store. You can also buy them from either site for $4.95.

Chicago Trivia - Part Eight

Congratulations to Victor for finding the answer to part seven. Famed American author Ernest Hemingway (The Sun Also Rises, The Old Man and the Sea) lived on Dearborn Street in 1921.

Chicago Trivia - Part Eight

What does the city of Chicago have to do with famous actors/comedians Alan Arkin, Joan Rivers, Fred Willard, Peter Boyle, John Belushi, John Candy, Bill Murray, George Wendt, Mike Myers, Stephen Colbert, and Tina Fey?

Same know the drill by now. Any newcomers to the competition?

Chicago Trivia - Part Seven

Congrats to Allison who correctly identified Casimir Pulaski Day as the reason Chicago schoolchildren to not have classes on the first Monday in March!

Chicago Trivia - Part 7

What famous American writer, more closely associated with warmer climates, resided on Dearborn Street in the early 1920's?

Chicago Trivia - Part Six

Congratulations again to Emily for placing the lion statue oustide the Art Institute of Chicago, home of some of the most famous works of art in the history of the world.

Chicago Trivia - Part Six

In Chicago, why do school children have the day off on the first Monday in March?

Same rules as always. Good luck!

Final Chicago Update!

Here's all the news that fits. Please let me know if you have questions or if I have missed anything big.

Final Update - Chicago ’08!

*The school will be open at 6:30.

*Luggage inspection will take place at 6:45-7:00. Please don’t even think about bringing anything that you’re not supposed have (alcohol, illegal drugs, tobacco, weapons, or explosives). Female chaperones will inspect female students’ luggage and Mr. Keller will check male students’ luggage. We will also be checking carry-on bags. Please understand that we do not check luggage because we don’t trust you. We check bags because we want this trip to go as smoothly as possible and not have distractions that make the trip less enjoyable for everyone.

*We will load the bus at 7 AM and depart as soon thereafter as possible and no later than 7:30 AM. If you are not here by 7:30 and are not answering phone calls, we will leave without you. Please be punctual.

*Unless otherwise arranged with the Boosters, you will receive …

Program Notes for CSO Concert Saturday (Chicago)

Here's the program notes to the Chicago Symphony Orchestra concert many of you will get to experience on Saturday night. I've heard the Mahler 1 at Orchestra Hall before and you will not be disappointed, especially if you like it LOUD! I am extremely excited to hear Neruda Songs, one of the most heralded pieces of the young 21st century. Click each link to read all about the composers and the pieces. You'll be glad you did. An informed listener is a good listener.

Ravel: Menuet antique
Lieberson: Neruda Songs
Mahler: Symphony No. 1

Chicago Trivia - Part Five

Congratulations again to Emily for her bonus point-winning answer on question four. 49 years elapsed between the first night game at Comiskey and the first night game at Wrigley.

Chicago Trivia - Part Five

Where in Chicago might you find me?

Same rules apply as always. This one should be a little more challenging.

Chicago Trivia - Part 4

Congratulations to Jacob for correctly stating that the Chicago River's flow was reversed in the 1800's for sanitation reasons, and that the river is dyed green every year for Saint Patrick's Day.

Chicago Trivia - Part 4

Wrigley Field, the home of the Chicago Cubs, was the last major league ball park to get electric lights and play games at night. How many years elapsed between the first night game at the White Sox's Comiskey Park and the first night game for the Cubs in Wrigley field?

Chicago Trivia - Part 3

Congratulations again to Emily for winning question two with her correct identification of the Monodnock Building by Burnham and Root, the tallest masonry-supported building in the world, and the tallest building in the world outright when it was built in 1891

Chicago Trivia - Part 3

The Chicago River is a feat of 19th century engineering. Please tell me:

1. What is so "unnatural" about the Chicago River?
2. Why does the river appear green in many photographs?

Same rules apply as prior questions. Good luck!

Chicago Trivia, Part Two

Points update: Congratulations to Paige (1 point for first), Victor (.5 point for correcting Paige's one little lack of detail), and Emily (.5 point for the sheer amount detail she gives on the piece) for correctly identifying "Cloud Gate" in Millennium Park. (see comments for details)

Question No. 2:

1. Identify this landmark Chicago building.
2. Name the famous architect.
3. What is/was the building's claim to fame?

The same rules apply as in question one. Good luck. Let the games begin!

Chicago Trivia, Part One

I'll be posting Chicago trivia questions all week. The first student commenter to successfully answer the question will receive one (1) bonus point to apply to either their choir or band grade. Please, no emails. You must post a comment and sign with your first name to get the prize. Band and choir students in grades 5-12 are eligibe. Let the googling begin!


See the picture included in this post ^
1. What is the proper name of the artwork?
2. Where is it located (specifically)?
3. Who is the artist?
4. How much did the work of art cost to make?

5/6 Band Change Of Schedule week of April 28 just kind of fell apart on me. I'll be out on Wednesday and Friday of next week and that severely crimps my 5th and 6th grade band schedule, so I need to make some changes for NEXT WEEK (4/28) ONLY.

5th Band Week of 4/28
Monday - Full Rehearsal
Tuesday - Full Rehearsal
Wednesday - No Band
Thursday - Full Rehearsal
Friday - No Band

6th Band Week of 4/28
Monday - Full Rehearsal
Tuesday - Full Rehearsal
Wednesday - Regular C Day
Thursday - Full Rehearsal
Friday - Regular B Day

Sorry for the changes, but both my schedule and the messed-up post-testing ABC snafu in the 6th grade have necessitated these changes. Mark your calendars!

Fun Friday: It's Apparently More Fun If You're Belgian

1500 college graduates celebrate their trip to the real world by setting the Mentos and Coke world record. You have to see this to really believe it. Words can't describe. Have a great weekend! (via Engadget)

One Week

One week to Chicago! Are you ready?

Hubble Telescope Turns 18

As I was an astronomy buff when I was a kid, I remember vividly when the Hubble Space Telescope was launched into orbit. It has provided vivid images from millions of light years across the universe for 18 years now. NASA has released some amazing pictures from the archives and you can see 12 of them on What does this have to with music? Read about "Music of the spheres." Amazing stuff...check it out.

Are My Days Numbered? (Probably Not...BUT....)


Open Thread: So, What Did You Do For Earth Day?

My household has really taken a step in the right direction for our society and our planet by greening up our lives. In the last year, we have replaced all of our incandescent light bulbs with low-wattage fluorescents. We have started recycling aluminum, plastic, and paper, as well as stopped buying bottled water - this has reduced our weekly garbage to less than half what it was prior. To celebrate Earth Day, we purchased re-usable shopping bags for our trips to the grocery and other stores. I also realized that I don't need to turn on all the lights in my band room all the time. Just flipping the switch saves valuable energy and reduces our reliance of fossil fuels.

So...what did you do to celebrate Earth Day?

Why I Teach Music

I was recently in Mr. Newell's room proctoring the OAT (Ohio Achievement Test) and was impressed with his bulletin board that included his personal mission statement and traits that he believes quality teachers should possess. It inspired me to do the same. If you remember, at the beginning of every band and choir handbook, I present my statement of purpose for the Fairbanks Music Department. Here's a little list of why I teach, and more specifically, why I teach music:

Goals and purposes of the Fairbanks Music Department
1. To provide a quality education in the musical arts;
2. To improve students self-confidence, self-discipline, and work ethic;
3. To provide leadership opportunities and to foster an atmosphere conducive to music and learning;
4. To prepare students to become better persons, musicians, and citizens by fostering responsibility, personal excellence, and teamwork;
5. To encourage artistic expression and to provide a forum for students to perform m…

8 More Days...

8 days to our Chicago trip! We load at 7 AM and depart at 7:30 AM on May 2. Are you ready? :-)

JHCB - Pirates is IN!

I have a nice arrangement of Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End for the JHCB as our third piece for the Spring concert. It's short, but has its challenges, especially on our tight rehearsal schedule. You can get a sneak preview and listen to the piece before we read it by clicking the link below. It is in mp3 format. 8th graders will sight read on Wednesday, and everyone will rehearse it on Thursday and Friday when testing is completed. Pirated of the Caribbean.

Happy Earth Day!

May she last a little longer with our help.

Sad Mac: My Laptop is Dead

So, if I'm a little out of sorts this week, please forgive me. I started up my MacBook this morning and was greeted with the circle/slash (which is the new-age "sad-mac") and no boot. End result? My hard drive is fried. I'm good with my backups, so I only lost a few days worth of work, so I still have all my files, just not where I want them. I'm iMac-bound for the week until Apple ships Mr. Thaman a new hard drive for my machine, which was thankfully still under warranty. You shouldn't notice any change to my online presence, as I'm just on a different machine, but don't count on any updates until after I get my MacBook back. If you catch me standing, staring, and waxing poetic, you know it's just because I'm missing a part of my cyborg self.

Just Because I'm Not Posting Doesn't Mean I'm Not Reading And Keeping You Informed

Remember that I have a widget in the right column of my blog that shares articles from my daily reading. Most are music-related, but not all of them are. They'll always be informative or interesting, and always family-friendly. So if you visit here and there are no new posts, be sure to scroll down until you see this:

and then read, learn, enjoy. Hope you're having a great weekend.

Welcoming Myka Kathleen

Congratulations Mrs. Rene Barker, our guard coordinator, on the birth of her daughter Myka Kathleen! She arrived at 9:27 AM and is 9lb 11oz. Mother and daughter are doing just fine.

JHCB Challenge Results

No Changes at this time.

Thank you to all who participated.

Where's Allison?


FHSCB Challenge Results

Challenges 4/14 -

No changes at this time

Thanks to all players for fine performances.

Clean Up Time

The band room is going to go through a major Spring cleaning near the
end of this week. If you have stuff lying around, please pick it up
before Wednesday. I will also be cleaning out the lost and found box
on Friday so if you have been missing something, please check the bin
under the whiteboard before then.

Chicago Stuff

1. Please sign up for a min-group by Wednesday, April 16. If you do not sign up, I will assume you have no preference and will place you in a group.

2. Please make sure you are totally paid up. If you still owe, put your check or money order payable to Fairbanks Music Boosters in the mailbox ASAP.

3. If you have not gotten baggage tags from me, please do so. This makes loading and unloading the bus easier for the bus driver, as well as identifies you as a member of the group while we are in the hotel. We're only staying for two nights, so you should not need more than two bags under the bus. Please put a tag on your carry-on luggage as well.

4. Please review your responsibilities for the trip. You will need money to buy lunch each day and dinner on the way home. If you wish to bring spending money for snacks and souvenirs, please keep it safe. Please be on your best behavior and don't even think about bringing any contraband items. Have as much fun as possible within…

Quote for Today: Be What To Whom?

"Be civil to all; sociable to many; familiar with few; friend to one; enemy to none."
-Benjamin Franklin (1706 - 1790)

Be Part of the "Revolution!"

What you doing Wednesday night? The Union County Community Concert Association presents a Beatles tribute band "Revolution" at Marysville HS auditorium. Click the poster for details! (Thanks to Angie V. for sending this to me).

FMB Deposit Due Friday 4/18

2008 FMB members need to get in their $50 deposit by this Friday, April 18. Please make checks or money orders payable to Fairbanks Music Boosters. (No cash is accepted). If you would like to pay your entire $230 camp fee now, you are welcome to pay the entire amount at any time in the booster mailbox. Please make sure the students's name is on the check in the "memo" area. The candy bar fundraiser will commence next week!

5/6 Band: Upcoming Schedule Changes

As the May 19th Spring concert nears, it is imperative that we begin full fifth and sixth grade band rehearsals. This necessitates a schedule change. Please read below:

5th Grade Band
Week of 4/14
Regular Schedule

Week of 4/21
Tuesday: Study Center
Wednesday: EVERYONE
Thursday: Study Center

Week of 4/28
Monday: Flutes
Tuesday: Clarinets/Saxes
Wednesday: Brasses
Thursday: Percussion

Week of 5/5:
Week of 4/28
Monday: Flutes
Tuesday: Clarinets/Saxes
Wednesday: Brasses
Thursday: Percussion

Week of 5/12:
Tuesday: Study Center
Wednesday: EVERYONE
Thursday: Study Center

6th Grade Band
Week of 4/14
Regular Schedule

Week of 4/21
Monday: OAT (No Class)
Tuesday: OAT (No Class)
Wednesday: B Day - Woodwinds
Thursday: C Day - Percussion
Friday: A Day - Brasses

Week of 4/28:
Monday: Full Rehearsal
Tuesday: Regular C Day
Wedesday: Full Rehearsal
Thursday: Regular B Day
Friday: Full Rehearsal

Week of 5/5
Monday: Regular A Day
Tuesday: Full Reh…

Optical Illusion For No Particular Reason


Quote for Today: Leadership for the Better

"Men make history, and not the other way around. In periods where there is no leadership, society stands still. Progress occurs when courageous, skillful leaders seize the opportunity to change things for the better."
-- Harry S. Truman

FMB Rookie Parents - Did You Miss The Meeting?

I didn't see parents of Connor, Sarah M., Seth, Colin, Kevin, NIck, or Hannah G. at last night's "rookie parent" meeting. I have your information packet for you to take home to mom and dad. Many important topics were covered last night. Please contact me if you have any questions.

Bus For Vets Rehearsal

For your convenience, a bus will be provided for transportation back to FHS after our FHSCB rehearsal on Friday, May 23. Please use it at your convenience. A reminder that students who drive to school may also drive to Vets with parent permission. You may also be picked up at Vets at 4:30 if you so choose.

Kroger Cards - Earn Easy Money for the Boosters

It's the easiest fundraiser ever. Use your Music Booster Kroger gift card when you shop at Kroger and the boosters earn 5% of your total bill. It costs you nothing and earns money to support our fine Fairbanks musicians! Contact Booster treasuer Angie Scheiderer if you still need one of these valuable booster support tools!

Wednesday's Meetings (4/9)

6PM - Fairbanks Music Boosters - Band Room. Everyone is welcome

7PM - FMB "Rookie Parent" Meeting - Band Room. I would like to meet with at least one parent from each FMB family that has never had a child in the FMB. This meeting will last no longer than 30 mintues. You may pay your band camp deposit at this time as well.

See you tonight?

Chicago Trip: Small Group Sign Ups

There will be several times that we split up into smaller groups during our trip in Chicago. Each chaperon will be responsible for 10-11 students. If you have a preference as to which chaperon you wish to be grouped with, or a preference on who is in your group, be sure to sign up on the list on Mr. Keller's office window by Wednesday, April 16. If you do not sign up for a group, you will be assigned to one.

Quote for Today: Freedom

"To make people free is the aim of art, therefore art for me is the science of freedom."
-- Joseph Beuys

FHSCB - Vets Info & Permission Slip

Here is a copy of the information sheet for FHSCB members about the May 25 concert at Veteran's auditorium and the corresponding rehearsal on May 23. Please make sure the permission slip is returned ASAP. Click on each page to enlarge.

Chaperone Spot is Closed

The extra chaperone spot has been filled. Thanks!

I Need A Chicago Chaperone; Price Reduced

Okay...I REALLY need a parent/adult chaperone for the upcoming trip to Chicago May 2-4. The adult who backed out has already paid a non-refundable $150, so that means that you can now join the trip for a lean $400. This includes transportation, lodging, entry fees, taxes, gratuities...everything but lunches and souvenirs. I would prefer a parent of a band or choir member (but not necessarily of a student going on the trip), but FHS/FMS/FES staff members and band camp staff members are also welcome to contact me.

*Sigh*....DCI Finals Moved to Indiana University

Just in case you were planning on going to Indianapolis for the 2008 DCI world championships, you might want to change that hotel reservation. The new Lucas Oil Stadium, slated to be ready for the show, will NOT be ready in time. Drum Corps International had no choice but to move to another venue. In this case, the best substitute they could find was the 52,000 seat Memorial Stadium on the campus of Indiana University in Bloomington, Indiana. You can read the attempt at an apology here at I'm still going despite the change of venue. Are you?

Quote for Today: Take A Music Bath

"Take a music bath once or twice a week for a few seasons, and you will find that it is to the soul what the water bath is to the body."
-Oliver Wendell Holmes (1809 - 1894)

Be Here or Be Excused

More band and choir students had their grade in my class lowered due to unexcused absences to school this past grading term than in any term of my 15-year teaching career.

Students are reminded that if you are unexcused to school, you are also unexcused to rehearsal and your grade is negatively affected. You MUST turn in a note from a parent or a physician in to the office AFTER the absence, within three school days, or the absence is considered unexcused. Even if you turn in a note before the absence stating that you will miss school in the future, you STILL MUST TURN IN AN EXCUSE NOTE AFTER YOU RETURN.

I've said it many, many times: Be HERE, or BE EXCUSED. It breaks my heart to give a student a B in my class because attendance rules were not followed. It stabs a knife through my heart to fail students due to attendance issues. Please take care of business up on your return after an absence.

Reminder: "Rookie Parent" Meeting - April 9 7PM

There is a meeting for rookie FMB parents on April 9 at 7PM in the band room. A "rookie parent" is an FMB parent who has never had a child in the FMB program. This will be a brief meeting to explain expectations of students and parents, the attendance policy, the calendar of events, and to answer any questions that you might have. I would like at least one parent of each rookie member to attend. If neither can attend, please contact me so I can fill you in via phone, or make an appointment to meet in person. Student members are welcome to come to this meeting as well, although their attendance is not required. We'll mostly be talking about what parents need to know at this particular meeting.

There is a music booster meeting directly preceding at 6PM. All band parents are also welcome at this meeting of our fundraising and support group.

Save The Date - May 19

This is official notice that the music department's annual Spring concert will be held on Monday, May 19, at 7 PM in the HS gym. Performing groups will include the 5th grade band, 6th grade band, JH concert band, HS choir, and HS concert band. Attendance is required for all performers. The concert is free and open to the public. Details for performers will be published in a couple of weeks including what to wear, when to arrive, and what to bring. More information is available at

Larissa Update

From Larissa's Dad:

A special thanks for all of your prayers. Larissa came home on Monday evening (3/31/08) and is doing very well. She should be able to go back to school sometime next week. We thank God for sparing her life and for the healing that He has granted to her.

-Bob Stauffer

So If You Are Wondering What's Up With My Office...

It's kind of a funny story...kinda. So the ceiling in my office has leaked off and on for over a decade now, but not anything really serious that I couldn't recover from until the week before spring break. It all began with a drip at the new AC warm air return duct in the corner of my office. After our 15" of snow started to melt followed by a couple inches of rain, drips started appearing across the center of my ceiling and finally coming through the main AC cold air vent. Rather than risk losing thousands of dollars of CD's, books, music, instruments, and electronic equipment, I decided to move my office out into the band room until the roof got fixed. It's been over two weeks and the district has been having trouble getting a roofing contractor that's not up to their eyeballs in work this time of year.

Well, now it's official. The roofing contractor inspected the building and the word is...the roof over my office is pretty non-existent. It's g…

Brass Workshop at Wittenberg - April 16th

We will be holding a brass workshop on Wednesday, April 16th, at 7:00 pm.
I hope you will encourage your students to attend!

Here are details:

Admission is free, but advance registration is required.

Dan Kazez
Professor of Music and Auditions Committee Chair
Wittenberg University, Springfield, Ohio

P.S. This free workshop will be presented by four Wittenberg brass

COLVIN BEAR, horn, has been a member of the Springfield Symphony since 1973
and he has performed with the Lima Symphony, Dayton Philharmonic, the
Springfield Concert Band, the Springfield Summer Arts Festival, and
numerous other musical organizations.

BRANDON JONES, Wittenberg Symphonic Band director, held the position of
Conductor and Music Director of the Cincinnati Youth Wind Ensemble before
coming to Wittenberg. He was Co-Chair of the 2008 Ohio Music Educators
Association State Professional Development Conference in Cincinnati, the
third largest conference of …

I Need A Chicago Chaperone

One of my four parent chaperones is not able to make the trip to the Windy City. I need a parent to fill this spot ASAP for the trip to Chicago on May 2-4. The discounted cost for chaperones is $550. If you are interested in taking this open spot, please contact me for further details. It will be given to the first parent who pays their money. This is a great opportunity if you thought you missed your chance to see the whole city in three days!

BTW, board approved staff members (including camp staff!) are also eligible. Contact me if you interested!