Showing posts from March, 2009

5th Grade Band - Change of Schedule

With the May 15 Spring Concert looming ever closer, it is that time of year to start full fifth grade band rehearsals! Immediately after Spring break (April 13), the revised 5th grade band schedule will be:
Mondays: EVERYONE (Full Band)
Tuesdays: Clarinets
Wednesdays: Flutes/Saxophones
Thursdays: Trumpets/Trombone/F. Horn
Fridays: Percussion
This schedule will be in effect until further notice. Students, please remember your instrument and book on Monday when we return from break. Parents: PLEASE help your child remember their instrument and book on Monday, April 13th. I'm looking forward to putting the entire group together and see what they are capable of this Spring!

Concert Info Flier

The official concert information flier is going home today with JHCB, Choir, and FHSCB. 5th and 6th grade band members will get theirs in their sectional rehearsals this week. It's just a nice little "put on the refrigerator" version of the concert information that has been available here on the blog for quite some time. The concert is on Tuesday, May 19 at 7pm in the FHS gym. Attendance is required for performers. Click on the image to enlarge.

Thursday: FMB Rookie Parent Meeting

This meeting is this Thursday, April 2, at 7pm in the FHS band room. The "Rookie Parent" meeting is for all first-time marching band parents. I'll give a brief presentation about marching band, band camp, contests, football games, and the attendance policy, as well as go over the fee structure for camp and the school year. Parents can ask any and all questions at this meeting, and also pay their $50 band camp deposit. If you are indeed a "rookie parent" and cannot make this meeting, please drop me a note so I can give you a call and fill you in on what you've missed. Band members are not required to attend this meeting, but are welcome to come if they wish. See you there!

FHSCB Challenge Results

FHSCB challenge results:
Jordan def. Michael
No other changes at this point. Quality of challenges was high EXCEPT for articulation, which was the make-or-break characteristic for every challenge today. Please be careful to slur only where marked.

Quote For Today: Dealing with the Insane

"When dealing with the insane, the best method is to pretend to be sane."-Hermann Hesse (1877 - 1962)

JH Challenge Results 3/26

Nadia def. Katie
Alisha def. Marie

No other changes at this time. The level of performance was very high as compared to the last challenges in February. Bravo!

FMB - Mallet/Piano Players Needed

To fill out the instrumentation for the 2009 FMB, I am in need of two trained pianists or mallet percussionists. If you are indeed one of these types, please contact me as I would be very interested in discussing your membership in this year's group. If you are a band member and KNOW someone who might fit this description, please contact me as well. I am certainly going to miss Larissa and never once have taken her for granted...but now we have some big shoes to fill. Anyone interested or have someone in mind?

PSA: FHS Announcements Online

Here's my public service announcement for the week: Did you know that you can read the Fairbanks High School daily announcements online? Mrs. Reed maintains a blog with all the daily news. I put a link on the links page, but you can also get there by clicking here. Just FYI.

FYI: 2009 Football Games start at 7PM

I just re-read my 2009 football schedule that I received from Mr. Conley and learned that all of this Fall's games will be starting at 7:00 p.m. instead of the usual 7:30 p.m due to a change in league rules. I don't think this will make a huge impact on how things work, but it will certainly take some getting used to. This decreases the amount of time between school and the game and/or bus departure. I know it's a long way off, but I just wanted to give you a "heads up" of the situation.

JHCB - Listen to Jurassic Park

Thanks to Colin M. for finding this for us.The opening section of this is very close to the version we are playing and is what I had in mind for Monday's rehearsal. (YouTube link not viewable at school)

Columbus Youth Symphonic Band

I have audition information on the 2009-2010 Columbus Youth Symphonic Band. The CYSB is a an independent wind ensemble sponsored by Capital University and is open to area high school players. It is a top-notch group and plays high-quality literature. If you are interested in auditioning on May 9, please see me for more details. Alumni Jacob Williams ('08) participated in the 2007-2008 band, so Fairbanks band members are able to play at this higher level if so motivated.

Capital Concert Sunday

The Capital University Bands will perform a great program this Sunday, March 22 at 7:30 PM at Mees Hall on the CU campus. It's a phenomenal program! Click on the pic to enlarge. For more info, including directions, follow this link.

Middle Schoolers: I Will Be Enforcing The Dress Code

I just received this reminder from Mrs. Lucas:
As we go into this nice weather, it's important to stay 'on' the kids in
regard to dress code, specifically with LENGTH of SHORTS (below
fingertips), 'holy' jeans (not allowed), tops (have to have sleeves - a
'cap sleeve' is O.K.), sandals (no 'Adidas' type sandals with just a strap
over the front) or flip flops (None - except on special 'pre-approved'
days).I will be enforcing the dress code in my end of the building, so please be sure you meet the specifications when you dress in the morning. Thanks!

The Best Remote Control Ever

This is funny even if you aren't a musician. It's family friendly so feel free to click on the YouTube link!

Challenges: Declare Friday 3/20/09

JHCB and FHSCB challenges will be declared this Friday, March 20. Challenges will be the following Friday, March 27. Please be sure to follow the rules according to your handbook, including notifying the person you are challenging on declaration day. This is an open challenge, so feel free to cross parts. Challenges are always judged on the higher part, so if you are looking to move up, be sure to see me for the necessary music so you can prepare.

Happy St. Patrick's Day!

How about checking out the best Irish music has to offer on this day of the "wearin' o' the green?" Sir James Galway, perhaps one of the most talented and totally cool musicians to ever come out of Ireland, recommends his top five picks of Irish fare in this NPR article.

More Benefits of Music Education

More scientific evidence that studying music makes you smarter:
According to authors Joseph M Piro and Camilo Ortiz from Long Island University, USA, data from this study will help to clarify the role of music study on cognition and shed light on the question of the potential of music to enhance school performance in language and literacy.
Click here for the entire article at

6th Band Schedule Change - Starts 3/23

The sixth grade band will begin preparations for their spring concert on May 19 by having weekly full band rehearsals. Beginning on Monday, March 23, the sixth grade band schedule will be:
Mondays: EVERYONE (Full Band)
Tuesdays: Brasses
Wednesdays: Woodwinds
Thursdays: Percussionists
Fridays: Practice Day (see below)

On Fridays, band members may come to the band room to practice in lieu of study center if they have all of their homework done. Once they come to the band room, however, they may not return to study center that class period.

This schedule will be in place until further least until the middle of April.

JHCB - Listen To Your Music

JHCB can listen to your music for the Spring concert by clicking on the links below. Listen, learn, and enjoy!

Entry of the Tall Ships

The Incredibles (Main Title)

FHSCB: Info On Composers

Here's some great information that I want to share with FHSCB members about the pieces and composers we're performing at this year's Spring concert. Click, read, and learn :-)

Michael Colgrass - Official Site - Wikipedia
Old Churches - Program Information

Frank Ticheli - Official Site - Wikipedia
Cajun Folk Songs - Program Information (Scroll Down)

Steven Reineke - Official Site - Wikipedia


FHSCB: I'm ready to sight read Old Churches today. Are you? (Thanks for the help, Jimmy!)

Band Camp Web Page Posted

The details page for the 2009 Fairbanks Marching Band camp is updated and available for your perusal. It includes, dates, times, directions, and what to bring. Check it all out!

FHSCB: Listen To Your Music

FHSCB members can listen to the pieces we'll be playing this concert season. If you just want to listen (stream) online, I'd recommend clicking the following links:
River of Life Old Churches Cajun Folk Songs
If you would like to download a version to put on your mp3 player or add to your iTunes library, you'll have to go to the member page, and click on the download arrow next to the file. If you don't remember the username or password, just email me and I'll be happy to send it right back to you.
We can learn a tremendous amount by listening to performances of our music before we dig into it in rehearsal. There's no need to re-invent the wheel. Listen, learn, and enjoy! is ALL NEW!

I have updated, the official web page of the Fairbanks Music Department, so it is always up to date, and links you more directly to the important information you need. You can get to the blog, the twitter feed, the picture page, and all of the stuff you need with only one click. It is also self-updating, so when new information is available on the blog, it shows on the main page. Click on over and try it all out. Please let me know if there are any bugs by emailing me. Thanks!

FMB 2009 Information is Available!

The Fairbanks Marching Band 2009 information packet was sent home today with new and veteran members. You can view and print all of the information by clicking on the links below. Your $50 deposit is due no later than April 3. Please make checks payable to Fairbanks Music Boosters. I'm very excited about this 2009 group...they have great promise and potential!FMB 2009 Info Letter FMB Update 3/13/09 Shirt Order Form Drillmaster Shoe Info Attendance Policy Calendar of Events

I'd Rather Be Here

I'm getting a tooth pulled this afternoon and will not be here for the second half of the day. I would rather be here *sigh*. Please be good for your sub and follow directions please. Here's what's up:

5th Brasses - Practice #52, 54, 56, 58, 59-68 in your books.
6th Woodwinds - Practice Clouds and Victors, plus #147-149 in your books
Choir - Study Hall today
Band - Practice time. Go to your regular spots and practice together or individually on River of Life and/or look ahead to Cajun Folk Songs.

Reminder: Can Drop-off March 21

The Fairbanks Music Boosters are conducting a monthly aluminum can collection to help raise money to support our fine Fairbanks musicians. The can collection will be held on the following dates at the FHS student parking lot from 9-11 AM.
March 21
April 18
May 30
If you wish to make a donation but cannot come at these times, please call Kelly Moran at 614.873.6961 to make other arrangements. Thank you for your support!

Music Boosters - Wednesday 6PM

Music boosters will meet tonight in the band room at 6 PM. Any and all parents, family, and friends of the music department are welcome.

FHSCB: Contest Recaps (click to enlarge)


FMB Invites Now on Monday

Due to a printing snafu, 2009 FMB rookie invitations will now be distributed on Monday, March 9. My apologies for the inconvenience, as the color printer which I usually use was relocated and I could not get the invitations printed this morning before school.

FHSCB: Mr. Jerew's Comments

Mr. Jerew was at Tuesday's concert and was kind enough to put down some notes on our performance. Many of these were covered in Wednesday's rehearsal, but some were not. FHSCB members should read these and take them into consideration. They are all very accurate in my opinion :-)

Mvt. 1 of Shaker:

-In the opening section saxophones have to be careful to balance with the flutes, it was good most of the time... but the couple times when they were out, they were also a touch sharp so it became really obvious (most of this was probably the room and day)
-The melody got lost a little bit in the clarinet voices... they provide such a beautiful tone, encourage them to sing it out. Same for low brass.
- Watch the articulation of the dotted eighth note ideas "Dah - Tadah"

Mvt. 2
-Oliver sounded good in the beginning! Make sure the band matches his style. Bouncy.
-The sweeping countermelody in the trumpets under the first theme can come out some more... sustain. When the low bras…

BUMP: So, What is Twitter?

Twitter is a micro-blogging service. You can post 140-character updates and they are distributed to a public feed or to your connections that subscribe to your feed. It's a great way to spread important information quickly and concisely. I have set up a Twitter page for the Fairbanks band, and you can visit it or subscribe to it at You don't need to sign up to check this page and get the updates, but if you so create an account and subscribe to our feed, you will get all the updates as soon as they are posted. You can even set up your Twitter so you get SMS updates from the feeds you subscribe to.
All in all, it's an amazing technology and it would be silly to not use it to keep band members, parents, and fans updated with what's going on. There's even a box on my blog that posts my most recent "tweets," so you can check them out by visiting
If you have any questions about Twitter and how …

Bonus Points: Set Up/Tear Down

I need both a set up and tear down crew for tonight's concert, and am willing to give 5 bonus points for each to band/choir members who are willing to help.

Set-up is at 5:30. Tear-down is immediately after the concert until everything is put away. Please sign up on my office window to ensure you get your bonus points. I really do need your help! Thanks to those JHCB members who have already signed up :-)

Oops! Correction...

I erroneously listed the 6th grade band as performing on Tuesday's
concert when they are indeed NOT. 6th band will perform on May 19.
Sorry for the confusion!--
Benjamin J. Keller

FHSCB: Map To Teays Valley

For those parents/family/friends who can make it to our performance on Friday, here is the map to Teays Valley HS. Click the image to enlarge and print, etc.

FHSCB Sight Reading Assignments

Who's playing what for sight reading at contest on Friday? Larissa - Bells/Xylo Caleb - Snare Drew - Bass Kayla - Tambourine Matt - Timpani Trumpets and clarinets are in two parts. All others are on one part.

Proof the Program!

Please help me out by making sure your name is on the list of players and that your name is spelled correctly. Let me know about any errors by commenting, or by emailing me. Thanks! (click images to enlarge)