Welcome all Music Families to the 2021-2022 Season!
First, let me thank you for supporting your student in music education. We learned last year how music came to be among the most important things for our youth and their well-being. We're pleased to develop that even further this year.
Today's blog post includes information about ordering instruments, jackets, shirts and DVDs, as well as information about after school music ensembles. There is also information about how we will be doing the music program different than last year with Discord, Breezin' Thru and List A/B/C pieces, and how to support your students' musical learning. Finally, there is also information about band trips and what to expect with them, as well as our fundraising organization the High River Catholic Fine Arts Parents Association (HRCFAPA) and their AGM. There is a ton of information, so grab a coffee and relax as you read!
Instrument Rentals - September 9, 2021
Instrument Rental Night includes Long & McQuade and Notre Dame Collegiate instrument rentals, and will be occurring by ZOOM at 6:30 PM on Thursday, September 9, 2021. Use the link below to join.
Students are expected to have their instruments in their possession by Monday, September 13, 2021. That will be the first day we are playing instruments.
If you don't know what instrument you will be playing yet, you might be in Grade 7, or you might be new to the school. Every new musician has had time with an instrument try-out kit, and now just needs to complete the instrument selection form. We use that information to help you decide what instrument is right for you.
Discord Music Community - The Main Resource for Music
Over the past years I have tried out a few systems that were to help students be successful in their musical skill development. They all cost a fortune, and none of them worked.
Last year I began to use Discord, which is an invite-only online community that I customized to provide all the features I was looking for; the ability for students to engage in music by listening, playing, playing along with, and recording their development. In the end the Discord has grown into an extension of the close-knit NDC Music Community. We were even able to use Discord for the same features we got with ZOOM and Google Meets. It was a perfect pandemic solution.
This year we continue with this tool, and invite parents to join in.
Again, Discord is invite-only, meaning I have to send you an invitation to get in. I also moderate the system, so there are no distractions like Nigerian Princes or strange Snapchat Filters that get in the way. People who join have to follow a code of conduct, which is really easy to follow and ensures the safety of the online space.
For students, every musical resource we will be learning with is already there including theory resources, musical recordings, sheet music, and advancement opportunities. Students can send me "support tickets" to get a one-on-one question answered, and it can't get lost in a sea of emails, and it helps me make sure I meet your students' needs fully and completely.
For parents, you have access to all my announcements (including musical volunteer opportunities), can ask me individual questions whenever you think about it, can sign up for volunteer and chaperone duties, and can even hang out in a "voice channel" that operates exactly as ZOOM does. It is a far better communication tool than emails and Facebook (although I won't be giving those up so I still recommend bookmarking this page and liking the Facebook Page).
Still Breezin' Thru Theory
We continue to use Breezin' Thru Theory as our main resource for learning the written language of music. Students are expected to complete at least three chapters this year (only more if they are in multiple ensembles, or didn't complete something in previous years). Breezin' Thru Theory now allows students to log in using the Redeemer Google ID, making the learning process even smoother than before.
Students know exactly which Breezin' Thru chapters have been assigned to them as they appear as separate text channels in Discord.
List A, B and C Pieces are Back, and Supported in Discord
All students in all grade levels will be selecting two solo pieces to practice their skills. They will choose pieces from a list of resources Mr. Windsor has available, most of them Royal Conservatory of Music Repertoire resources.
A List A piece is usually an up-beat "classical" piece, helping students to develop their understanding of rhythm and style. A List B piece is usually a much more melodic, helping students develop their tone and musicality. A List C piece is usually a modern piece arranged by Mr. Windsor for the students, and can be pop, rock, musical theatre, or soundtrack music (as examples).
Students select 2 of these three options. Their music becomes available in the Discord, where they can record their practice logs and record themselves performing their music. These recordings become part of their Skills and Techniques mark.
Students can also opt to enter their solos in Festivals, like the Highwood Lions Music Festival. Doing so opens doors to scholarships and awards.
If you have questions, jump into the Discord server and open a #windyj-ticket.
How to Support Your Students' Musical Learning
After School Music - Stage Band, Steel Pans, Strings
We have many other optional opportunities for students to get involved in music-making. Students can sign up for these ensembles Tuesday, September 7, 2021 at lunch in the music room, or by joining the ensembles on Discord.
The Woodshedders are our Stage or Jazz Band, playing rock, swing, and latin music. Students often play "secondary" instruments in this group, making it a perfect opportunity to learn a second instrument including saxophone, trombone, trumpet, piano, bass guitar, or drumset. Participation in Concert Band is a prerequisite for this class. They meet on Wednesdays after school beginning September 15, 2021.
Panorama is our Steel Pan Ensemble, playing Caribbean, popular, and rock music. There is no prerequisite for this group, and they rehearse on Wednesday evenings beginning September 8, 2021.
St. Cecilia Strings is our string ensemble, giving students an opportunity to learn violin, viola or cello. There is also no prerequisite for this ensemble, and they rehearse on Tuesdays after school beginning September 14, 2021.
NDC Music Jackets and Panorama Shirts
With a music program of over 120 students and an inventory of only 95 NDC Music Jackets, we have to order more! This is also an opportunity for you to order your own, complete with your name embroidered on it. Orders must be in by September 15, and jackets will cost $60.00 with the name embroidered on it.
Panorama also has an opportunity to order Panorama T-Shirts, which can be used on hot-weather days as our uniform instead. Again, orders must be in by September 15, and the t-shirts will cost $30, laid out as shown.
DVDs of the 2020-2021 NDC Music Concert Season
With all performances from the 2020-2021 School Year being conducted online, we have videos that we can keep for years to come. To get your own memento of the craziest year of musical learning ever, you can order your own DVD here. DVDs are sold at cost ($5.00 each), and no profit is made from these sales.
Band Trips and What To Expect
First, I must be clear that all band trips are subject entirely to the directions of the Chief Medical Officer of Health's guidelines and restrictions, and subsequently any guidelines or restrictions stipulated by the Christ The Redeemer Catholic School Division and our school administrators. At the time of this posting, masks are required on busses, and we would follow that expectation even on a charter coach to whatever destination we go to. Nonetheless, at the time of this posting, in-province field trips and excursions are acceptable extra-curricular activities, and as such we are moving forward with our band trip plans.
Edmonton Cantando Festival - April 11 to 13, 2022
Grade 8 Concert Band, Grade 9 Concert Band, The Woodshedders and Panorama
This band trip has been approved, and is moving forward. The current outline of this plan is a departure after noon on Sunday, April 11, an evening concert that night, hotel accommodations with breakfasts included, festival performances in the Winspear Theatre and the Yardbird Suite on Monday, April 12, workshops on Tuesday, April 13, and downtime at West Edmonton Mall. We will be looking for 6 to 8 chaperones for this trip. Final fees will be determine prior to November, however we are suggesting families budget a maximum of $200.00 per student until all fundraising contributions have been determined.
Airdrie Festival and Studio Bell - Dates TBA in March 2022
Grade 7 Concert Band
This is a perennial trip that has been approved and is moving forward. It introduces Grade 7 students to music festivals and school field trips. It is an overnight trip where students stay in the Super 8 Motel in Airdrie, enjoy downtime at the Genesis Place swimming pool, perform in the Airdrie Rotary Festival of the Performing Arts including a workshops with the adjudicator, and explore Studio Bell, all while arriving back at the school on the second day in time to catch the school busses. Anticipated cost of this trip, which also includes breakfast and accommodations, is $100.00 per student, however this fee cannot be confirmed until Airdrie's Festival sets their dates.
U of L Students For a Week - Dates TBA in April or May 2022
Senior Concert Band
This band trip has been approved in concept, but there are many particulars that are not yet fully planned. The intention is to have students live 4 days and 3 nights as if they are studying music at the University of Lethbridge. This trip will not only introduce them to what being in the music faculty might be like, but what post-secondary life in general will feel like, thereby helping them to be better prepared for life after high school while also learning more about music. Details will be announced as soon as they have been solidified.
Strings and Solos At Festival - Dates and Locations TBA
St. Cecilia String Ensemble, Any Solo Performers
This trip is contingent upon a number of factors, including what adjudicators each of the nearby festivals hire (Mr. Windsor is very particular about which adjudicators work with NDC music students). Once Highwood Lions Music Festival, Lethbridge & District Music and Speech Arts Festival, and Airdrie Rotary Festival of the Performing Arts announces their adjudicators and festival dates, we will be identifying further details about the trip these students will take to learn more about music.
Marching Band - At the Little Britches Parade in May 2022
Mandatory for Grade 7 Concert Band, Voluntary for all other students
The NDC Marching Band is one of High River's favourite parts of the Little Britches Parade, and we are excited to come back this season. Students in Grade 7 begin marching in March of 2022, and will be joined by dozens of other students who love marching band from other grades to participate in the parade. More details will come, but there is no cost to this activity, though it happens on the May Long Weekend.
Fundraising & the High River Catholic Fine Arts Parents
Band trips come at a cost, but those costs can be reduced for everyone with your support of the fundraising efforts of the High River Catholic Fine Arts Parents Association, or HRCFAPA. Many things in the music program don't happen without parent support. If you have a student in a music program, you are automatically a member, and can get involved during their ZOOM AGM at 7:00 PM on Thursday, September 9, 2021. You can also like their Facebook Page to keep up-to-date about their fundraisers.
Thank You For Your Support of Music Education
In the pandemic year we learned how critical music is to well-being and identity formation of every student. That you support your student in music education is to be commended, as you are making the conscious decision to help your students fully realize their complete humanness, and develop into the remarkable individuals they were always meant to be.
I am so blessed to work with your students, and I can't wait for this incredible music year!
Joel Windsor, MME, RMT
Music Education Specialist, Notre Dame Collegiate
Mr. Windsor will provide you with some interesting hints, help, advice, and resources on this page.