RHHS Band Scheduling

Hello to the amazing families of the 2020-2021 River Hill Band Program! I trust that you saw Mrs. McKinley’s note about this year’s schedule, and I wanted to follow up with some Band-specific information. My mind-reading skills have improved a bit over the years, so in this note you will find the questions that I know you want to ask and, to the best of my knowledge, the answers to those questions. Before I forget, though, I want to invite ALL OF YOU - students and parents - to a virtual “meet and greet” next Tuesday, August 11th, at 3:30 PM. The Google Meet code will be “RHHS Band,” and of course please be sure that you are logged into your HCPSS account before joining. OK, here we go…..

QUESTION: Will my guidance counselor plug an eighth class into my schedule?

ANSWER: Yes. If your counselor does not hear otherwise from you (see below), he/she will assign you your first alternate class choice. For those of you who were concerned about fitting everything into your schedule this year, it just became a lot easier to continue with Band!

QUESTION: I saw in Mrs. McKinley’s note that I can take Band both semesters. How does that work?

ANSWER: We are in a very fortunate situation, with the school system affirming the fact that kids need to be in performing ensembles all year in order to maintain skills, develop creativity, create beautiful music with others (we will try!!!), and come back next fall ready to be strong contributing members of their music programs (whether in HCPSS or at a college). I am very excited to take advantage of this gift, and hope to see every one of you for the entire year. While I can not require you to register for both semesters of Band, I do TRULY hope that you will consider it. Here are some interesting facts:

*You will be allowed to graduate with 5 credits of Band (so you will not have to skip it during your senior year just because you took this “extra” class).

*Wind Ensemble will be offered in both the fall and the spring, and those students will receive G/T credit for both semesters.

*A special note for CONCERT BAND students - in the spring you will register for Symphonic Band (no Concert Band class is officially in the spring schedule, but this is just a logistical thing - it won’t affect anything at all for you).

My assumption is that EVERYONE on the attached list is registered for at least one Band class. Oh - I would also like to mention that we absolutely will end the year with a celebration (in-person or virtual, depending on HCPSS) that includes recognition and gifts for all students, senior reflections, awards, and Band Booster scholarships.

QUESTION: Should I consider taking Band both semesters?

ANSWER: Absolutely. During both semesters we will work on individual skills and improve as musicians, learn cool things that we don’t usually take the time to address, find ways to make some music together (even virtually!), make our new students feel welcome and comfortable, and continue to laugh together and support each other, as we always do. So YES - please join us! Either way, though, you need to contact your guidance counselor (and I would say the sooner the better). Here’s why:

*Your counselor will not know that you want to take both Band classes until you let him/her know

*If you only choose to take one Band class, you should ask to be placed in the SPRING Band class (if possible), since that’s when we’ll have at least a chance of being together in school. You need to specify this - it won’t happen by default.

Here are the email addresses for our guidance counselors:

last name A - Dh: Mr. Ives Danny_Ives@hcpss.org

last name Di - J: Ms. Babe jill_babe@hcpss.org

last name K - M: Ms. Pizzo Marianne_Pizzo@hcpss.org

last name N - Si: Mr. Vangeli Philip_Vangeli@hcpss.org

last name Sj - Z: Mr. Krouse Michael_Krouse@hcpss.org

QUESTION: Are there any sectional rehearsals?


QUESTION: Is there any chance of having Marching Band or Pep Band this year?

ANSWER: With fall sports being postponed, I suppose there is a chance, but I simply do not have any more information on this right now.

QUESTION: What if I need to borrow an instrument?

ANSWER: As my current students know, River Hill has a large collection of high-quality instruments. I am VERY anxious to get them into the hands of my 2020-21 students, but at this time I do not know exactly when HCPSS will allow me to move ahead with this. We have still have not been able to collect materials and equipment from last year, and then of course we have to think about repair, maintenance, and cleaning. I promise to move this process along as quickly as possible, and to contact you when instruments are available for sign-out. Percussionists will have the opportunity to borrow keyboard instruments, as long as we don’t need them in the building (so at least during the fall semester!).

QUESTION: I heard something about a Music Theory class….what’s up with that?

ANSWER: I am SO excited about the return of Music Theory to River Hill High School! There was enough interest to make two classes (Theory I and Theory II) but, unfortunately, we do not have enough teachers to run both sections. Consequently, administration had to choose one of them, and they have decided to run Theory II (AP) only. Anyone who registers for this class must ALREADY have a thorough comfort level with the following skills:

*reading treble and bass clef

*notating major scales in all 12 keys

*accurately notating sharp and flat key signatures and knowing their corresponding keys

*playing simple chords on the piano

*reading and subdividing rhythms that include quarter, eighth, sixteenth, and dotted notes

We will be jumping right in with intervals, triads, seventh chords, diatonic chords, voice-leading and part-writing, harmonic progressions, form, non-chord tones, and secondary dominants. If time allows, we will conclude the semester with an original composition project. SO….if you have the necessary background and would like to take Music Theory, let your counselor know. You might end up on a waiting list, but I suspect that some spots may open up when I share the above list of prerequisite skills with everyone currently registered for the class.

OK, that’s it for now. Once you have digested this information, please contact your guidance counselor (remember - the counselors don’t automatically know that you need to talk to them!), email me with any questions, and join me for the meet-and-greet next Tuesday to talk about anything you want. I miss you all and can’t wait to get back to work with you!


Mr. Blackman

RHHS Bands

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