Meeting Notes for Parents of Incoming Freshmen

Good day Spartan Band Members and Supporters.

On Friday, 6-24-16 and Monday, 6-27-16 Mr. Sims held meetings to discuss information that would be helpful to know for incoming freshman band members.  This post is a compilation of both meetings.  This information will also be very helpful for returning band students and their parents. You can download a copy of this PDF file here.
Things to expect about marching band rehearsal:
• Don’t drink milk that morning or pasta the night before.
• They do a stretch and run the first thing every morning of camp.
• Bring a water bottle.
• Bring a change of clothes because you’ll get sweaty or Mr. Sims may turn on the sprinklers.
• They will have a band locker to use during camp. Do not bring food (except lunch during camp) to the band room and don’t keep it in your locker. (Ants!)
• Band camp hours are 8-5 (except for officers, who start at 7:30).
• Only Freshmen and sophomores come the first three days of camp.
• Student should bring their own instruments the first day of camp, even if they think they might want to check one out.
• He closes the band room for lunch. Students can bring a lunch and eat in the cafeteria or walk to a restaurant. They can’t go alone. Parents can e-mail Mr. Sims if they want him to keep an eye on their child so they won’t wander.
• First day of camp: bring Band Handbook Agreement Form and Student Information Form.
• Music on the website (for marching) should be familiar to the students by the time they start camp; they don’t have to learn the whole thing yet.
• They should have the WSHS fight song and the Star-Spangled Banner memorized by the time band camp starts.
Marching Music:
Look at the show music now. It’s on the website. It’s a Michael Jackson show. All of this music is on Spotify or YouTube, so students can become familiar with it. Music should be memorized by the first game. They do not use lyres in the stands.
He will let freshman out to go to the school’s freshman orientation on July 19.
During teacher inservice days (first week of August), camp is 2:30 – 5:00. The drum major may start the practices those days. Once school starts, after-school practices will be Tuesday and Thursday until 5:00 if they can learn the show. He may cut back on times if everyone can learn the show. Mr. Sims can stay later than 5 if needed for pickups during practice but not after football games.
• Most of the games are at the Fairgrounds, which is our home field.
• Parents are encouraged to be chaperones to the games. They get in free. They help if a child needs to go home to do a medical issue. He needs one chaperone for every 15 kids. He will start communicating about who the chaperone liaison will be.
• Students have to fill out a form and get it signed by a parent to miss a practice or game.
• He uses “Remind” to mass text. Replies are individual (not group). Students and parents can sign up. He uses it to inform when arriving after games.
He has a form to check out instruments. He doesn’t charge a fee, but if you damage it, you’re responsible for fixing it. If you don’t have your own instrument and need to check one out, he has one for concert and one for marching. The good concert instruments should not be taken outside. Mr. Sims has contacts for repairing instruments if needed. His contacts are faster and cheaper than Amro or Lane, but they are professional. Students are supposed to clean instruments a certain way. The handbook page (to turn in) says the student will take care of the instrument. Woodwind players will have to buy their own reeds. Buying your own mouthpiece (woodwind or brass) is encouraged. A good place to buy them is
He has full wool uniforms, but they only wear them when it’s cold. Mid-South Solutions is where they order the uniforms they usually wear. That uniform won’t change; you can use it every year. It includes: shorts, pants, jacket, hoodie, t-shirt, and backpack. They can have their name put on the back of the t-shirt. It costs about $120, which the parents will pay to Mid-South Solutions directly. They wear Bandmaster shoes. They can be ordered through the band or on your own.
Band fees:
He will furnish a breakout if needed. It pays for the bus to playoffs, uniforms etc. Bus rental is expensive. Band fees can be paid by cash or check, payable to White Station Band. Mr. Sims will write a receipt. Band dues are about $260. The first payment will probably be due end of September. FYI other schools charge about $800. Band fees are only $140 if you already have a uniform.
He doesn’t require lessons but recommends it. He stays till 4:30 every day (when not in marching band practice) and will help students who want to stay after and get help.

There are honor bands he can nominate for throughout the school year.

He’s trying to get a Tri-M (music honor society) started at WSHS. Members graduate with cords and colleges recognize it. It can help toward scholarships.
Honor Society tutoring: National Honor Society students are expected to tutor; frequently they are available to help other band students with other subjects if needed.
He will give each student an etude to prepare and play every 9 weeks. They are intended to technically challenging. Students need to learn all scales. They will be tested throughout the year. Sheet music is costly; parents should be aware of any music that the student needs to return.
Band trip:
This year is New Orleans. They are probably going to Loyola. Jazz band may be in the Loyola Jazz Festival. Orchestra will go with them again. They may have a clinic with Loyola professors. He wants them to talk with professionals. It’s Thursday through Sunday; $785 for 70 kids, probably through Thomas Tours. The students play as one ensemble on the
trip. The trip is open to the orchestra also. It will be the 2nd week of March (3/2 – 3/5). This trip is open to all grades (freshmen through seniors). If a student’s grades are poor, participation in the trip may have to be discussed. The trip is fun and kids get to know each other.
July 30 he is planning on a mattress sale. Other bands have raised $3000 +. All the kids have to do is advertise through social media. The company uses the cafeteria as a showroom. They also had a successful candy sale and will probably do it again. He may consider a cookie dough sale. He did poinsettias at Christmas also. Fundraisers are through the boosters, not Shelby County Schools. He may do some spirit nights at Chick-fil-A or other restaurants. He may try doing a car wash on WSHS property; if not he’ll do it at Shell (Poplar-Perkins) again. We have sold t-shirts in the past; trying to find out if boosters can sell other logo’d items at games. (This is restricted by the athletic boosters and fairground rules).
• First day of camp: bring Handbook Agreement Form and Student Information Form. The student form is confidential; only Mr. Sims gets it; he particularly needs medical and allergy information on it.
• Program Absence Form is used if anyone has to miss a day at camp. Student needs to turn it in to him.
• Bus Exemption Forms: if a student is not to ride the bus home from a game, they have to fill it out. They have to turn it in in advance, because it has to be signed by the principal, Mr. Mansfield (due to liability concerns).
All forms are on the band website.
Booster meetings are first Tuesday of every month. Chuck Brantley is president.

Please let us know if you have any question. You can reach the WSHS Band Booster officers at:

Kindest Regards,

WSHS Band Boosters

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