Summer Band News

Things are changing fast and there are lots of question. This is what we are planning as of right now.

Be aware that any of this could change if there are new requirements from the state or local level. If there are changes, we will communicate those to you ASAP.

First of all, please trust that I, along with the rest of the staff, share your concern for the safety and health of all of our students, parents and staff members.  My family is currently trying to decide what to do with our daughters this fall and as a parent I know how difficult it is to navigate this whole situation.  As a band staff, we are working to finalize our safety procedures for the upcoming fall and please know that our number one priority is safety while also trying to provide the students the opportunity to rehearse and perform as a group.  If everyone is on board with what we’re asking and understands that deviation from any procedures could greatly increase the chances of someone getting sick, then we will hopefully be able to be together with minimal interruption.

As of right now, we are planning to begin summer band rehearsals with percussion and color guard on July 27 with woodwinds and brass joining on July 29. This staggered start allows our percussion and color guard a little bit of a head start as we had originally planned.

In order to plan for summer band, we need to get an idea of what everyone is going to do regarding participation. I have created a very short survey that needs to be completed once by each member of the band by Monday, July 20. Please read through this entire email before completing the survey. Here’s the link:

https://forms.gle/czWdJ9MBQrb8auMb8

If after completing this survey you change your mind regarding marching band participation, let me know via email. Also, please understand that there is no pressure to attend if a student/parent doesn’t feel comfortable doing so. There will be zero penalty for a student if they decide to not participate in marching band due to the covid crisis. We do ask though that if a student commits to participating in person, that they do so fully.

2020 Marching Production

We have made the difficult decision to postpone the production of this year’s planned marching show to the fall of 2021. As we all know, the production of a competitive marching band show requires a serious investment of time, hard work, parent support and fundraising. With the uncertainty of everything right now, we have decided to move in a different direction and offer our students the opportunity to perform while having more flexibility with time and participation. There are a couple of things that will be different this year.

First, we have decided that we are going to go into the archives and base our show on music from our past. This is an opportunity to bring back some great music and give current students the chance to gain a better perspective of the history of the Tompkins Band. My favorite part about this is that the design of this show will be completely driven by our student leaders with the guidance of the band staff.

Second, we would normally have wind students perform in either a primary spot or secondary spot in the competitive show. This year, however, that will not be the case. Instead, every student who shows up and rehearses during summer band will be assigned a primary spot in this show.

The big thing to understand here is that our effort and performance expectations will be no different than any other year. Students will still be held to the exact same work and performance standard as before and audience members should expect to see the same high energy, entertaining performances that they’ve come to be accustomed to seeing from the Tompkins Band.

New music will be sent out to wind and percussion students as soon as our show is finalized.

Schedule/Calendar Changes

In an effort to minimize contact with each other, we are making a pretty significant adjustment to our summer band schedule.

For the first two days of summer band (July 27-28), only percussion and color guard will rehearse. That schedule will be as follows:

8:00am-11:30am – Battery Percussion

1:00pm-4:30pm – Front Ensemble/Color Guard

After that (July 29-31 and August 3-7), the daily in-person rehearsal schedule will be as follows:

8:00am-11:30am – Woodwinds/Brass/Battery Percussion

1:00pm-4:30pm – Front Ensemble/Color Guard

We still don’t have a good idea of what our teacher in-service schedule is going to be for the week of August 10-14, so times are still TBD. I will update those times as soon as we have them.

This schedule will allow us to better use our rehearsal space without having to jam a bunch of people into a small area. It will also make it so we don’t have to serve lunch on campus, which is a time when it is more difficult for us to monitor for social distancing.

Students should plan on arriving with enough time to check in, have their temperature taken and confirm the submission of their wellness check. Also, students will be required to leave campus immediately after rehearsal has completed. The band hall will not be open for socializing and students will be expected to maintain at least 6 feet of distance from each other while waiting for their ride.

This schedule reduces the amount of in-person rehearsal time by more than half of what we are used to. However, the expectation will be that during their at home time (afternoon for winds and battery and morning for guard and front ensemble), students will be practicing on their own and/or working with student leaders virtually on skills that need to be improved. Every student should be engaged in something band related each day from 8am-11:30am and 1:00pm-4:30pm.

Once we have an idea of who will and will not be attending summer band rehearsals, we will formulate a plan for students who are not participating.

I know that there are a lot of questions about football games and how band classes will be structured for students who are doing Katy Virtual Academy (KVA). As of right now, the district has not announced any deviation from our current football schedule. If we are given any direction on changes to that, then we will let everyone know. With classes, band members who do KVA will still do their classes with us even though the rest of their classes will not be associated with OTHS. Essentially, your core classes will be synchronous (in real time) while band will be asynchronous (on your own time). If you choose to do KVA, you will be allowed to come to after school band rehearsals and performances. If you are planning to take advantage of the opportunity to do virtual school and come to after school rehearsals, you should also plan on attending summer band rehearsals.

I want to emphasize again that there is a good chance that some or all of this could change. Please be patient with us as we try to do our best to get through this.

Summer Band Expectations

Students need to have the following for all rehearsals:

-Instrument and all supplies (reeds, mouthpiece, valve oil, mallets, flag, etc.)

-Music

-Pencil

-Water Bottle - An official OTHS Band water bottle will be provided on the first day of summer band to new band members (then paid for at start up). New students should bring another water bottle to the first day of rehearsal (bring at least a half gallon as you will not be able to refill your water bottle in a water fountain).

The following dress is expected of all students at all marching rehearsals:

-White or light grey t-shirt with sleeves

-Athletic shorts (no denim or khaki)

-Athletic shoes and socks (cross trainers or running shoes only)

-Hat

-Face Mask

-Sunglasses

-Sunscreen

Safety Procedures:

In an effort to keep our students and staff healthy, we are going to put into place strict safety protocols based on guidelines set forth by Katy ISD and UIL. These are not negotiable. If you are unable or unwilling to follow any of the below procedures, you do not need to attend summer band rehearsals. Our goal is to keep everyone safe. If a student is going to put the organization at risk by not following the rules, then they need to exercise their option to stay at home.

-No lockers during summer band

-Masks will be required during instruction and transitions (may lower from face while performing)

-Maintain social distancing

-Have your own water bottle

-No sharing/touching other people’s belongings

-Temperatures taken before each rehearsal

-Wellness form turned in before each rehearsal

-Marching band drill will be written so that students are at least 6 feet away from each other

It is going to be up to the students to make sure they are keeping themselves safe when outside of rehearsal. We are counting on everyone being smart and responsible so they don’t increase the risk of becoming infected themselves or infecting other band members.

This is just a