top of page

Update #4 - Sunday, August 26, 2018

Director's Statement from Mr. Kenney

As we reach the end of our August band camp, and especially before our next four rehearsals this week, I wanted to take a moment to address the band program before we get into the busy fall semester. 

Please take a moment and be appreciative of how successful past three weeks have been on multiple fronts. We are set up to have a really significant year if we continue to develop and make progress at our current pace. While we obviously still have areas we need to improve, and from the staff side of things, we are still overcoming some obstacles, I am encouraged by how many students have stepped up their game this year to keep things moving forward. I'm hoping to see 100% of the program stepping up - but remember, stepping up only works if you bring others up with you!

The heaviest work lies ahead in the next 6 rehearsals before the first game (Monday-Thursday this week, Tuesday-Wednesday next week); however, September is far more demanding and challenging for our program, and with each month, the challenge increases even more. In all four of my previous years at STHS, our program always loses speed and energy when other obligations start to take time away from our program. It does not have to be that way. With everything we are hoping to strive for this year, we simply cannot let that happen. The band has to help each other out. Take care of each other. Start doing what you can now to be organized and stay on top of your classwork so that it does not diminish your time, energy, and focus for the little bit of rehearsal time we get each week. Most importantly, I hope that coming to band is a release and an escape from your stresses and challenges -- it should never be a matter of having to come to band over wanting to come to band. 


This week is going to be extremely hot and humid. Unfortunately, we need to be on the field as much as possible as we finish up the remaining sets of Get Ready, work on our guard and pom features (Paradise & OMG), and then work on the transition and choreography for this year's Block Band routine. I promise to take care of you when you are under my supervision, but before and after that time, you must be taking care of yourself, or it is going to affect those around you if you are unable to participate. Eat healthily, and continuously drink water (hydration is a marathon, not a sprint). These are only 2-3 hour rehearsals, but they will be moving very fast. We will be providing Gatorade this week to help replenish electrolytes and keep sugar levels up.  Please wear white shirts on Wednesday and Thursday this week so that we are able to clean drill easier - plus, wearing white will help keep you as cool as possible in the hot and humid weather we will be having.

Lastly... I am publishing a list of all of the music that will be on the playlist for the first football game of the year at Milford, based on where I think everything stands after the past 4 weeks. Prioritize this music on the game playlist first for memorization, but don’t overlook the rest of the music in rotation, as we will be adding as many stands tunes as we can per week.

Rest up and bring us your maximum energy, voices, passion, cooperation, patience, and spirit each and every day! 

#1. Week 4 – Recap:


  • Winds/drumline: we are marching and playing on an entirely different level than we were one year ago. 

  • Moving Forward: thank you to the assistant staff and the band as a whole for keeping things moving this week when I was faced with some unplanned interruptions. In previous years, I'm not so sure things would have gone so smoothly. 

  • Checking Off: We checked off more items from our goals list than any other week.

  • Uniforms: we are fully fitted more than two weeks out from the first game. White T-Shirts and Gloves will be distributed soon. Look for an announcement soon.


Suggestions/Improvement Areas:

  • Tick-Tock: Seconds turn into minutesminutes turn into hours, and hours turn into days... and we don't have enough of them. We lost a ton of little bits of time. It's easy to lose the bigger picture in the moment, but we need to move quicker during rehearsals. Pretend the game is tomorrow, every day. 

  • Hierarchy: Let the leaders lead. There are many things leaders can help you with that don't need to go to a staff member. Help them, and they will help you... please do not step on their toes. If you have suggestions, voice them privately and personally, not publicly. By doing these things, you will be helping the staff by giving us time to do what needs to be done to move the band forward.

  • Social/Personal Stuff: The focus when you are at band needs to be on our performances, whether that is musical, vocal, and/or visual (whatever your role is in the program). If your comments or actions do not help in a positive way, it isn't worth saying or doing.

  • Tuning: This is our #1 issue for winds right now. Please try to tune before rehearsal (which is only helpful if you are fully warmed up), and do what you need to do to focus on that at all times during rehearsals.

#2. Goal Recap: Week #4


Last week’s goals (how we did):

[X] Check learning/memorization of NFL, Jam, & Get Ready

[X] Drill reading 101 activities

[NO] Reinforce marching fundamentals & spend time with individuals

[X] Get into stadium stands & “sound check” with video & audio

[X] Begin drill rehearsals 

[X] Distribute Paradise & begin music rehearsal

[X] Read through all new stands music

[NO] Memorize OMG(YES) & Block Band(NO) music outdoors

[X] Band Officer Nomination Info Release

[X] Continue parade marching & playing + marching skills

[X] Extend memorization rehearsals to Tier 2 and Tier 3 music

[X] School Songs: memorization checks (individuals for fight song, sections on rest)


This week’s goals for Week #5:

[ ] Get to 100% paperwork received (medical info & yellow sheets)

[ ] Nominate 2018-19 Officers by Wednesday 3PM; Elections on Thursday

[ ] Play through music on Game #1 playlist from memory (detailed later in email)

[ ] Finish drill for Get Ready

[ ] Add guard/pom features on field (Paradise & OMG)

[ ] Start block band routine (transition, choreography, and field exit)

[ ] Play through entire show memorized on field by 3 PM Thursday

#3. Missing Paperwork

[ ] Medical Information Sheets
     > 31 forms still missing (names posted in band room tomorrow)

[ ] Yellow Agenda Signature Sheets (Agenda Page #36 from Pre-Season Orientation)

      > 11 forms still missing (list also posted tomorrow)


#4. Member To-Do List

[ ] Submit Band Officer Nominations (on Member's Area)

[ ] Update Emergency Contact Info in Charms & Correct Personal Info (if needed)

[ ] Purchase Ear Plugs ($1.50/pair) - will be needed when metronome work begins

[ ] Register for Remind (both students & parents; see agenda Page #7)

[ ] Pay for Marching Shoes (if sized: $36 reg./$39 super). Checks to B&B Music.

[ ] Check your calendar against ours. Submit ALL Excused Absence Requests (August - December)

#5. Schedule/Weather Through Game #1:

Monday, August 27:

  • Full Band, 3:30 PM - 5:45 PM

  • Mostly Sunny, Hot & Humid, 92° (feels like 99°)

  • UV Index 8/10

Tuesday, August 28:

  • Full Band, 3:30 PM - 5:45 PM

    • Freshmen – continue uniform fitting

  • Partly Sunny, Hot & Humid, 94° (feels like 104°)

  • UV Index 8/10

Wednesday, August 29:

  • Full Band, 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM

  • Partly Sunny, 94° (feels like 103°)

  • UV Index 8/10

Thursday, August 30:

  • Full Band, 12:30 PM - 3:00 PM


  • Mostly Sunny, 92° (feels like 102°)

  • UV Index 7/10

Tuesday, September 4:​ (EVEN DAY)

  • After-School Rehearsal, 3:30 PM - 5:50 PM (activity bus departs 6:05 PM)

  • Weather & UV will go on next week's update (too far out)

Wednesday, September 5:​ (ODD DAY)

  • After-School Rehearsal, 3:30 PM - 5:50 PM (activity bus departs 6:05 PM)

  • Weather & UV will go on next week's update (too far out)


CLICK HERE for to access the Sussex Tech Transportation home page.

#6. Peach Bowl Update

Trip agreement forms for the Peach Bowl were distributed mid-week last week. They can be picked up in Room 690. Fully completed Trip Agreement Forms and first payment is due by August 30. Information on how to make payments is clearly detailed on the Trip Agreement Form. Once we reach August 30, we will still need to confirm if we still are meeting attendance expectations to continue to hold the trip. 

#7. Charms Follow-Up

I am communicating this information as a follow-up from my comments at the August booster meeting, since the booster organization pays for us to have Charms, and our 3-year membership term expires in July. We will need to decide whether to renew Charms, or go to another service (the only other comparable service is called CutTime).


After over a month of technical difficulties with zero communication to band directors nation-wide, we finally received an update from the new owners of Charms. The statement said "In the course of updating the existing platform, stabilizing for scale and security, and adding new features and functionality, it created performance inconsistencies. This is painful for some users, especially during peak usage times. We are sorry for the inconvenience you have experienced."


The communication also stated they will be releasing a complete overhaul of the Charms website on December 1, 2018. I am not sure if that includes a fix to the mobile app. This will hopefully make things easier in the long run, but band members and parents will likely have to relearn some things depending on how much they change.

#8. Parent Updates


"Beats from the Boosters"

Thanks to all those who came out and helped with our BBQ this year! It was a success because of you! It was great to see new faces out to help! Thanks to all the parents who sent in food, drink, & paper product donations for the kids . . . they said YUM!

  • Sign-ups available on Charms now (see the descriptions below to clarify what is needed):

    • Bus Chaperone 1 (away games and parades) – takes attendance, ensures bus boxes are on bus

    • Extra help (away games and parades) – second bus chaperone, supporting other chaperone, fill in as needed once at the game in the stands

      • Both of these MUST have background check completed and in to Grace Batten in order to ride the bus

    • Feeding kids (Friday night home games and some parades) – set up is 3 – 3:30 at the school; serve kids dinner, clean up & return supplies to pod

    • 50/50 raffle (home games) – walk both home & away stands selling raffle tickets

    • Booster Table (home games) – 5:30 – 6 – set up tables and canopy inside football stadium; set out food & clothing for sale; usually work ½ to whole game

    • Stands help (home and away games)– fill coolers with ice & water bottles before the game; help get supplies to the stands (along with booster table items for home games); monitor kids in stands & hand water out; keep non band persons out of designated band area; help with uniforms & bathroom breaks; clean up stands during show/after game

    • All parents – times are flexible! We want you to be able to help!

      • Help sew buttons & maintain uniforms

      • Hand out & collect plumes before/after games

    • If you can’t sign up but want to help out – find us and ask! There is always something to be done! We don’t turn anyone away!

    • Parent dress – black pants or jeans, closed toe shoes, Tech polo or other Tech appropriate shirt.  It helps our students identify help if we are uniformly dressed.

  • Polo Shirt Orders & Money – due 9/11 at the booster meeting.  ALL BAND members must have one (excludes pom, colorguard, majorettes unless they want one for fundraising events)

  • Fundraisers going on currently: Remember all should be helping to fundraise!

    • Wa-Wa hoagie cards

    • Scrips Gift card fundraiser – did you know there are over 700 businesses to choose from?! You can find the order form on Charms!

    • Georgia House tickets are going out on Monday 8/27

  • Upcoming Fundraisers:

    • September 24th – Georgia House dinner – students get tickets Monday – sell them!

    • October is for Krispy Kreme Donuts! The volume of donuts that we sell is UNBELIEVABLE! And not to mention DELICIOUS!

  • These fundraisers help to decrease the total cost of trips planned for the band and help to keep the band running smoothly.

  • Email us below if you need any of the fundraiser order forms/fliers.

  • Make sure you have signed up and/or downloaded the Charms app. It is our go-to for volunteering and planning around calendar events!

  • Next Booster meeting –Tuesday, 9/11, at 6:30 PM in the band room.


If you have questions about a volunteer opportunity, contact us at



That is all for this week.


If you have any questions, email me at, and please copy G. Batten ( on any responses sent to me. 


Thank you & have a great week,

- Mr. Kenney

bottom of page