With virtual concerts, DHS band proves the show can go on

This article appeared in the Dartmouth Week on September 20, 2020, by Christopher Shea. To view the original article, please click here.

Despite the postponement of Dartmouth football to February, Memorial Stadium is once again in-use. 

This weekend saw the first two socially distanced shows put on by Dartmouth High’s marching band as part of its fall season of virtual concerts. 

“It’s great to be able to do something like this,” percussion director Tom Aungst said. “The kids were really excited about the season.”

To prepare, the band has been having regular rehearsals via Zoom, Google classroom, and — in since August — in person.

The band is taking many physical precautions when it comes to Covid-19 safety. Students remain socially distant — six feet apart for regular instruments, and thirteen feet for wind instruments — and masks are required for all except those who need their breath to play.

“Six feet is pretty normal distancing for the drumline,” band director Ian Flint said. “Wind is a whole nother story.” 

To meet those regulations, shows were split into different days, with wind playing on Sept. 18  and percussion on Sept. 20. 

At the wind show, the band played a couple of jazz songs. At the percussion performance, the band played two songs about masks — “The Mask of Zorro” and the theme to “Phantom of the Opera.” 

“This music was actually something we did in 2001,” Flint said. “We weren’t sure if the competitive season would happen, so we chose something that would work for this season.”

Normally, the band would play these songs in-front of a judge where they can immediately get outside feedback on how they did. 

Since the concerts are done virtually, the band instead records its shows and uploads them online where judges will watch the submitted videos and rank the bands.

While this can take multiple takes, Flint said his students try their best to perform the song once.

“Our goal is always consistency,” Flint said. 

Aungst agreed, adding that, if anything, going virtual is “even more of a motivation” for the band.

Moving forward, Flint said he hopes to find a way to get parents watching the shows beyond standing by the fence. 

“We’re taking baby steps with this whole thing,” he said. “But I think at some point we can spread people out. But we still need to take things one week at a time.”

“It’s a lot different season than normal,” Flint added.

Itinerary for week of Sept 21, 2020

The itinerary for this week’s rehearsals and performances can be viewed and downloaded from this link. It has been posted to the BAND app, and our online calendar has been updated as well.

Please be sure to read the itinerary for information on arrival/pickup times and student uniform guidelines. Any questions about uniform criteria should be directed to the appropriate staff member for their section (Winds – Mr Flint, Percussion – Mr Aungst, Guard – Addison). 

Any Winds student that still needs a white t-shirt can either purchase one directly online here on our website, or you can print out this order form and return it to the DSMA box in the music office along with payment. If you order/pay online, please remember to note the student name AND the size when paying. 

PLEASE NOTE! As of this time, families are NOT allowed in the stadium to watch the performances. If/when this changes, the music office will send out an update.

Itinerary for week of Sept 14, 2020

The itinerary for this week’s rehearsals and performances can be viewed and downloaded from this link. It has been posted to the BAND app, and our online calendar has been updated as well.

Please be sure to read the itinerary for information on arrival/pickup times and student uniform guidelines. Any questions about uniform criteria should be directed to the appropriate staff member for their section (Winds – Mr Flint, Percussion – Mr Aungst, Guard – Addison). 

Any Winds student that still needs a white t-shirt can either purchase one directly online here on our website, or you can print out this order form and return it to the DSMA box in the music office along with payment. If you order/pay online, please remember to note the student name AND the size when paying. 

PLEASE NOTE! As of this time, families are NOT allowed in the stadium to watch the performances. If/when this changes, the music office will send out an update.

Workout with Tom Aungst

The full article can be found on Zildjian’s web site. For direct access to this article,  please click here.

We want to thank Zildjian for putting together this great WORKOUT episode featuring Tom Aungst, who runs through some exercises he does with the Dartmouth HS Drumline.

Not only does it show an awesome video, but it comes with a free PDF download of all the exercises the Dartmouth drumline does.

    

TOM AUNGST is the Director of Percussion at Dartmouth Public Schools in Dartmouth, Massachusetts. His job includes teaching percussion students at all levels of the program, from the beginners starting in 5th grade, to the middle and high school students. Mr. Aungst has been in the Dartmouth school system for the past 24 years. Under Tom’s direction, Dartmouth has participated in the WGI indoor percussion activity since 1998, capturing five World Class Percussion Championships (1998, 1999, 2008, 2009, 2014) and has consistently placed in the top three.

Mr. Aungst has also been involved in the drum corps activity for over 36 years. Tom has recently returned to The Cadets Drum & Bugle Corps as the Caption Head and Arranger for the 2017 season. He was formerly the Caption Head for Carolina Crown in 2015 and 2016. Mr. Aungst got his start in drum corps in the late 70’s by marching with the Reading Buccaneer’s all-age corps, winning two DCA World Championships in 1979 and 1980. In 1981 Tom became involved with The Cadets, first as a member from 1981-1984, then as the Percussion Arranger and Caption Head through 2008 and later returning as a consultant in 2013. While with the corps, Tom was involved with capturing nine championships and seven percussion awards. Mr. Aungst has always remained actively involved in the drum corps activity, recently writing for the Cadets2 corps in 2013, and working with various groups like the Blue Stars, Pacific Crest, Hawthorne Caballeros, and the Connecticut Hurricanes. Tom is a member of The Cadets, Drum Corps International and the WGI Halls of Fame.

Mr. Aungst is a graduate of West Chester University, where he received his Bachelor’s in Music Education and also has a Master’s in Jazz Performance from Rutgers University. Tom is a Vic Firth, Yamaha, Zildjian and Remo artist. He is also a proud father to Alan Aungst and Noah Aungst.

Color guard, band march on with in-person practices

This article appeared in the Dartmouth Week on August 21st by Kate Robinson. To view the original article, please click here.

While most teenagers spent their summer at the beach or escaping quarantine outdoors, kids in Dartmouth High’s marching band and color guard cut their breaks short to get back to practice via Zoom, Google classroom, and — in the past couple of weeks — in person.

On Aug. 20, nearly 50 students broken into groups by instrument could be found playing for three hours in a parking lot behind the high school. The wind instruments practiced in the afternoon, and the percussion and color guard practiced separately in the evening.

Students remain socially distant — six feet apart for regular instruments, and thirteen feet for wind instruments — and masks are required for all except those who need their breath to play.

This is the second week of in-person practice since the pandemic started — but some have been working virtually almost since school let out last March.

“I let them off for two weeks,” said percussion director Tom Aungst with a laugh. “These are really good kids.”

“It’s just nice to be back, because this is what the kids enjoy,” he said. “To get out here and be social, and play and drum and feel the energy, it’s really cool. Even for me.”

Aungst noted that every single one of his students attended his classes since March 13. “I had 100% attendance,” he said. “Indoor percussion competes at world championships — so they understand what it takes.”

“I was really impressed with their dedication and commitment,” he added. “I’m lucky.”

This year is also unusual because new band director Ian Flint took over from longtime director Bill Kingsland this spring.

Flint taught in Dartmouth for nine years and came back to take on the position after five years away. And with four national championships to the school’s name, he said, “We don’t want to lose momentum.”

“Some of the seniors here, I had five years ago,” he said, smiling under his mask. “The program’s evolved even in the five years I’ve been gone…It just keeps getting better.”

As for starting the job during a pandemic, he said, “It was a lot of planning.” But he credits his staff and the kids for pulling off the in-person practices.

“The kids, from day one, they took it super seriously,” he said. “They know if they don’t follow the guidelines, they’re not able to do this.”

“And they love this,” he added. “They take a lot of pride in it.”

As for the teachers, Flint noted, “We were so excited to teach again!”

“We’re lost without being in front of students and teaching them music,” he added. “This is our passion.”

Flint said that with the pandemic, this year will look a lot different. He’s already had to cut the number of hours kids can rehearse each day from nine hours to just three.

“We’ve reduced our rehearsal time to a third of what we would normally do,” he said, adding that due to the changes, they had to cut the show to half its normal runtime.

There will also be no in-person competitions. Instead, bands across the country will compose videos of their performances to send in to a virtual competition.

“We’ll film the show at the stadium, then submit it to the adjudicators,” Flint said. “It’s a little different.”

Senior Sergio Sao Marcos, who has played trombone in the marching band for four years, said that practices are going well.

“It’s just fun,” he said. “I like playing with friends.”

As for giving up part of his summer for the band, he added with a grin, “I don’t mind the heat.” 

The color guard has also started in-person practices in a field behind the school. Director Addison Kaeterle said that the kids are “just excited to be out of the house.”

He noted they also tried out a virtual platform over the summer, with students given level-based assignments to complete and submit videos for feedback, as well as virtual live practices and a weekly zoom catch-up.

“It was very different. I’ve never done such a thing before,” he laughed. “A lot of the kids actually came back a lot stronger with their skillset, because a lot of them took advantage of it.”

Color guard co-captains Ryley Thatcher and Mia Paynton said that everyone is happy to be back. 

“We’ve been in our houses since March now, so it’s good to be back and doing something,” said Paynton. As for the virtual experience, she said, “It’s weird when you’re still practicing but you’re not with everyone you’re used to being around.”

“I love that it feels like a family,” said Thatcher.

Tired of cooking?

On September 21, 2020 from 5pm – 9pm, Let Chipotle take over dinner preparations while helping your favorite student musicians.  There are four ways to guarantee your purchases count:

  1. Show the cashier a digital flyer prior to paying
  2. Print and show the cashier a paper flyer prior to paying
  3. And, my favorite way, Order online and pickup Chipotle for your fundraiser by using the Promo Code XCYTF73 on the Chipotle app or website. Please note that fundraiser online ordering is only valid through pickup during your fundraiser’s scheduled date, time, and assigned restaurant. Ordering delivery for fundraisers is not permitted at this time.
  4. Finally, if you find yourself without a flyer, you can mention the fundraiser to the cashier prior to paying.

Bracelet Fundraiser Extended!

Due to popular demand, the deadline to get your personalized bracelet has been extended!  For a donation of $25 (or more), you will receive a custom bracelet with inscriptions such as, “Music Lover”, “Band Mom”, “Orchestra Mom”, etc.  

Some examples of what is available are pictured below. However, you can personalize your bracelet with any wording of your choice using this order form.

You don’t have to be on Facebook or join the group to order, you just need to fill out the order form and submit $25 at the DSMA website on our payments page.

Deadline Extended! Orders must now be received by September 7, 2020.  If you have any additional questions about the bracelets, please email Shannon

To view on Facebook, please click here.

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Community celebrates longtime music director with retirement parade

This article appeared in the Dartmouth Week on June 20th by Christopher Shea. To view the original article, please click here.

More than 100 cars — many decorated with streamers and signs — streamed through the Dartmouth High School parking lot on Saturday afternoon to celebrate the retirement of longtime Director of Music Bill Kingsland.

Kingsland has led the Dartmouth High School marching band to excellence for over a decade, helping them win multiple national championships, including the fourth consecutive win last year.

“He brought Dartmouth into the national spotlight, this is the least we can do for him,” Dartmouth School Music Association president Russ Benoit said. “Our kids are as successful as they are because of him.”

The rolling parade included past students and their families and co-workers, unbeknown to Kingsland, who said he was very surprised by the event put together by members of the community.

“I had no idea all these cars would come out just for me,” he said. “This was really great!”

According to Benoit, this parade was inspired by the senior graduation parade, as he and other DSMA members liked how people were able to celebrate in a socially distanced way. But online the graduation parade, this would happen around a more central location.

Originally, Kingsland was to be honored at the Spring Pops Concert, but that event was cancelled due to coronavirus concerns.

“As with everything else, it went the way of the dodo bird,” School Committee Member John Nunes said. “But I think this was a great way to send him out.”

As for how they got the outgoing music director to the school on a Saturday, Benoit said Kingsland’s son was responsible for that. 

He said that Kingsland was brought under the pretense that he would be helping his son look at a car, something. Instead, he was treated to, which he, only to see dozens of cars descend upon the school, something Benoit is glad people were able to keep secret.

“It’s a good thing BK’s not on Facebook,” Benoit joked.

As cars went by, many would briefly stop to quickly chat with Kingsland, while some others would play some music from their inst, with one group playing “Billboard March,” a song the group said was Kingsland’s favorite.

“Glad to see you’ve kept up with your practicing,” he joked to the car. 

As for his retirement, Kingsland said he plans to take the summer off, but added that he will continue to keep music in his life. 

Along with a potential job at the Symphony Music Shop on State Road, he said he will continue teaching part-time at UMass Dartmouth, where he has been part of the school’s music department since 1986. 

Kingsland will be replaced by former brass specialist for the district Ian Flint.

“As bad as things are, the schools will be in a good place to start the year this fall,” he said. “He’s a really nice guy.”

DSMA Executive Board 2020/2021 Results

Following the Annual DSMA Meeting on June 9, 2020, here are the results for the 2020/2021 DSMA Executive Board and Standing Committee Chairs, with terms beginning on July 1.

EXECUTIVE BOARD

President Russ Benoit
Vice President Jen Heys
Recording Secretary Lissa Horan
Corresponding Secretary Amy Dion
Treasurer Yvette Nunes
Nominating Chair Laura Edgcomb
Ways and Means Chair Ann Lamere

COMMITTEES

Scholarship Sue Benoit
Publicity Stephanie Church
Concession Ken Richard
Gillette Sue Benoit
Properties
Uniforms Sue Benoit/Laura Edgcomb (Co-Chairs)
Internet / Website Erin Brunette
Decorating

Congratulations to our new board members and committee chairs! We are very much looking forward to a successful 2020/2021 school year. 

DSMA Annual Meeting – June 9, 2020 (Zoom call)

Due to current social distancing guidelines, our annual meeting this year will be held as a Zoom call on June 9th at 7pm.

The final ballot for this year’s election has been sent out to all DSMA members, along with the link and login info for the Zoom meeting.

If you are a DSMA member and you did not receive the email with the ballot and Zoom information, please contact Sue Benoit.