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.


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


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

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.

Dartmouth High marching band readies for next season despite coronavirus

This article appeared in the May 10 edition of the Standard Times. To view the original article, please click here.

The award-winning Dartmouth High School marching band may be left temporarily silenced due to the COVID-19 outbreak, but its interest among students is not wavering.

With just under 120 students in the program, the town’s director of music and the high school’s band director William Kingsland says while student interest in the band and musical courses remains steady, the upcoming band season is uncertain.

“Obviously, school will not be back in session for the end of the year, so as much course requests as we have and with all the programs looking like we have good signups for the following year in the fall, all of it remains a little uncertain right now. The band does an ‘x’ amount of stuff during the summer and all of that is kind of contingent on the governor’s plans and however this plays out. As much as we’re trying to plan, we really don’t know exactly what dates we’re going to be able to get back to doing what we would do. And even if we do, are we going to be able to perform in large venues with lots of people? So, there’s a lot of unknowns right now,” Kingsland said.

With his retirement planned for the end of the fiscal year, Kingsland also expressed dissatisfaction with leaving so many unanswered questions to his current staff and newly hired band director Ian Flint. He said the challenges brought on by the coronavirus pandemic and subsequent shutdowns include the loss of in-person, group practices meant to fine-tune the band’s marching and coordination during events, with over 100 individual moves planned for an average performance.

“It’s kind of frustrating for me because I’m leaving my current staff and the new director of music with more loose ends than I expected,” said Kingsland.

“Interestingly, the kids are still really great and the program looks good for next fall. But, the experience we can offer right now really isn’t what it would be. A lot of being in a band or a string orchestra or a chorus has to do with the interaction that students have with each other and the director and being able to do things together.”


Like all Dartmouth High School students, those involved with the band are continuing musical instrument classes online via Zoom, something Kingsland and Assistant Band and Percussion Director Tom Aungst say is helpful in allowing students to learn their instruments individually, but is ultimately ineffective in practicing as an entire band, chorus or orchestra.

Aungst, also a musical instrument teacher at DHS, says for both students and staff alike, it’s about moving forward and planning for the future, despite the restrictions currently in place due to COVID-19.

“We’re just trying to figure out a way to keep things moving for the kids and keep the interest there. We’ve been doing videos, so they’ll post videos of themselves playing. That’s something as far as hearing what they are doing, but as far as the movement, we have to get out there and do it,” Aungst said.

“This weekend we have a Zoom meeting discussing the marching band and we’re going to start to design the show. I think what we’re thinking is, ‘We’re moving ahead.’ I know its day-by-day as far as what the steps (to reopening) are, but we’re going ahead like we’re going to do this.”

Kingsland said that its not just the band’s overall performance that’s effected by the COVID-19 shutdowns. He explained that he’s noticed the emotional toll social distancing has taken on students, particularly those who look at the band and other performance classes as a way to connect with other students.

“I have a few students who are struggling just being at home and by themselves, and you can see it when you talk to them on Zoom, some kids just hardly want to get out of bed. It’s sad and its something the performance classes at the high school have always provided – they always had that connection for the kids to be part of something and be good at something, and that’s really important,” he said.

With Thursday’s news of this year’s Feast of the Blessed Sacrament being cancelled in New Bedford, the marching band’s season kickoff event follows suit. Typically viewed as the first performance that features the entire band – including new freshman students – the cancellation further delays the band’s progress in performing as a unit.

“I think we’re just going to have to be creative in how we do it. It’ll be different for us, but it’s where we’re at and we’re just going to have to pick up the pieces and move on in a positive way,” Aungst said.

Congratulations to new music director Ian Flint!

Congratulations are in order for Ian Flint, who was just named as the new Director of Music for the Dartmouth School System!

Mr. Flint will be taking over as the Director of Music from Bill Kingsland, who will be retiring after more than three decades as a music educator here in Dartmouth. Our school music department has seen unparalleled success under Mr. Kingsland, and we are confident that our students will continue to be in good hands.

Mr. Flint is very familiar with the Dartmouth schools, after spending a number of years here as the district-wide brass specialist. He worked with students in all grade levels, and assisted the high school program in a number of ways. He has spent the last few years working with the Bellows Free Academy in Fairfax, VT where he was named the 2018 Outstanding Teacher. Mr. Flint has also spent numerous years writing drill and design for various marching bands, percussion units, and drums corps around the country.

DSMA Nominations for 2020/2021 Now Open

DSMA members were emailed last week with nomination forms for the 2020/2021 Executive Board as well as committee positions. All members in good standing have been sent the nomination form that needs to be returned to Laura Edgcomb (, our Nominations Chair.

Any member in good standing is welcome to nominate themselves for any position listed on the nominations form.

As of right now, the following positions are open for 2020/2021, meaning the person currently in that role is not running for re-election, or the position is currently not held.

  • Corresponding Secretary
  • Publicity Chair
  • Properties Chair
  • Decorating Chair

Again, any DSMA member is good standing is welcome to nominate themselves for any position or committee chair. If you have any questions about the process, please email Laura Edgcomb ( and she will be happy to help.

To help our members learn more about all of the positions listed in our by-laws, here’s an easy to read breakdown of all positions in the DSMA!


1. The President runs DSMA meetings and is also a member of all committees (except for the Nominating Committee). The President also works together with the Director of Music to ensure the board and committees are working together to help properly support the program and students. Other duties include presenting information on fundraising efforts to the School Committee, arranging all travel and lodging for the different groups throughout the year, communicating with various group directors on budget, uniform, and prop/equipment requests, and working with families to help ensure their students are getting the most out of the Dartmouth music programs.

2. The Vice President helps to coordinate volunteers and chaperones for all events, including weekly competitions as well as the annual fall and winter home shows. The Vice President will also perform the duties of the President if they are unable to.

3. The Recording Secretary keeps the records and minutes of DSMA meetings throughout the year.

4. The Corresponding Secretary communicates with DSMA members and families to provide program information and updates. Communication is primarily done via email and includes updates to the families and students from music staff, weekly itineraries, notices of upcoming meetings and more. The Corresponding Secretary also maintains the DSMA membership list and helps coordinate membership renewals as well as new member signups. 

5. The Treasurer handles all of the financials for the DSMA. This includes organizing student trip payments, monies collected at competitions, football games and concerts, and working with the various music groups to make sure their items are paid for (including costumes, props, etc.). The Treasurer will also work with the DSMA’s accountant to prepare required financial disclosure forms periodically throughout the year. The position mostly utilizes Quickbooks to enter and report financial data for the DSMA.

6. The Nominating Chair is responsible for the annual nominations and membership voting for elected DSMA positions. This includes putting together the nominations form, working with the Corresponding Secretary to send notice of elections out to DSMA membership, and organizing member voting at the annual meeting in June to elect new board members.

7. The Ways & Means Chair organizes all of the fundraising for the DSMA. This includes working with vendors to arrange fundraisers, organizing community help for raffle table items, communicating fundraising information to the music staff and families, and providing student fundraising assessment information to the DSMA Treasurer. 


1. Publicity: The work of this committee is to coordinate all outside publicity for the DSMA, which includes working with local media outlets to promote the music groups, upcoming concerts, notable events and more.

2. Decorating: The work of this committee is to decorate for the concerts, programs, dances and other events of the DSMA as needed.

3. Scholarship: The work of this committee is to award DSMA scholarships to qualifying seniors each year. The Scholarship Committee also plans and organizes the annual Pops Concert, which is a fundraiser for the DSMA Scholarship Fund.

4. Uniforms: The work of this committee is to distribute, collect and maintain uniforms. They will also keep accurate records and with the appointed staff member, inspect and enforce proper uniform maintenance prior to each performance. Uniform committee members may also be called upon to assist with emergency uniform fit or repair issues prior to performances.

5. Properties: The work of this committee is to keep an inventory of and maintain all of the equipment and property of the Association. This includes updating maintenance records for DSMA vehicles, arranging rental trucks for long-distance competitions, coordinating repairs to DSMA-maintained concession properties, and more.

6. Concessions: The work of this committee is to staff and maintain the concession stands operated by the Association. This includes ordering food from vendors, organizing menus, and arranging volunteers to work at the concession stands for football games and competitions. This committee also helps organize concessions activities at our home shows as well as the annual Pops Concert.

7. Website: The work of this committee is to update and maintain the DSMA web page (, update the DSMA Facebook page with upcoming events, competition scores, staff updates and more, and to maintain the public DSMA events sign currently located outside of Town Hall.

8. Gillette: The work of this committee is to coordinate DSMA volunteers for all shifts at our food service stand at Gillette Stadium. This includes arranging the schedule and volunteer lists with Gillette staff, communicating upcoming events that require staffing with band membership, sending event details to volunteers, and working with the Treasurer to tabulate Gillette earnings and student assessments. 

DSMA Parents Helping Make Masks For Community Healthcare Providers

With the cancellation of the remaining indoor percussion and guard seasons due to COVID-19, our parents suddenly found themselves with a large amount of free time on their hands (likewise with our students!).

During this down time, one of our former DSMA board members and “sewing circle” parents Greg Jones decided he wanted to help our community by sewing some masks to help healthcare professionals who worried about running out of critical supplies.

Greg reached out to other parents who would have been working on costumes and they quickly began working together to make masks. All of their effort was recently recognized by the Dartmouth Week newspaper, and the article can be read at this link.

THANK YOU to Greg, Lisa Perry, and all of our parents for stepping up to help out!!

DSMA updates and info on affected concerts, events, trips etc.

This season has been an unprecedented one for the DSMA and all of the students in the programs we support. Our kids are the first and foremost thing on all of our minds right now, given recent cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19, along with the uncertainty about the remainder of the school year. Our thoughts are also with our families, many of whom may be faced with uncertainty with work and the health of their loved ones. We’ve come to know so many of you over the years, and we hope that we are all able to pull through this safely.

Given the cancellation of the DSMA meeting this month, and not knowing when we’ll be able to reschedule it, we wanted to send everyone an update on what we know has taken place so far with the music groups in the schools.

Here are the concerts and events that we know right now have been canceled:
The WGI season (no trips to Dayton, OH)
The NESBA indoor season (no NESBA Finals at Dartmouth High School on April 4)
The Band and Orchestra Play-In
Junior Districts

Here’s what we know is (or expect to be) postponed:
The Annual Pops Concert at Dartmouth High School that was set for March 12
The Night of Percussion that was set for April 3
Feature Night on April 8 is expected to be postponed
The Earth Day Parade on April 22 may be postponed

Here is what is still tentatively scheduled:
The middle school trip to Six Flags in May
The Spring concerts at all of our schools

All of our events are at the discretion of the Dartmouth School Department, and we will be following their guidance on rescheduling (or canceling) events with the music department once school resumes. We are also currently working on the plan to refund families who are affected by trip cancellations. Right now we’re in contact with all of the hotels, bus companies, airlines, etc to get our deposits and pre-payments returned. We hope to have information for everyone within the next few weeks, and we thank you for your patience.

This school year started out with many changes due to EEE concerns, and now we’re unfortunately seeing cancellations and postponements due to COVID-19. We are truly hopeful that the ongoing school suspension, and the social distancing it provides, keeps our kids, our extended staff and our families safe.

Having football games and our fall marching band competition start times rescheduled due to EEE resulted in smaller crowds, and subsequently much lower concessions sales (and gate sales at the home show) than most years. Additionally, the cancellations and postponements right now due to the coronavirus, unfortunately, will have a large impact on the DSMA as a whole. This also extends to our fundraiser at Gillette Stadium; our first shift was tentatively scheduled for April 18 and that has been impacted as well with MLS pushing out the start of their season and the statewide ban on public gatherings. 

Going forward, once school is back in session and life has returned to a relatively normal our plan is to come up with some additional ways we can make sure our students and our programs are taken care of for next year. This may include additional fundraisers or special performances, if possible. One thing is for sure – we need to make sure that BK gets the recognition he deserves before he retires for everything he’s done for our students over his long and storied career here in Dartmouth!

As a registered non-profit organization, our bylaws require us to send out nomination papers in April for DSMA executive board and committee positions for the following year. Understandably, there may be far more important issues and concerns still at hand next month. Once we get closer to that timeframe, we will reevaluate our calendar and make an appropriate decision that is best for everyone. Likewise with the scholarship applications for our qualifying seniors – our scholarship committee is already reviewing how they can ensure our kids are taken care of, no matter what. Once school resumes, we’ll be able to take a better look along with the music staff at what needs to be done to make up for lost concerts & events, and hopefully, many of the tentative events will still be able to go on or be rescheduled.

Our students are amazing. There’s no other way to put it. They practice at home, show up to long rehearsals at school, juggle music classes with all of their other studies, many of them take lessons with outside instructors or take part in other performance groups… they never cease to impress our teachers, staff, parents, and volunteers with how hard they work. As parent volunteers, it’s always a joy to watch our kids start the year and grow as performers and as people throughout the season. While this year may not be ending in the way many of them desired, we truly hope that in the not-so-distant future, many of our students look back on this year fondly and remember the fun they had, the friendships they made, and the adventures they shared.

If you have questions, concerns, or ideas – we want to hear from you. Please feel free to contact any of us and we would love to speak with you about the ways that we can continue to support the music and performing arts programs here in Dartmouth during this unprecedented time. And most importantly – be well, and stay safe.


The Dartmouth School Music Association Executive Board


We have been receiving a lot of questions about upcoming events, concerts, competitions, etc. that involve the music programs so we wanted to post an update here for everyone. The following is what we know about how things stand for our various school music groups:

-The WGI season has been cancelled, so our varsity colorguard and our indoor percussion group will not be travelling to Dayton, OH.
-The NESBA season has been cancelled, so both of our color guards as well as our indoor percussion group will not be competing for the remainder of this year. This means we will also not be hosting NESBA Finals at Dartmouth High School in April, as we normally do.
-The Annual Pops Concert at Dartmouth High School, featuring our choruses, orchestra, jazz band and concert band, has been postponed indefinitely. As of right now, there is no revised date scheduled.
-The Band and Orchestra Play-In has been cancelled.
-Junior Districts has been cancelled.
-Our annual Night of Percussion is tentatively scheduled for it’s original date of April 3, however that may change based on conditions leading up to the event.
-Feature Night on April 8 is tentatively scheduled to go on as planned (subject to change).
-The Earth Day Parade on April 22 is tentatively scheduled to go on as planned (subject to change).
-The middle school trip to Six Flags is currently still planned to go on, as it is scheduled for late May. Should things change between now and then, we will be sure to update everyone.
-The Spring concerts at all of our schools are still planned to go on as planned, but are subject to change should conditions dictate.

For families affected by cancellations involving trips, we will have info on refunds/credits within the next few weeks, as we are working with all of the vendors, hotels, travel companies, airlines, etc. to recover deposits and funds that were pre-paid to arrange travel or lodging.

Next week’s scheduled DSMA meeting may need to be postponed due the suspension of all after-school activities.

Throughout all of this, our kids have been AMAZING. They are disappointed and upset, and rightfully so. We are doing everything we can to support them and recognize all of the hard work they’ve put into practice, rehearsals, balancing music with schoolwork… we are very lucky to have such wonderful students to support, and a caring music staff that is dedicated to their students.

We will provide more info and updates to families as it comes in. THANK YOU to everyone who has supported us, and our students, during this unprecedented time.

Dartmouth band wins 4th consecutive national championship

This article originally appeared in the November 11, 2019 edition of the Standard Times. To read the original article, please click here. 

It was a perfect night.

The Dartmouth High School Marching Band won its fourth consecutive national championships in the U.S. Band Association’s Open Group V competition Saturday night at MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, N.J.

They tied for the highest score ever recorded by any band in the circuit with a score of 98.575, set in 2008.

And they did it at their band director, Bill Kingsland’s, final show as he is retiring in June.

Russ Benoit, president of Dartmouth School Music Association, the band’s support group, was at the championships and said there were some anxious moments until the final scores were read. They knew Dartmouth did well. They didn’t know how well.

Southington, Ct., High School came in second with a score of 95.375; followed by Passaic, N.J., High School, 95.175; and Trumbull, Ct., High School, 95.150, according to the Youth Education in the Arts website.

“When they announced the second place winners, we knew the kids had won,” Benoit said. “When they said, 98 (DHS’s final score of 98.575), we were completely blown away with how high the score was.”

Benoit’s son Jacob, an eighth grader, is in band’s drum line. His daughter was in the band and is now going to college.

“It’s such an honor to see it. We know how hard they work,” he said. “It was such a wonderful evening.”

Dartmouth parents poured out of the stands and hugged and celebrated with their children, he said. Later, they carried the huge trophy to bus.

“It was truly an amazing sight,” he said.

The fact that it was Kingsland’s last show was on on everyone’s mind, Benoit said. “They wanted to win it for ‘BK.’ (Kingsland’s nickname). They wanted to do it for him,” Benoit said.

“They wanted to show him how much love and respect they have for him by putting on the best show possible.”

The name of this year’s show was “The Witching Hour,” he said.

The band and color guard enjoyed some rest and relaxation Sunday and received a hero’s welcome with an escort by the police and fire departments with sirens blaring from Interstate 195 where they met the buses to Dartmouth High School.

On Monday, they marched in New Bedford’s Veterans Day Parade.

“That will be the last one for me,” Kingsland said of the U.S. Bands competition when he spoke with a reporter outside New Bedford’s main library following Monday’s parade. “It was good, really good. Good for the kids, good for the town.”

The band had to fight through the cold Saturday night on the field of MetLife Stadium and remain focused on their music and routines, he said. He offered special thanks to Tom Aungst, Mike Rayner, Tyler Kingsland, his son, and Addison Kaeterle, for their help this year.