This article appeared in the Dartmouth Week by Kate Robinson – email@example.com – Mar 7, 2021 . To view the original article, please click here.
Dartmouth High School’s gym — home to sports victories and defeats, and even the last town-run Covid vaccine clinics — rang out on Sunday afternoon to rolling drums and crashing cymbals.
The winter indoor percussion season is in full swing, and Dartmouth’s world-class group has already made it to the semifinals to compete against six other schools in their division from across the US.
“These kids look like professionals,” noted percussion instructor and Assistant Band Director Tom Aungst. “They’re highly motivated — that’s the most impressive thing.”
Although the band normally travels to compete before massive audiences in stadiums all over the country, this year everything is a little bit different, with tournaments held virtually.
The percussion ensemble tapes their performances to send to competitions at the national and international level in three different circuits, including one based in the Netherlands.
So far they’ve made it to the semifinals of the Winter Guard International competition.
On March 7, the kids were taping a performance of “The Web,” a spider- and technology-filled show with sparkly costumes and glimmering lights, for a US Bands competition that sees more than 500 ensembles competing across 20 states.
Show Coordinator Darcie Aungst explained the theme as a double entendre.
“I just thought it would be cool, that play on the web — it’s the interweb, and also a spider’s web. You get kind of stuck to both,” she noted. “Like getting addicted to your phones…It’s very relevant now, I think.”
Aside from the empty stands, Tom said that not much else has changed.
“Basically, we’re doing exactly what we normally would do,” he said. “Except we’re not performing in person, and we’re not going anywhere. Everything is virtual.”
Students all wear masks and maintain social distancing during practices and performances, and they seem to have adapted well to safety precautions and other Covid-related issues.
“It’s going better than I thought it would,” said the percussion instructor. “We’ve had kids in and out because of Covid, but we just kept going. Kept focused.”
“We’re getting better each week,” he added. “It’s a good group. Really talented!”
Results from the semifinal rounds are expected by April 10, when the group will learn if it has moved on to the finals.
Saturday March 13th from 4 – 8 PM
Help support Dartmouth School Music Association
Order online at panerabread.com and enter code PRFUND at checkout. You can also bring this flyer or show a digital version to the cashier when ordering at the cafe to ensure your organization gets a portion of the proceeds.
Where: 84 N Dartmouth Mall Drive, North Dartmouth, MA 02747
When: Saturday March 13th
From 4 PM – 8 PM
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.
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.
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
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.
The DSMA would like to congratulate all of our students for their excellent performances at WGI World Championships in Dayton, OH!
Our Winter Guard competed from April 3-6, 2019 in the Scholastic Open Class, finishing in 12th place with a score of 86.600! Our guard also received the coveted Fan Favorite Award for their captivating performance!
Our Indoor Percussion group competed from April 11-13, 2019 in the Scholastic World Class, finishing in 4th place with a score of 94.888, just barely missing out on medalling! Their show also won Fan Favorite as well.
Congratulations to all of you for your hard work and dedication all season long. We also would like to thank the staff members who worked with the students all season long, as well as the parent volunteers who chaperoned, built and moved props, and selflessly gave up their time to help our kids!
This week’s itinerary can be downloaded and printed by clicking this link. The itinerary covers rehearsals this week, the Dayton parent meeting, Night of Percussion, NESBA Finals, and final prep for the Dayton trip to WGI World Championships.
A printed copy will also be available at the parent meeting on Wednesday evening.
Night of Percussion
The annual Night of Percussion is quickly approaching! This night showcases the talent of Dartmouth students in various percussion programs throughout our schools, and ends with a performance of the Indoor Percussion show “All In”. Proceeds from this event benefit the music programs in the Dartmouth Public Schools
Admission is $6 for adults and $4 for students and seniors. You can RSVP on our Facebook page by clicking here!
NESBA Indoor Percussion & Winds Finals
This year’s NESBA Indoor Percussion & Winds Finals will once again be held at Dartmouth High School!
Come see over 30 units from throughout New England perform some of the best indoor percussion & winds shows in the country. Tickets are just $15. You can find more info on our Facebook event page by clicking here.
For a full schedule and list of performing groups, please visit http://nesba.org/events/04062019/2019-New-England-Percussion-and-Winds-Championships/#