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.”

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.

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.

Gratefully,

The Dartmouth School Music Association Executive Board

UPDATES ON CANCELLATIONS/POSTPONEMENTS DUE TO COVID-19 (March 13, 2020)

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.

Marching Band Itinerary Week of 9/9/19 (Randolph show)

This week’s marching band itinerary has been sent home with students and also emailed out to families. You can also find a copy of the itinerary by clicking this link.

Reminder!! This week’s football game is now 4pm. High school students will shuttle to DMS to change and warm up before pre-game. Students will eat in shifts during the game, so please make sure they have money (all students eat at half price). NO ketchup, mustard, BBQ sauce etc will be allowed while in uniform!

 

2019 Fall Logo Clothing & Show Shirt Order Forms

The order forms for our 2019 Fall Logo Clothing as well as the 2019 Fall Show Shirt are now online!

These forms were also emailed out to families this week. Please be sure to read each of them carefully for ordering instructions as well as the due date. Since all orders must be placed with the manufacturer at the same time, no late orders can be accepted. Thank you for your understanding!

All forms may be turned in at the annual End of Bandcamp Cookout on Thursday, August 22. Contact information for the parents who are in charge of the orders are on the forms, should you have any questions.

2019 Fall Show Shirt Order Form

2019 Marching Band Logo Clothing Order Form

2019 Color Guard Logo Clothing Order Form

These are also linked under the Parent Information page of this website, which can be found under the About section.

Here are some logo clothing examples!

Percussion schedule – May/June 2019

Our percussion sections are already starting their preparations for marching band!

These rehearsals allow many of our new marching band percussion students to learn about the different sections and instruments, and helps prepare them for summer practices (both group and individual home practice). Drumline auditions are also held during this time.

For a complete list of rehearsal dates and times, please click this link to download and print the schedule. These dates are also on our online calendar, which you may sync your phone to as well.

The schedule concludes in June with the full parent meeting with the music staff. We look forward to seeing you then!

Congratulations to our back to back to back National Champion marching band!!!

This weekend the Dartmouth High School Marching Band & Colorguard won their THIRD US Bands Division V Championship in a row with a score of 98.075! 

Our kids truly represented Dartmouth with pride this weekend. Their performance was outstanding, and drew praise from many other schools (both students and instructors alike). On Sunday the kids all got a chance to have fun and relax at the Palisades Center in New York, where they navigated a 4 story ropes course, helped each other solve escape rooms, ice skated, shopped, and may have even caught a quick cat nap on one of many massage chairs in the mall. 

The DSMA would like to extend our thanks and gratitude to all of the parents, family members, and supporters who have helped to lend a hand this season. It was YOUR hard work that helped our students take the field every week safely, knowing that all they needed to do was to go out on the field and have fun. 

Congrats again to our hard working students on their well-earned championship!