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New Dartmouth High Band Director has same commitment to kids

This article appeared in the Dartmouth/Westport CRONICLE on October 21st by Curt Brown. To view the original article, please click here.

Ian Flint has succeeded the iconic Bill Kingsland

DARTMOUTH — The first time Ian Flint saw the Dartmouth High Marching Band was 1998 and he was a teenager in the Blue Ridge High School Marching Band in New Milford, Pennsylvania.

His high school didn’t have a football team, but it had a big-time, 120-member, competitive, marching band and that was how Flint first became acquainted with the Dartmouth High School Marching Band.

“I grew up watching the Dartmouth band. It’s a program I’ve always looked up to,” he said.

The following year in the spring of 1999, still a Pennsylvania high school student, Flint crossed paths with the DHS Indoor Percussive Unit at the World Championships in Dayton, Ohio.

“The level of excellence was so high. I’ve always wanted to be a part of something like that,” he said. “It has such a long-storied tradition.”

In 2006, Flint became part of DHS Marching Band program when he was named a system-wide brass instructor. He remained in that position until 2015 when he left to become the head band director at Bellows Free Academy Fairfax in Fairfax, Vermont.

And 22 years from when he first saw the Dartmouth band as a Pennsylvania teenager, Flint, now 39, replaced Bill Kingsland, who retired in June as the band’s director and the music director for Dartmouth Public Schools.

“For me, it is about continuing the tradition we have,” he said.

Superintendent of Schools Bonny Gifford said Flint is “a tremendous addition” to the Dartmouth music program.

“When I interviewed him I was impressed when he said he had his eye on this position for a long time. To prepare for a chance to be chosen he took a position in Vermont that would provide him with leadership experience. How many folks look so far ahead and do what is necessary to achieve their goals? He is enthusiastic, talented and well respected,” Gifford said in a statement.

It’s not an ideal time to take a band program under wing because of the pandemic, but Flint said he is focused on making this year as meaningful as possible for his students. “The students come first and they make it a great experience,” he said.

To say this year has been different is an understatement. Competitions are virtual. They are filmed at the stadium by DCTV and sent to the judges. The band season is half over and there have been no in-person concerts.

The woodwind and brass sections, the percussive and color guard don’t practice as one because of space limitations at the high school parking lot. The woodwind and brass sections practice 10 feet apart without masks. The percussive unit and color guard wear face coverings and are 6 feet apart. The shows are written specific for the spacing.

 

There will be no trip to MetLife Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey, where the band will be going for its fifth consecutive national championship. There will be no New Bedford Veterans’ Day Parade where the band was one of the crowd favorites, proudly marching down William Street to the delight of spectators. There is no traveling at all this year.

But even though the competition has been virtual, the results have been the same — the percussive and wind and color guard are all undefeated, according to Flint.

Madison Bettencourt, a 17-year-old DHS senior member and tri-captain of the color guard, said this is not the senior year she envisioned because of the pandemic, but Flint’s positive attitude has made it as enjoyable as possible. Many schools have dropped band all together because of the virus.

Bettencourt, who has been in the band for 6 1/2 years, said Kingsland is “an icon” with the band and in Dartmouth and Flint was faced with the enormous challenge of organizing a band season because of the limitations caused by COVID-19. “He came in and showed he can fill Mr. Kingsland’s shoes because this was not an easy task for anyone,” she said.

Still, she remains excited about the band season, saying they are “making history” by rehearsing through the pandemic, which is “special” because it has never been done before.

Bettencourt said people are suffering and others have it far worst than the band because of COVID-19. “I’m trying to remember that,” she said.

She also wanted to give credit to her two other tri-captains on the color guard, Mia Paynton and Ryley Thatcher, who with her have tried to make this band season a great experience for the younger color guard members.

Flint credits the band members for the results. “They’re doing it for themselves. That’s why virtual works for us,” he said. “It worked out better than I ever could have imagined. I don’t see any difference in the motivation.”

He told the band their competitive scores reflect their rehearsals. “Nothing comes easy. It’s all about hard work,” he said. “From the first day, they were ready to go. Let’s be great. The results happen because of the rehearsals. You can’t play defense (in band competitions). You can only play offense.”

Flint said he can’t wait for the pandemic to be over and for things to return to normal.

“It works. It’s good. It’s positive. Let’s keep pushing ahead,” he said.

Show Shirts and Logo Clothing

Do you have a student in one of our three fall performing groups?
We are now taking pre-orders for show shirts for each of the three fall performing groups!  Show shirts are $15 each, and are available in S, M, L, XL, and XXL (adult sizes only).

There are two ways that you can pre-order your shirts:
1) Pay online via DSMA website. You can fill out the quantity of each show shirt you want by filling out the text fields IN FULL and paying online on the Student Payments page on the DSMA website. There are separate sections for Winds, Guard, and Percussion shirts. Please be sure to fill them out with your student’s name, the total quantity of shirts your family wants, and the amount of each size that you would like (example: Student Name, 2 Medium 1 Large). If you are ordering shirts from multiple performing groups, just list the sizes that you would like in the appropriate sections when filling out the form.
2) Pay via check or cash. You can fill out this Google Form and put the check or cash in an envelope with your student’s name on it along with “Show Shirt Money” and have your student place it in the black DSMA box in the music office. The Google Form will email us with your name and shirt order when you submit it, so you don’t need to worry about printing it out and putting it in the envelope with the money.

If you pre-order and pay online through the DSMA website, you do not need to fill out the Google Form. Only cash/check orders need to fill out the Google Form so we can have an accurate count of how many shirts we need to order for each group. Once pre-ordering is complete, we will have a LIMITED number of additional shirts available.  This is to ensure that we are able to keep overall costs down.  To guarantee that your family has the show shirts they want, be sure to pre-order now!  If you have any questions, please contact Russ Benoit. DEADLINE FOR PRE-ORDERS IS SUNDAY OCTOBER 17.

Logo Clothing Update
Mr. Flint has had a new logo designed for the music department, and the various performing groups within it, to be used on all logo clothing orders. The new logo has just come in from the designer, and we are working on getting a logo clothing order ready for everyone. We’ll send out ordering information as soon as it’s ready, and we appreciate everyone’s patience while we prepare things for an order for this year’s
group.

Itinerary for Week of Oct. 5, 2020

There is no Winds performance this week, and Percussion has been moved to Sunday due to a scheduling conflict. 

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.

The Itinerary now includes taping times so families can watch outside the stadium along the fence.  Friendly Reminder: Because it is town property, all bystanders should be wearing masks when viewing any one of the three recording sessions to be in compliance with town mandates.

Itinerary for Week of Sept 28,, 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/pick up times and any 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). 

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.

Fall Flower Fundraiser Oct. 3-4, 2020

The Dartmouth School Music Association has teamed up with Lawrence Family Greenhouses to bring you an amazing Fall Flower Fundraiser. Stop by From 9 am – 5 pm on the weekend of October 3 – 4 to purchase all of your fall flower and pumpkin needs. 25% of your total purchase will be donated back to the DSMA. Please make sure to present this flyer at checkout.

If you have any questions please reach out to
Ann LaMere  or at 774-365-2678 

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.