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.

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.

Congrats to our Winter Guard and Indoor Percussion groups for their WGI performances!

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!

 

Night of Percussion & NESBA Finals April 5 & 6

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/#

Indoor Percussion Itinerary – Week of March 18, 2019 (Triton & Shepard Hill NESBA shows)

The indoor percussion itinerary for the week of March 18 can be found at this link. We recommend printing it out for easy reference! Our Google calendar (which can also be found in the BAND app) has been updated as well.

All costumes that went home with the students after the NJ trip should be washed and returned during rehearsal this week. Any questions about costume washing and care should be directed to Greg Jones (gregjones@dsmahome.org) or Sue Benoit (suebenoit@dsmahome.org).

Indoor Percussion Itinerary – Salem NH NESBA Show

This week’s itinerary, which includes the Pops Concert and the Salem, NH NESBA show, can be downloaded from this link.

Please note than an On/Off Floor Rehearsal has been added for Sunday, March 10. This is to prepare for the WGI Power Regional next weekend. ALL PARENTS who will be helping at the NJ Power Regional should be at practice, as the NJ show has a different on/off procedure than the other WGI shows we normally attend. 

Color guard, percussion perform at high school home show

This article originally appeared in the February 23, 2020 edition of Dartmouth Week. To read the original article and view photos from the event, please click here.

Flags were flying and drumbeats echoed through Dartmouth High School on Saturday as groups from all over New England came to participate in the annual New England Scholastic Band Association show.

39 color guard and indoor percussion teams — from independent groups to schools from Massachusetts, Rhode Island, Connecticut, and New Hampshire — took part in the seven-hour show on February 22.

It was the first NESBA show before the finals on April 4.

The event is hosted by the Dartmouth School Music Association.

“We’re the support group for all of the schools, all of the music groups,” said DSMA president Russ Benoit.

“Dartmouth is known for how great its music department is,” he noted. “And some of the staff come from world-class drum groups and other music groups.”

The groups perform to popular music — anything from Britney Spears to the Police — as well as original compositions.

“Some groups will use music that their own instructors wrote, so you get a combination,” Benoit said. “Every now and again you’ll hear a snippet of something you recognize. It’s a lot of fun.”

The event serves to raise funds for DSMA and the Dartmouth music program. 

“We need to raise about $100,000 a year between all of the groups,” said Benoit. 

The funds are used for everything from maintaining the trucks used to send kids and equipment to competitions, to props and flags, music rights, and staff stipends for those coming from outside the school system.

Supporters from all over the region trickled in and out between each performance throughout the day, filling the gym stands and cheering as each team came out to perform for the judges.

Jennifer Connolly of Dartmouth came to watch her twin daughters in the junior varsity color guard. “I’m very excited,” she said. “I’m so happy for them. They’re all nervous…but they know to just have fun. That’s what it’s about.”

Each performance had its own theme. Dartmouth’s Junior Varsity Color Guard performed “Bewitched,” featuring witches swooping through a set of dark woods, while the Varsity Color Guard’s theme was “Jazz’D”, with bright colors and flashy abstract patterns.

This year’s theme for the Indoor Percussion is called “The Web,” and the performance featured dancing spiders and performers caught in a spider web as well as tablets, screens, and icons from famous social media outlets.

Although all three teams gave much-praised performances, Dartmouth’s Indoor Percussion was a knockout, receiving a standing ovation and earning the second-highest score of any percussion team that day. 

It came second only to Spirit Winter Percussion, an independent group that includes young adults as well as children.

“I like the energy that Dartmouth brings,” said resident Liza Sousa, who was looking forward to watching her 15-year-old daughter Mia Amaral play the rack in the performance.

“She likes the whole camaraderie, and how they always aim to be better, and the support they get from the teachers and instructors,” she added. “It’s so enriching to her in all areas.”

“So far so good,” said Dartmouth School Committee member John Nunes of the show. “Everybody seems to be enjoying themselves, which is what it’s all about.”

“I think our kids did very well,” noted Music Director Bill Kingsland. “A world class group and an 86 at their first show — that’s scoring pretty high right out of the blocks.”

Dartmouth High student Alexander Le played the snare drum during the show, which he said went “really great”. 

The senior said the group has been practicing about 20 hours per week since December to prepare.

“There were a lot of applauses that we weren’t expecting, and that’s usually what gives us energy throughout the whole show and pushes us to the finish,” he said with a smile.

Nancy Farias came to see her grandson Jake Meatty, who plays the drums. 

She was thrilled with the performances. “I just like to see the young people doing something with their lives,” she said.

“I saw quite a few of [the performances], and I thought Dartmouth was the best,” she added.

Indoor Percussion Itinerary – Week of Feb 16 (NESBA home show), March percussion calendar

The itinerary for indoor percussion rehearsals the week of February 16 is now online and can be downloaded/printed by clicking this link. This itinerary covers all rehearsals for the February vacation week. 

PLEASE NOTE – there are TWO rehearsals that end with on/off floor practice. Parents who will be at the indoor shows and are able to assist with helping move instruments and props on and off the floor are needed at the times noted on the itinerary.

The March rehearsal and show calendar has also been uploaded and can be downloaded/printed by clicking this link.

The Google calendar (which can be found in the calendar section at the top of this website as well as on the indoor percussion BAND App) has been updated accordingly. 

Indoor Percussion Show Shirt Order Form Now Online

Indoor percussion students, family members, and supporters can order the 2019 show shirt by downloading this form, filling it out, and returning it to the music office at Dartmouth High School. Students in the program will be given a hard copy of the form at rehearsal tonight (January 15). 

All order forms must be returned by Tuesday, January 22. Orders can be paid online here on our website, or via cash/check when returning the form. If you pay online, you still need to turn in the order form so we have your name and size for the order.

Any questions should be directed to Sue Benoit suebenoit@dsmahome.org.