LONG Update

Thursday was a wonderful day. We went, we listened, we played, and I hope they had fun. We didn’t come away with any group trophies but I’m so excited for that the Jazz Ensemble did achieve. In just about a month (well, actually just about 8 rehearsals), we pulled together a performance that was fun to up on stage. I know the kids were nervous but they did their best and I couldn’t be more proud of a set of kids. I hope they’re proud of themselves as well. I listened to the CD we got and I can hear exactly what our judges were talking about in their comments of style and tuning. We’ll start working on that after the break.

Welcome to my Friday.

So, that leads us to Friday. I started Friday on a big high from the accomplishments of Thursday. This was the last day before Spring Break and I wanted to leave for the break in as good of a mood as the kids were in. Who would have thought their good mood would have created mood kill for everyone. Two days before, I had to deal with the fact that we had so many people ineligible in Concert Band that we might not be able to take them to UIL. I had a few students who said the grade on their progress report wasn’t their actual grade. They really weren’t failing so why do teachers put in ZEROs where grades will go in after they grade what they hadn’t had a chance to? Don’t they know how much that hurts SO many other students? Anyways, regardless of the final decision that had to be made on going to UIL, we still have a performance two days after we come back from Spring Break so we had to have a productive rehearsal. Ghost Fleet is where we need all the work we can get and MOST of the band choose to skip their sectionals this week so we had to cover all their markings during band. Okay, when someone talks about how to play a section of music, then says “Mark it like…” wouldn’t you think that at least ONE PERSON would pick up their pencil? Um, no. That’s not what happens in concert band. NO ONE picked up their pencil until I said, “so pick up your pencil and write over those notes…”!!! And not just once, every time to every section. I hate that. I hate that I have to sound evil to get the students to do something. If you don’t care enough to write in your part how something should be played (because you’re NOT going to remember because you HAVEN’T remembered yet), then why do you play an instrument? Why waste other people’s time. And I’m not even talking about my own. There are a handful of students who do what they’re asked the first time but unfortunately, their work cannot be recognized because the majority is okay with playing it wrong. If you want a social outlet, go get in PE. They don’t actually make you do anything in there from what I’ve heard. ARGH!!!

At the end of rehearsal, we had to say goodbye to Veronica. She just found out on Thursday afternoon she’s being adopted (YAY) but has to move to a little tiny town in the country in Georgia (BOO). And she’s not sure if the school she’ll be going to will even have band offered. That’s like crazy talk!! She’s worked so hard and has accomplished so much these last few years it’s hard to think there isn’t a place for her to share it. As Mr. Greene said on her card, if there isn’t a band there, start one! You know, I can see her doing that. Good luck and all our love to you, Veronica.

So the day goes on. I spent the rest of my day locked in my office, trying to process all the fundraising and trip payments for deposit that have come in this week. I haven’t even had a chance to update account statements for all the stuff that came in while I was gone on Thursday or figure out what everyone’s earned on their fundraisers and enter that in. Luckily, most of the latter is done because of how Mr. Sedatole’s kept records on his computer while people turned in stuff to him on Thursday. I’m so glad we think alike. I’m thinking I’m gonna have to go up to school for a few hours over the Break to finish that stuff so it’ll be ready for a mail out when we get back.

After Wind Ensemble, I get a chance to talk to Mr. VanZandt about Concert Band’s grade situation. Sadly, he agrees with me and Mr. Sedatole that we should pull from UIL. He advised I call the Babbitts (UIL Region Secretaries and my band director & his wife) to get final confirmation and instructions on how to go about pulling from a contest. It’s not easy. Especially after school on the day before Spring Break. Luckily, I don’t need a letter from the Superintendent like we’d thought. Just a letter signed by the Principal. So, Miss Lotspeich and I go on the Dillworth hunt. We find him in his office with someone so we quickly compose a letter (and a good one, with the little time we had) stating why we need to pull. It wasn’t easy trying to describe why so non-band people on the Executive UIL Board would understand. The Executive UIL Board is made up of Superintendents from all over the state. Dr. Gaul is on that board. Anyways, we finish the letter just as we hear Mr. Dillworth holler goodbye as he’s walking out the door!!! I run, catch him, get him back inside and he signs the letter. He’s very unhappy (how many people are unhappy now? I’ve lost count.) that so many people didn’t bother to use the tools they’re given to keep up their grades. He signs the letter and wishes us a Happy Spring Break. He says he knows we need it. (Tell me about it!)

So we walk back to the music wing with letter in hand. I’m very sad that I had to make this decision. Not because I want to compete at UIL. I’ve been there, done that. Got a lot out of it, too. I want my students to get the same experience. They play so well. They should be able to show that off. That’s not all UIL is about but it’s not about getting ONEs, either. I fax the letter to the Babbitts and gather my things to head home.

Mr. Sedatole suggests to Miss Lotspeich & I that we all go eat together so he calls his wife and we meet her at Rio Grande for some dinner. It was just what I needed. Fred, his son Jonathan, Jonathan’s girlfriend Karina, and Jonathan’s friend even joined us. I had a yummy strawberry margarita (grande sized) and that also helped everything seem all better!!

I slept well last night as well! Good food, good company and good sleep were just what “the doctor” ordered. Now, I’m going to go clean my apartment because Len’s coming to town. Oh, my uncle is also here from Japan again. He’s been here since Thursday but I’ve been so busy I haven’t had a chance to see him or talk to him or anything. Gotta go do family things this week!!! Okay, sorry this was long but I needed to get all this off my chest. Have a good Spring Break, if you get yours now (or if you get one at all).

2 thoughts on “LONG Update”

  1. Oh, and on top of everything else, yesterday was 311 day and I didn’t remember until the day was almost completely gone, much less observe it correctly 😦

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