Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Meteor Jazz Band Coffee House - 4/16/2010

Mokena Junior High School will be hosting the Meteor Jazz Band Coffee House on Friday, April 16th 2010 at 6:30 p.m.

Here is the schedule for that evening:

4:00-5:00 PM - Students who wish to assist with decorations should arrive at MJHS band room. We will be setting up the East Gym at this time.

6:00 PM - All jazz students arrive at MJH wearing nice clothes. No shorts, gym shoes, hoodies, denim, or flip-flops. Clothing must be school appropriate.

Students are to also bring a snack or baked good to be served with the other refreshments during the performance. To avoid too many snacks of the same kind, please follow what is outlined below.

Flutes, Clarinets, and Saxophones – Salty snacks
Trumpets and Trombones – Sweet snacks
Rhythm Section – Healthy snacks

6:30 PM-8:30 PM** - Performances. Please invite your family and friends to come to our performance. Various student works will be displayed around the gym to showcase the work students do from day to day in class.

**NOTE: The concert time has been moved to 6:30 because the Shout Section Big Band will be performing at the end of the concert. SSBB is a semi-professional jazz band. Many of the band members are music teachers, including our very own Ms. Rodey!

Refreshments will be served!

Bottled water will be available for $1.00 a bottle.

8:30 PM-9:00 PM - Clean up. All jazz band students are required to stay and help take down decorations and put the room back in order. Please contact Mrs. Maffia with any questions by phone (708-342-4870) or e-mail. See you there!

Beginning Band News

The beginning band students and teachers have been working hard to prepare for the end of the year. Our final concert will be April 28, 2009 at 6:30 pm. The last full band rehearsal (and band bus transportation) for beginning band will be the morning of our concert. After that day, students will return on one morning for their final playing assessment. Students must pass this assessment to continue on to cadet band next year. The students will receive more than one opportunity to take the test if necessary. The system is in place to help students succeed as they progress through the band program.

Students will start signing up for a date in the upcoming weeks! You will need to arrange transportation for your child on the morning of his/her assessment. Students often sign up for the same day as their neighbors/friends so they are able to carpool.

Your child should be dropped off at MES at 7:45. Ms. Rodey and Mrs. Thomas will listen to a group of students every morning. Once the students are finished playing their assessment, they will be escorted to MIS for their regular school day.

Students will be evaluated in the following categories:

- Embouchure (mouth position) - cheeks should not puff out
- Body position - sitting up straight and feet flat on floor
- Fingerings
- Note and pitch accuracy - the music sounds as written
- Sound is characteristic of the instrument
- Uses tonguing to separate notes
- Plays without slowing down or stopping
- Plays correct rhythms

Each line on the proficiency test will be evaluated separately. You can help prepare your child by
listening to him/her play each part of their playing test for you in a mock assessment. Even if you are not able to comment on all the musical elements listed above, students benefit from going through the procedures associated with the playing assessment along with getting extra practice. We will give your child their own copy of the evaluation immediately following his/her assessment.

The students have been encouraged to ask questions and for assistance as needed. If you have any questions and/or concerns, please do not hesitate to let us know! We want the students to be as successful as possible!

Music Education - More Than Just Music

Dear Parents,

Current research has begun to define the importance of music study as it relates to the development of a child's mind. It continues to produce significant data demonstrating that students of music excel in everything they do.

At the Mokena Public Schools we think music is basic to life. It is an artistic language that helps humans connect imagination to expression; it cultivates the whole child.

Instead of instructing the student "what to think," it teaches the student "how to think." It underscores the value of interpretation and personal judgment rather than the traditional right-or-wrong answer concept of learning.

Perhaps Dr. Gordon Shaw and Dr. Francis Rauscher (while at the University of California - Irvine) have done the most provocative neurological research about the value of music study:

"A research team exploring the link between music and intelligence reports that music training is far superior to computer instruction in dramatically enhancing children's abstract reasoning skills necessary for learning math and science. After six months of lessons, those children who received the music training performed 34% higher on tests measuring spatial-temporal ability than the others. These findings indicate that music uniquely enhances higher brain functions required for mathematics, science, and engineering."

This is only one of many ongoing experiments that continue to support the theory that music enhances the human intellect. It is apparent we have merely scratched the surface concerning the positive implications of music study.

We also know that music is an integral part of a complete education. Music augments awareness and sensitivity in our children. This year has taught us not to take music for granted. Despite the uncertainty of our department’s future, we urge you to help your child continue making music in any possible way.

With appreciation,
Rebecca Rodey, Jennifer Thomas, and Jessica Maffia
MPS #159 Music Educators

Band Trip Updates

The final installment of the trip payment is due on Wednesday, April 14th. The cost of the final payment is $136.82.

A mandatory meeting for all students attending the Symphonic Band trip will be held at 7:00 PM on, May 3rd in the MJH band room. A parent must attend this meeting with their child.

Trip rules and regulations will be shared with parents and students at this time.

All students attending the trip will soon receive a packet regarding medical information. These packets must be completed and returned to Mrs. Maffia by the Trip Meeting on May 3rd.

Students who fail to submit a packet will not be permitted to attend the trip.

5th Grade Step-Up Concert

The MJH Symphonic Band is inviting all 5th grade band students to join them in a performance on Tuesday, May 4th. This event will be a great way for all 5th grade band students to become familiar with MJH and meet some of the students they will share the school with next year.

The schedule of events for the day is as follows:

3:30-5:00 PM – Combined Symphonic Band and 5th grade rehearsal in the MJH East Gym

5:00-6:00 PM - Pizza for all Symphonic and Cadet Band members sponsored by the music boosters. At this time 5th grade students will participate in a question and answer session with the directors and current MJH band students.

5:45-6:45 PM – Performance for parents

7:00 PM – MJH 5th Grade Step-Up Night

Band and Choir Take Home 1st Place Ratings!

On Saturday, March 20th the Singing Meteors and the Meteor Symphonic Band participated in the Illinois Grade School Music Association’s District VI organization contest.

After two fantastic performances both groups were awarded a Division I rating.

Thank you to the Boosters for organizing and chaperoning this trip.

Thank you to Mr. Rolinitis and Mr. Pritchard for making it possible to bring in our fantastic clinicians.

Thank you to all of the parent and student volunteers who worked to make hosting IGSMA contest such a successful endeavor. The contest ran smoothly thanks to all who helped.

Most importantly, thank you to all of the students in both groups. None of this would be possible without your talent, hard work, and dedication.

Important Choir Information

Tuesday, April 20th
Required choir practice
2:30-3:30pm – Band Room

Monday, April 26th
Required choir practice
2:30-3:30pm – Band Room

Tuesday, April 27th
Spring Music Concert!
Concert clothes are required!* (students arrive by 6:30pm)

*Concert clothes consist of a nice white shirt, full length black pants, and black shoes. Band students may wear the white t-shirt they have for under their band uniform.

The last day of choir will be April 30th.

For the remainder of the year, any 8th grade students interested in singing “The Star-Spangled Banner” at Graduation will be able to sign-up for help during homeroom. The audition date for this will be announced within the next few weeks.

8th Grade choir students interested in singing The National Anthem at graduation, please see Ms. Rodey!

Alumni Band

The Mokena Music Department would like to invite all former MJH band students to return to MJH and join the Symphonic Band in performance at the MJH Spring Fine Arts Concert. This year we will be performing “Selections from West Side Story.”

All Mokena graduates who participated in band during their time in junior high are invited to participate as members of our annual Alumni Band.

Alumni Band will meet for one rehearsal prior to the concert. This rehearsal will be held on Monday, April 26th from 3:45-4:45 PM in the MJH band room.

The Spring Fine Arts Concert will be held at 7:00 PM on Tuesday, April 27th in the MJH West Gym. The Alumni Band will join the Symphonic Band for the performance of the last piece on the program.

If you are interested in participating in Alumni Band, contact Mrs. Maffia to obtain music.

MIS & MJH Spring Concerts

The Mokena Music Department will be giving its final concerts of the year at both MIS and MJH in April.

The MIS Spring Fine Arts Concert will be held on Thursday, April 29th at 6:30 PM in the MIS North Gym.

Beginning Band students are to wear nice clothes.

Cadet Band students are to wear black shoes, black socks, black pants, and their gray Meteor Bands shirt.

All MIS students are asked to arrive at the school at 6:00 PM.

The MJH Spring Fine Arts Concert will be held on Tuesday, April 27th at 7:00 PM. in the MJH West Gym.

The Singing Meteors, Concert Band, and Symphonic Band will be participating in this concert.
Band students will be wearing formal uniforms for the performance. All band students must arrive with black socks, black shoes, and a plain white t-shirt.

Singing Meteors must wear a nice white shirt, full length black pants, black socks, and black shoes. Band students who are also in Singing Meteors may wear their white t-shirt from their band uniform.

All band and choir students are to arrive at school at 6:30 PM. Percussion students are to arrive at 6:15 PM.

Music for the 2010-2011 School Year

Dear Parents,

We typically like to center our newsletter around the students and their various activities and accomplishments. Though there is usually a message from the directors about various topics, we have always placed that letter toward the end of the newsletter because we feel the students should be our focus. However, due to the uncertain future of our program and the current plan for next year, we feel it best that we address you before you read any further.

You will notice that there are several events scheduled to take place that involve both recruiting students for our MIS and MJH music programs and assessing and placing our current students into appropriate groups for next year. Many of you are probably wondering why these events and assessments will still take place if there will not be a music program in the 2010-2011 school year.

On March 22nd the Mokena 159 school board held a special meeting. At this meeting the school board responded to many parents who have voiced their opinions about the importance of all MPS extra-curricular activities. They agree that extra-curricular are an important part of a child’s education. The board of education has committed to bring back extra-curricular activities, including all of our music activities, if the community can do two things to support them. These two things are:

- Raise $250,000 to support all extra-curricular activities for the 2010-2011 school year
- Submit a petition to the school board with the signatures of 4,000 registered voters pledging their support for a $0.29 referendum to be placed on the ballot in November 2010

At this time, it looks like there is a possibility MPS will have all of the band and choir programs that are currently being offered to your students. I stress that it is only a possibility at this time. However, running the various bands and choirs takes a lot of planning and preparations that typically have already stated at this point. We, the directors, and administration feel it is better to be prepared for this possibility.

Jessica Maffia, Rebecca Rodey, and Jennifer Thomas

8th Grade Recognition Night

The music department will be hosting its annual 8th grade recognition night ceremony on Tuesday, May 25th at 7:00 PM in the MJHS Band Room. Recognition night is the directors’ opportunity to honor all 8th grade band and choir students for all their hard work and dedication over the years.

The program for the evening will consist of a photo slide show of the students, an awards ceremony, and a reception. Family members are encouraged to attend this important event.

Mrs. Maffia is already working on the photo slide show, but she needs your help! She is looking for photos of the 8th grade band and choir students. These photos do not have to be from a music event. Many of our music students are friends outside of their ensembles. Pictures of athletic teams, field trips, parties, or any other outside activity would be great. Please submit photos to her by Friday, April 16th.

7th grade parents: Traditionally 7th grade parents volunteer to serve cake and decorate for this event. This allows 8th grade parents to enjoy the evening with their students. If you are interested in helping, please contact Cindy Hoyle.

8th Grade Recognition Night Slide Show

This is a reminder that all photos for the 8th grade recognition slide show are due this Friday, April 16th. Photos can be submitted through email (not too many at a time please, they are big files), CD or hard copies, though Mrs. Maffia prefers digital files. If you have any questions, just email Jessica Maffia.