• Varsity winter guard qualifies for IHSCGA state finals!

    For the second year in a row, Mt. Vernon hosted an Indiana High School Color Guard Association competition--except this time, instead of an invitational, it was the state preliminaries for A Class teams. The event on March 3 featured four rounds, with 34 competitors. Also, a team of special-needs students, Destiny, performed in exhibition.

    Of the 34 teams, only 16 moved on to the A Class state finals March 17. The Mt. Vernon varsity winter guard competed in the fourth round and finished in the top 16, locking in a trip to the state finals at Center Grove High School in Greenwood. This is the fourth year in a row that the varsity team has advanced to A Class state finals.

    This coming Saturday, the Mt. Vernon junior varsity winter guard will compete in IHSCGA's state finals for Divisional Regional A Class at Center Grove. Good luck, team!

    Thanks to director Thomas Thawley and his staff for all their hard work!

    The varsity winter guard performs its 2018 show, "See ME," at the A Class state preliminaries March 3 at Mt. Vernon.

  • Jazz band and combo earn gold at ISSMA Jazz Festival!

    Congratulations to our jazz band and jazz combo! Both groups received gold ratings March 2 at the ISSMA Jazz Festival at Whiteland Community High School. The smaller combo competed in Group II; the full band competed in Group III.

    Junior Nate Davis received an Outstanding Soloist award for his tenor saxophone performance with the jazz combo. Also, all soloists in the full jazz band received Outstanding Soloist awards: senior Andrew Roembke on trumpet (twice), Nate Davis (two more times), sophomore Carlie Sanders on trumpet, senior Jacob Chaves on trombone, and senior Nathan Williams on drums. Thank you, Gabriel Harley, for all your hard work with the students!

    Above: Jazz students show off their gold awards and Outstanding Soloist ribbons.

  • Positions available on Music Booster board

    It’s that time of year again when the Mt. Vernon Music Boosters look for talent to fill their ranks. This time, it’s particularly urgent because many parents heading up various roles will be leaving at the end of the school year as their senior band students graduate.

    The Music Boosters are taking nominations for executive board positions. Anyone who wants to serve in an executive position must nominate him/herself.

    The Boosters also want to hear from parents who are interested in serving as coordinators for various activities. Keep reading for those roles…

    Executive Board

    Members of the executive board, along with the band director, meet before every booster meeting to discuss confidential information and upcoming calendar events, and to vote on changes to the budget or other financial information:

    • President
    • Vice President
    • Secretary (need two)
    • Treasurer (need two)

    “We are now accepting nominations for any executive board position,” said Kyra Davis, current booster president. All positions are open for nomination, but the secretary and treasurer positions are being vacated by parents with graduating seniors. Mrs. Davis said that all nominations must be made to the nominating committee by the person interested in running for an office.

    The nominating committee consists of Mrs. Davis, Christy Stiff, Erin Flick, Amanda Froneck, Kellie McGowan, and Lynn Schreiner.

    An election for all nominees will take place at the April 2 board meeting (at 7 p.m. in the music room across the hall from the band room).

    Coordinator Positions

    These members coordinate various activities and work with other members of the Music Boosters to help make the band experience an enjoyable one for the students and the director. Often, coordinators will team up with other coordinators to execute large events, such as Snow Whirl and any color guard or musical events Mt. Vernon hosts.

    “In addition to several vacancies on the executive board—notably, the treasurer and secretary positions—there are also many committees that need coordinators due to the large number of parents of seniors that will not be with us next year,” Mrs. Davis said. Many of the current coordinators who are vacating their roles (as noted in each description) are available to mentor new people into those roles.

    • Communications Coordinator: This person is responsible for creating a monthly newsletter, updating the band blog at mvhsmusic.org, updating the band’s social media outlets, and contacting newspapers regarding upcoming events. This person also will work with the Historian/Photographer. The parent in this role has a senior and will be leaving the role at the end of the school year.

    • Equipment Coordinator: This person will be responsible for knowing all equipment needed and orchestrating the arrangement and movement of all equipment whenever the MVHS band programs travel for an event. This includes but is not limited to overseeing the loading and unloading of equipment on the trailers, identifying crew for moving equipment, and designating assistants to move and handle any equipment. Equipment includes instrumentation as well as props for shows and performances. The parent in this role has a senior and will be leaving the role at the end of the school year.
    • Fundraising Coordinator: This person will be responsible for organizing and overseeing all fundraising events for all MVHS band programs. All fundraising efforts should be clearly documented.
    • Historian/Photographer: This person will be available to photograph MVHS band program events, gather photos from other parents, and maintain an archive of photos. This person also will work with the Communications Coordinator to get photos included with the newsletter, band blog, social media, band yearbook, and local newspaper. The parent in this role has a senior and will be leaving the role at the end of the school year.

    • Hospitality Coordinator: This person will work with a team (as well as with other appropriate coordinators, as needed) to organize meals for students for the following:

               *  Full-day rehearsals, including July Band Camp, Saturdays during the
                   school year, and Fall Break full-rehearsal days
               *  Competition days
               *  Post-performance at competitions (the “chuck wagon”)
               *  Post-season band banquet

               This person is also responsible for assisting with the planning of hospitality
               and concession needs of any events sponsored by the MVHS band program,
               including marching band invitational, winter guard competitions, and
               indoor percussion competitions. This person is also responsible for
               planning and executing the ice cream social at the end of June Band Camp
               and the Sip-n-See at the end of July Band Camp.

    • IMS Coordinator: This person will work with Indianapolis Motor Speedway representatives and the Volunteer Coordinator to organize My Fair Share and additional participant work hours.
    • Scrip Coordinator: This person will maintain band accounts for the scrip fundraiser and assist in participant orders. This person will manage and plan weekly pickup times for orders at a designated location. The parent in this role has a senior and will be leaving the role at the end of the school year.
    • Snow Whirl Chairperson: This person will work with the choir representative to form teams to develop plans for and execute the annual Snow Whirl dance according to a predetermined theme. This person will work with other coordinators to manage teams for setup, chaperones, and tear down, as well as any donations and assistance needed.
    • Spirit/Social Coordinator: This person will be responsible for organizing music apparel/gear sales. This person will help decorate lockers and the music hallway, as well as organize goody bags for the last marching band competition of the season. This person also will help with “spirit” activities for competitions. This person will assist the Hospitality Coordinator with the planning and execution of the June ice cream social and the July Sip-N-See.
    • Sponsorship/Grant Coordinator: This person will organize sponsorship outreach, which involves contacting businesses/organizations for sponsorships or donations. This can involve mailing, cold calling, and possibly exploring grant opportunities. All communication attempts for sponsorships should be clearly documented.

    • Uniform Coordinator: This person will oversee the fitting of uniforms (and documentation of uniform sizes and pieces assigned), slight repairs, and the cleaning of uniforms. This person will keep a sign-in/out sheet for removal of uniforms by anyone other than the student for performances. Sections will be divided into no more than 10 uniforms per person for laundering and will be done on rotation. The Music Boosters will supply dye- and perfume-free detergent for washing as well as directions for washing and drying uniforms. This person will also oversee the fitting of marching shoes and shakos. This person will be responsible for ensuring that someone at all uniformed performances is available to help with on-site troubleshooting and repairs. The parent in this role has a senior and will be leaving the role at the end of the school year.
    • Volunteer Coordinator: This person will work with several other coordinators to coordinate and identify volunteers for any MVHS band program events, including—but not limited to—chaperones, fundraising events, meals, and any other activity requested by the executive board. This person will also coordinate the procurement and updating of criminal background checks for all volunteers. The parent in this role has a senior and will be leaving the role at the end of the school year.
  • King, queen candidates announced for Snow Whirl

    Every year for the past 30+ years, the music department (band + choir) has hosted Snow Whirl, a themed dance held in the auxiliary gym. And every year, the bands and choirs nominate four senior boys and four senior girls to be finalists for Snow Whirl king and queen.

    The king and queen are crowned after a vote during the dance.

    This year's king candidates are Andrew Roembke, Matthew Rollo, Cody Smitley, and Patrick Watson. Cody Smitley is a choir member; the rest of the boys are in the Wind Ensemble.

    This year's queen candidates are Dakota Fisher, Holly Haney, Betsy McCleery, and Leah Peters. Dakota and Leah are choir members; Holly and Betsy are in the Wind Ensemble.

    Band and choir students also elected undergraduate princes and princesses:

    • Freshmen: Braden Westfall (choir) and Shiloh McFarland (band)
    • Sophomores: Emerson Bridgewater (choir) and Haley Merida (band)
    • Juniors: Jacob Crow (choir) and Dayton Jennings (band)

    Snow Whirl tickets are NOW on sale through Friday, Dec. 8, in the cafeteria during lunch period. Tickets cost $25 each. Snow Whirl itself is 8-11 p.m. Saturday, Dec. 9.

    This is the biggest fundraiser for the music department. Proceeds are divided between the bands and choirs.

  • Chinese educators visit band room

    Yesterday, two out-of-town visitors watched the Wind Ensemble rehearse. These visitors were educators from Anshan, China, touring the school to see if they wanted to send exchange students to stay with Mt. Vernon families.

    "The educators have been very impressed with our school," said Mr. Roach, MVHS principal. "They think our teachers and students work hard and are well organized. They have visited some classrooms that are very different than how students are educated in China."

    More information on this visit will appear in the December issue of Musical Notes.

    Two Chinese educators listen in on a Wind Ensemble rehearsal.

  • MVHS students to perform with All-District Honor Band

    Next weekend, 11 MVHS students will perform at the Indiana Bandmasters Association's 18th annual All-District Honor Band Festival.

    The students were selected to participate in the festival after they applied to be in the band back in August. They learned of their selection a few weeks ago.

    The following students—many of the seniors—were selected for the All-District Honor Band: Mary Barnett (12), alto saxophone; Emily Bostrom (12), tenor saxophone; Ethan Cottrell (9), euphonium; Jacob Daswani (12), trombone; Erin Dunn (12), flute and piccolo; Grace Miller (12), percussion; Tara Paarlberg (12), clarinet; Carlie Sanders (10), trumpet; Nikki Schreiner (12), flute; Lauren Vest (12), flute; and Patrick Watson (12), percussion. Last year, only three MVHS students performed with the band.

    The IBA's All-District Honor Band Festival for high-school students opens with a day of rehearsals Saturday at nine different sites around Indiana (the Mt. Vernon students will be at New Castle High School). The band at each site will perform a free concert, open to the public, at 4 p.m. Sunday. Among the songs the band will perform is one commissioned by the IBA for the 2017 festival: "Divertimento for Winds and Percussion" by Ryan Fraley.

    The guest conductor for the All-District Band at New Castle will be Dr. Vu Nguyen, director of bands at the University of Indianapolis.

  • 8th-graders chosen for All-Region Honor Band

    This weekend, 12 students from the 8th Grade Academy will be performing at the Indiana Bandmasters Association's 37th annual All-Region Honor Band Festival.

    The 12 were selected to participate in the festival after they applied to be in the band back in August. They learned of their selection a few weeks ago.

    The following 8th-graders were selected for the All-Region Honor Band: Ella Adams, flute; Daimon Anderson, tuba; Madeline Black, trumpet; Tara Callahan, oboe; Brielle Colter, tenor saxophone; Alexis Gebhart, bass clarinet; Collin Gregory, clarinet; Luke Huff, trombone; Katherine Johnson, flute; Kailee Monroe, clarinet; Ryan Moran, percussion; and Noah Rado, clarinet.

    The IBA's All-Region Honor Band Festival for middle-school students opens with a day of rehearsals Saturday at 14 different sites around Indiana (the Mt. Vernon students will be at Greenfield-Central High School). The band at each site will perform a free concert, open to the public, at 4 p.m. Sunday.

    The guest conductor for the All-Region Honor Band at Greenfield-Central will be John Morse, director of bands at Greenwood High School.

  • Band ends season in the Top 10 at Scholastic Class finals

    Band ends season in the Top 10 at Scholastic Class finals

    The Band of Marauders finished in the Top 10 (out of 17 bands) in Class A at the ISSMA Scholastic Class state finals Oct. 21 at Lawrence Central High School.

    Under ISSMA rules, only Top 5 bands can brag about their specific placement because their rank was announced publicly.

    Overall, it was a good ending to the marching season, and Mr. Ellinger was pleased with the band's performance--and with the large trophy that each band in the finals received. "The students had a very special, memorable day on Saturday and ended it with the best show of the season," he said. "I am very grateful to work with such talented students. Ending in the top 10 is a testament to their hard work!"

    Below: At the finals, the ISSMA asks the seniors of each band to gather on the field for the awards ceremony. This year, the Band of Marauders has 20 seniors.



  • Band gets into #TheZone8 for pep rally, evening news

    Band gets into #TheZone8 for pep rally, evening news

    Like last year's marching season, the Band of Marauders received some TV exposure by performing on WISH-TV Channel 8.

    This year before heading downtown to the studio, the entire band performed for WISH-TV's Anthony Calhoun and the cameras at a tailgate party sponsored by #TheZone8, WISH-TV's news and sports program. The band performed in front of Marauder Stadium before the football team's opening sectional game vs. Shelbyville Oct. 20, and then headed back to the practice lot to continue rehearsing for ISSMA Scholastic Class finals. (The band did not perform during halftime.)

    Later that night, a small group of band members headed to WISH-TV's studio to perform intermittently between 10:45-11:30 p.m. Yes, a late night before the ISSMA Scholastic Class finals...

  • Now the whole school will know...

    Mr. Ellinger, now in his fourth year as director of the Band of Marauders, is incredibly proud of the band's accomplishments. He's so proud, over the summer he requested that the band's ISSMA All-Music Award banners be posted in the school's main hallway.

    Now when students return at the end of Fall Break, they will see these banners right outside the cafeteria.

    "I want to showcase the band's accomplishments to anyone in the main hallway," Mr. Ellinger said. "Mr. Roach [the principal] was happy to approve this!"

    The Indiana State School Music Association (ISSMA) designates All-Music Awards to school bands that earn gold ratings at the following three ISSMA events:

    • A marching band event: Because the Band of Marauders received a gold rating at the Scholastic Class A preliminaries Oct. 7, it has already started the process to earn another All-Music Award for this school year.
    • Jazz Festival: This past school year, the jazz band received a gold rating in Group II.
    • Organizational Festival: This past school year, both the Wind Ensemble and the Symphonic Band received gold ratings.

    ISSMA also requires that bands have at least one soloist and one ensemble advance to the State Solo & Ensemble contest. Mt. Vernon had five ensembles and 17 soloists qualify for the state finals by earning gold ratings in Group I at the district ISSMA competition Feb. 4.

    If the band fulfills the other three requirements this year, it will receive the All-Music Award for the third year straight. And room is available under the other banners to accommodate that award.