Saturday, July 25, 2020


I have been actively following both the COVID-19 numbers for Cook and surrounding counties and the weather for next week.

I follow several official Coronavirus trackers, and all of them are showing that COVID-19 numbers are still on the rise in Cook County, and that the percentage of infection is as high or higher than many counties surrounding us. Over the last few weeks, as I have tried to plan what our band camp would look like, I have been on several Zoom calls with band directors from counties in our area. Some directors are having band camp with a few restrictions, some are having band camp with many restrictions, and some have cancelled band camp completely depending on their bands' size, local COVID-19 infection rates, and their facilities. I know how important band camp is to our students, and how we're all looking forward to trying to get back to something as "normal" as possible, so I decided to set a number of strong restrictions and go forward with camp while still monitoring.

As I said in a previous post, I am following the guidelines from the NFSHA, GMEA, and GHSA, and at the current time they recommend only outside rehearsal if we're playing instruments. The weather is therefore important, because they recommend cancelling practice if there is the possibility of rain. Currently, there is a 50% or higher chance of rain for every day that we have scheduled camp this coming week.

Because of both infection numbers and weather, I've decided to postpone camp for a week to August 3rd - 6th. I currently plan to follow the same divided schedule that was posted for this week if/when we meet. Over the course of this coming week, I plan to work on some newly available safety measures and continue to monitor numbers and weather. I know that this may be inconvenient for some of you who have made plans based on camp being this coming week, and I'm really sorry for that, but as always the health and safety of everyone is my first priority.

Sunday, July 19, 2020

Be Prepared for Band Camp!

Most importantly, you must follow all the procedures and regulations from my previous post that addresses the COVID-19 pandemic. Please review them and follow all of them. With Rookie Camp & VU reporting this week and everyone else the following week, I wanted to put up a post to remind you about "normal" precautions for Band Camp/band practices.

First, make sure you've eaten something healthy during the day before coming to practice. If you don't eat, you will get weak and/or nauseous. Your body is like a car, and food is the fuel. If your car runs out of gas, it stops, same with your body!

Second, even though we practice in the afternoon & early evening, it's going to be HOT. As a reminder, we aren't allowed to provide water buckets and cups, so please remember to bring your own water bottle. You must stay hydrated, and the heat and humidity will pull it out of you before you realize it. Avoid soft drinks with caffeine; drink water, Gatorade, or Powerade.

Third, please dress appropriately. Wear lightweight clothing, including shorts, t-shirts, TENNIS SHOES (no sandals or flip flops), sunglasses and hats. Wear sunscreen if you need it. Wear light colors, because dark colors attract light and make you feel hotter, light colors reflect light and make you feel cooler.

The three rules for Band Camp and every band practice are:
  1. EAT
  2. DRINK
  3. DRESS
We will meet at the practice field behind the school and leave from there at the end of practice, so no one needs to go to the band room this week. The practice field is behind the school on the opposite end from the stadium, beside the new tennis courts (same as last year). Parents who drop off are reminded to wait until your child has been screened before leaving, and asked to be prompt for pick up at the end. Rookies will not need their instrument Tuesday & Wednesday of this week for Rookie Camp, we will be concentrating on marching only. Because Eric won't be able to be with us this year, only percussion rookies will meet this week from 5p-7p, full percussion will not meet this week, but will begin Monday 7/27 with the full band.

While so much is going to be different this year, we'll try our best to do what we always do... MAKE IT WORK!

Monday, July 13, 2020

Band Camp Procedures & Regulations

We have developed a set of procedures and regulations for Band Camp based on recommendations from the CDC, the Georgia Music Educators Association, the National Federation of State High School Associations Music Committee, and the Georgia High School Association. Things will be quite different, but we’re going to make it work as best as we can.

Our number one priority is the health and safety of all students, parent chaperones, and staff. The following procedures and regulations are not up for debate and are non-negotiable. If anyone violates any of the procedures, we will immediately shut down Band Camp and cancel any remaining time.

  • If you are choosing to do the Virtual Program from home through CHS or CMS this semester, you can still be a part of the Marching Hornets and attend Band Camp, after-school practices, & performances. If you are being home schooled, you will not be able to participate in band this school year.
  • If you are showing any COVID-19 symptoms or have been exposed to anyone who is sick or has had a positive test within 14 days, you are NOT TO ATTEND PRACTICE. If you are unsure of the symptoms, please click here or go to the CDC website for the current list. If you can not attend practice, please contact us by email, Remind message, or Facebook message (no calls please, we need something in writing), and we will continue to hold your spot. If you are not having any symptoms and have not been exposed to anyone who is sick or with a positive COVID-19 test, please DO attend all rehearsals.
  • Due to state and GHSA regulations, we are limited to a maximum of 50 participants, so we are modifying the schedule and splitting up the group. All practices will be held at our practice field. We will be using the same field as last year, which is behind the school on the opposite end of the campus from the new stadium.
    • Week 1: Tuesday July 21st and Wednesday July 22nd Rookies & Officers 5p-7p
      Visual Unit 7p-9p
    • Week 2: Monday July 27th through Thursday July 30th Mon. 7/27: Woodwinds/VU 5p-7p, Brass/Percussion 7p-9p.
      Tue. 7/28: Brass & Percussion 5p-7p, Woodwinds/VU 7p-9p
      Wed. 7/29: Side 1 5p-7p, Side 2 7p-9p
      Thu. 7/20: Side 2 5p-7p, Side 1 7p-9p
    • SIDE 1 and SIDE 2 will be determined on Monday 7/27 & Tuesday 7/28 BRASS = trumpet, mellophone, trombone, baritone, tenor/bari sax, bass clarinet, and tuba. WOODWIND = flute, clarinet, alto sax, and mallets.
  • We will be entering the building as little as possible, so we will not be utilizing the instrument storage room in the band room. The only students allowed in the building will be those who play larger school-owned instruments such as tuba and percussion, and then only 2 students at a time. Other students will bring their instrument from home and take it back when we are done and not store it in the building. There is to be NO SHARING of any equipment at any time for any reason. 
  • Students should come directly to the practice field at the beginning of practice and leave directly from the practice field at the end. Students will be temperature screened upon arrival, and any student with a temperature of 100.4° or higher will not be allowed to stay at practice and will need to leave campus immediately. Parents who drop students off are required to wait until their child has been screened before leaving.
  • Masks will be required before practice, after practice, and during breaks, and must be worn properly by covering both your mouth and nose. Students will be placed on the field at 4 step intervals for rehearsal, and once you are in your rehearsal spot, you may remove your mask during practice time as long as you stay in your spot. 
  • You must keep a 6 foot distance from others at all times.
  • You must bring your own water bottle, as we are not allowed to provide water buckets and cups. Water fountains and drink/snack machines will be unplugged and off limits. 
  • We will have as much hand sanitizer available as possible, but you are encouraged to bring your own.
  • Do not arrive more than 10 minutes early to practice, and you must depart the campus within 10 minutes of the end of practice. We will end on time, so parents must be punctual for student pick up.
  • Students should use the restroom at home before coming to the school, as restrooms will be available ONLY for emergency needs, and no more than two students at a time while maintaining a distance of 6 feet.
  • In the event of rain, camp will be cancelled or immediately dismissed. Parents should stay aware of the weather, as well as being connected to us through Remind, Facebook, or Twitter for updates.

(Edited 7/20 to remove percussion from the "Week 1".)

Sunday, July 12, 2020

Brief Update on Band Camp & Officers

This is just a brief update regarding Band Camp and officers.

I told you in the last update that we may have to make modifications to the schedule, and that is definitely now the case. I have also put together a list of restrictions and guidelines that we will strictly follow for safety. I know that Band Camp is just over a week away, and I haven't yet posted the schedule & guidelines, but not only has the situation been fluid and developing over the last couple of weeks, but I also want to get administrator approval to assure that we are within state & local standards. I will follow up with a detailed post as soon as I get the go-ahead from administrators (hopefully tomorrow, Monday 7/13).

I have gone through all of the officer applications, and Mr. Fortner and I have gone through all of the Drum Major submissions, so that information is ready to be posted. I plan to make that info live tomorrow on the website's Awards & Officers page, and I will send out a Remind/Facebook/Twitter message when it is online.

Positive numbers appear to be growing rapidly in Cook County, so remember to keep your distance, wear a mask, and wash and sanitize your hands!

Band Camp & Regular Practice Schedule

I'm still planning to go forward with Band Camp this week, but, because of in-person and virtual Open House on Tuesday & Wednesday a...