This is a post I started writing three years ago! At that time, I was finishing a year that included a few fun accomplishments:
My school hosted a small solo & ensemble festival for the third time
I directed and played in the pit for a great production of Guys and Dolls
Our jazz band won their class at the Eau Claire Jazz Festival
Our concert band finished the year having learned a new piece every week
As I think back on these accomplishments and others, it is clear that most of them would not have happened without sticking around at the same place. I just completed my 12th year at St. Croix Prep, and some amazing things have happened. It wouldn’t have been possible without supportive administration, colleagues, and families! Here is a short comparison of 2007 to 2019.
Beginning band included 29 students in 5th and 6th grades
Our first instrument purchase was a xylophone, and the only instruments owned by the school were a banged up cornet and beginner level drum set
The band rehearsed in a gigantic church sanctuary and the lobby of an abandoned eye clinic
The band music library went from 0 pieces to 9, plus several pieces I wrote specifically for the bands that year
The 5th-grade band of 2019–2020 has 40+ students
We have a full percussion section and are within about $25k of finishing a multi-year plan for a complete instrument inventory (at least for large instruments, like tuba, bassoon, etc.)
We have a band room!
There are over 300 titles in the Concert Band library, over 100 for jazz, plus a decent assortment of music for our pep band binders
There is more to reflect on later, but for now, I’m thankful for what we have achieved!