McMillen HS Band Boosters

October 2019

Big picture

Dear Band Parents,


Contest Season has begun!!! The directors and students have been working hard to learn the whole show and to get ready to perform.


Just as an FYI, please make plans to attend the UIL Marching Contest in Little Elm on October 19. The McMillen Band will perform at 12:45pm. You will not be able to be seated during a band performance. They chain the entrance to the stands while bands perform and only let spectators in and out in between performances. So come early, because if McMillen is already on the field, you won’t be let in. They run on time, so don’t be late! Your attendance and support makes a difference, to the band and to the judges. Be supportive and be visible!!


The percussion section already had a contest performance at the Plano Drum Line Contest (PDLC) on September 21. McMillen students (battery, front ensemble, drum majors, and soloists) performed wonderfully and represented McMillen and the McMillen Band with pride.


I would like to give a special shout out to Scott Conley. Scott’s daughter, Grace, is a freshman mellophone player in the McMillen Band. Scott gave up his Saturday morning on September 21 to chaperone the McMillen Band to PDLC even though he didn’t have a student performing that morning, since we needed volunteers. Scott’s older son is a percussionist with the PESH Band, so Scott had chaperoned PDLC before and was signed up to chaperone the PESH percussionists the afternoon of September 21, as well. Thank you to Scott for your all day support of the Eastside Drum lines in helping them to be successful at PDLC.


Thanks to all of you that have signed up to help with meals, uniforms, and chaperoning. If you are interested in volunteering for any upcoming events, there are spots still available for game day meals and uniforms. Please log into MTK and sign up. (mcmillenband.membershiptoolkit.com)


Make sure your volunteer application is up to date and approved. Go to https://www.pisd.edu/Page/1605 to fill it out today. It can take a couple days to get approved, but it only takes a few minutes to complete the form.


Scroll down, and read all about our Parent Spotlight for this month. This dad has a very interesting hobby that combines his technical abilities with his artistic talents.


Thanks to all of our band families! You are so wonderful in supporting your students to help them be successful. Thank you so much for being so GREAT!!


Looking forward to a great marching contest season!! If you have any questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.


Minoo Wille
McMillen High School Band Booster President, 2019-2020

Important Upcoming Dates

October 12 – Plano East Marching Invitational at Clark Stadium – Time: 12:30 pm and 5:45 pm

**October 15 – REQUIRED Stadium Rehearsal @ Kimbrough from 5pm – 7:30pm

October 16 – No morning rehearsal due to testing
October 19 – UIL Competition at Little Elm Athletic Complex – Time: 12:45pm

October 24 – Game vs. Clark at 7:00pm @ Clark Stadium
November 7 - Game vs. Williams at 7:00pm @ Kimbrough Stadium

Big picture
Big picture

Parent Spotlight

Gert ‘Jim’ Muller (a.k.a Speed)

I was told about Jim Muller and his model railroading hobby a couple weeks ago. Since my husband also likes trains, I thought why not make a visit? Boy, was I surprised and amazed by all that I saw! Jim is dad to Alissa Muller, sophomore clarinetist and band president, in the McMillen Band.


Jim is from Africa, Namibia to be exact. Namibia is located in southwestern Africa. His parents own a cattle ranch in Okahandja and that is where Jim grew up. His passion for trains started at a young age. When Jim was young, they only had electricity for 1 hour every evening by running a diesel generator. That was the only time they could watch TV and do whatever else required electricity. Other than that, the kids had to find other things to keep themselves busy and Jim developed an interest in modeling trains.


Walking in to the Muller home, you are greeted by a few ‘friends’. Jim’s parents’ cattle ranch doubles as a hunting area. So the Muller family exhibit a kudu, an oryx, and a white gnu (a.k.a white wildebeest), which Jim lovingly refers to a his ‘mother-in-law’. (She is always watching...)

On to the trains: Jim is building a scale model of the Namibian railway lines that span an area from the ocean, and inland to the east and north, including the area where he grew up. He calls it the TxNamib. (The ‘TX does not stand for Texas, as you might think it would, more like the transmit 232; yes, way over my head too.) He is replicating stations, rail yards, landscapes, buildings, etc, as you would see visiting Namibia. The layout has multiple levels and spans the entire game room. Jim has even installed a box car sliding door as the entrance to the layout (See photo above). Jim has spent the good part of the last 9 years designing and building the layout. He has a laser cutter and engraver that allow him to make many of the buildings and other structures at home. He has printed photos of the actual locations being modeled, so that he can replicate the areas as accurately as possible.

Even more amazing than the layout (and that is pretty impressive), is the control circuitry that Jim developed and installed to control EVERYTHING! He had RFID tags installed on all the cars and readers in the rails so that he knows where every train car is, to help decide where it needs to go. He wrote all the software, built all the microcontroller circuitry and even installed several tablets throughout the layout in order to control switches and train cars from anywhere. Jim is an electrical engineer, with a Master’s degree in software engineering, with a thesis titled: ‘Train Car Management System with RFID for Model Railroading’. All of Jim’s trains are meant to be run and operated. This is not a static display, but a moving, functional display for all to enjoy how real trains do move freight and passengers in a smaller scale.

Jim is currently preparing for a big operating event the first weekend in November. People from the model railroading community around Texas and beyond will be visiting DFW and will operate on layouts at various people’s homes in the area with operating layouts. Jim has a plethora of information about the history of the regions his model railroad covers, along with details on the model layout itself. Much more information than I can include here. But you can learn more about his layout and the region of Africa it covers by going to his website at www.TxNamib.com.


Jim wanted me to tell you that anyone with an interest in model trains or seeing his layout is more than welcome to come by. Just contact Jim at gertmul@gmail.com to set up a day and time. Believe me; it would be well worth your time and effort. He might even explain why the model railroaders call him Speed!


If you know of a band parent doing unusual, extraordinary, or funny things (inside or outside of band), please let me know, because they could be part of the next parent spotlight!