First Colonial Band Notes

April 14th, 2021

Letter from the Director

Greetings FC Band Family,

I am so proud of all of the hard work our students have put in over the past several weeks. We are entering the busiest time of the year so far, with the chamber ensembles, jazz band, pit orchestra, & leadership training all underway. In this newsletter there is a ton of important information regarding the Spring Concert & other important upcoming events----please make every effort to read everything carefully so nothing is missed. We are also beginning our much needed spring cookie dough fundraiser---please help us out if at all possible as we push to reach our goal of at least 500 boxes ($3,000 profit) to help fund our many programs for the students.

Musically Yours,

Luke Walker

Director of Bands

Tri-M Music Honor Society Advisor

Performing Arts Department Chair

PBIS Team Leader

First Colonial High School

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Spring Concert

We are excited to announce that we will be holding a live, face to face, spring concert this year. With the update in COVID guidelines by Virginia & VBCPS, we are able to offer this opportunity to our Option1 & 2 students. Each student is required to select the option that best works for their family (in person concert or virtual option). The survey to make this selection has been posted in Schoology & can also be accessed here. Students must sign in using their school email addresses to access the form.

Students have the option of performing face to face for this concert or submitting a full recording of their assigned music to receive credit for this unit.

Spectators for this event are allowed & will be required to RSVP with headcounts so we can follow all VBCPS guidelines for spacing & spectator size. Each student will be given an allotment of tickets in May.

Concert Date: Thursday, May 13th at 7pm (6pm call time for students)

Dress Rehearsal Date: Tuesday, May 11th from 2:30-4:30pm

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Spring Fundraiser

To help raise funds for all of our programs, we will be doing a cookie dough fundraiser in April.

Fundraiser Kickoff: Wednesday, April 14th

Fundraiser Deadline: Friday, April 30th

Fundraiser Delivery to FC: Tuesday, May 11th at 1pm (Can be picked up 2-6pm)

The funds raised will be used to help cover the costs of:

  • End of Year Awards
  • Senior Recognition
  • Startup Funds for 2021-2022
  • Curricular Ensembles (music, reeds, new equipment, guest clinicians, audition fees, etc.)
  • Cocurricular Ensembles (music, copyright fees, instructional staff, competition fees)

Our goal as a band is to sell 500 units of cookie dough, which will give us approximately $3,000 in profit.

Orders can be placed online as well this year by following the link here.

If ordering online, you will need to use the FC Band Agreement Code: K4Q5BJ9Q8K

Make sure to include the student you are sponsoring with your order at the end.

Please note--all orders are still shipped to FCHS & must be picked up on May 11th between 2-7pm.

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Spring Musical Pit Orchestra - Interest Meeting

Wednesday, April 14th, 2:30pm

This is an online event.

We are excited to be collaborating with the Patriot Playhouse, FC Orchestra, & FC Chorus for our spring musical. Together, we will be putting on "Shrek the Musical" June 3-6. For the musical, we are in need of musicians to fill the following books:

  • Piccolo
  • Flute
  • Clarinet
  • Bass Clarinet
  • Soprano Sax
  • Alto Sax
  • Tenor Sax
  • Bari Sax
  • Trumpet
  • Horn
  • Trombone
  • Drumset
  • Percussion 1
  • Percussion 2
  • Bass (Electric & Upright)
  • Guitar 1
  • Guitar 2
  • Keyboard 1
  • Keyboard 2

An interest meeting will be held on Wednesday, April 14th at 2:30pm in the band room (and Zoom) for all interested students. Auditions will be due by April 19th at noon. The full rehearsal schedule can be found here.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

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Chamber Ensembles

Currently, we have 3 ensembles that are meetings outside of school working to prepare music for our spring concert. Each ensemble has already met at least once & we had a wonderful time making music together. As of now, the ensembles are currently preparing:

Advanced Concert Ensemble

  • Havana Nights, Randall Standridge
  • Vesuvius, Frank Ticheli

Intermediate Concert Ensemble

  • Seventeen Come Sunday, Ralph Vaughan Williams
  • Folk Songs from Somerset, Ralph Vaughan Williams

Jazz Band

  • A Cool Ocean Breeze, Bob Turner

Each group rehearses every other week & follows all of the VBCPS COVID Guidelines. Rehearsal schedules can be found below.

Advanced Concert

4/17 9am-12pm

5/1 9am-12pm

5/8 2-5pm

Intermediate Concert

4/23 2:30-4:30pm

5/8 2-5pm

Jazz Band

4/16 2:30-4:30pm

4/30 2:30-4:30pm

5/7 2:30-4:30pm

Dress rehearsal & concert dates will be finalized & announced as soon as we received the VHSL Spring Sports schedule.

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Marching Band 2021-2022 Season

We are excited to begin looking towards the 2021-2022 Marching Patriots season. Some important dates to keep in mind:

Tuesday, May 18th @ 7pm, 2021-2022 Band Information Meeting

Tuesday, June 15th Marching Band Deposit & Commitment Forms due

For students interested in being a member of the Marching Patriots Drumline (Pit + Battery) & Colorguard, we will have several spring workshops on:

  • Tuesday, June 8th from 2:30-4:30pm
  • Wednesday, June 9th from 2:30-4:30pm
  • Thursday, June 10th from 2:30-4:30pm
  • Tuesday, June 15th from 5-8pm

For those students interested in a leadership position, we will have several training sessions followed by an interview/audition. The dates for those events are:

  • Monday, April 12th from 2-4pm, Leadership Workshop 1
  • Monday, April 19th from 2-4pm, Leadership Workshop 2
  • Monday, April 26th from 2-4pm, Leadership Workshop 3
  • Monday, May 3rd from 2-4pm, Leadership Workshop 4
  • Monday, May 10th from 2-5pm, Leadership Interviews & Auditions
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Parent Help Needed!

Our First Colonial Band Booster members do so much for our band students & program. From chaperoning, fundraising, building props, moving props, & always being there to support our students---they truly are the best. With June right around the corner, many of our FCBB members & FCBB Executive Board members "graduating" with their seniors, we are in need of several parents to step up & fill positions in our organization.

We are currently looking for:

  • General members (volunteers, chaperones, fundraiser helpers, etc)
  • Volunteer/Chaperone Coordinator
  • Uniform Coordinator
  • Fundraising Coordinator
  • Treasurer

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FCBB May Meeting

Tuesday, May 4th, 6pm

This is an online event.

We will hold our monthly meeting on Tuesday, May 4th at 6pm via Zoom. The meeting invite is linked below:

May FCBB Meeting

If you are a parent/grandparent/guardian/caregiver, you are invited to be a member of the First Colonial Band Boosters. Meetings are held monthly where we discuss program direction, fundraisers, student events, & much more. All are encouraged to participate & help make our program the best that it can be.

To join FCBB in Band, click here.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

Help Sessions

All students are encouraged to ask questions if a topic, concept, or piece of music is challenging to them. Students are also encouraged to attend sessions for help as needed. These sessions can include:

  • Office hours after school (2:00-2:30pm daily)
  • Tutoring sessions by appointment (after school)
  • Group sectionals as needed (after school)

We take pride as a band in helping each other achieve success. There is no shame or embarrassment in asking for help---we view this self-advocacy as a sign of maturity, professionalism, & as an indicator that you are driven to succeed. If you are a student that needs assistance in band, please feel comfortable reaching out to another band member or Mr. Walker for help. We want to see you be successful!


VBCPS has purchased SmartMusic accounts for all of our band students this year. We will be using SmartMusic as a tool (not the only tool) to assist in accessing music, gaining feedback from performing, & recording student performance. Each student should have set up their SmartMusic account in class on Tuesday, February 2nd---however we are still missing a few faces in each class. Information on joining SmartMusic is posted in Schoology for each band class. Join ASAP if you are not in---we have already had assignments in SmartMusic & will be using it daily moving forward.
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COVID Mitigation Strategies

With our students returning in just a few short weeks, I want to update everyone on what we will be doing to keep our students safe. All of these guidelines follow VBCPS, VDH, & CDC guidelines. These guidelines were developed in conjunction with numerous aerosol studies specific to wind instruments & singing.

  1. Social distancing: Students will be spaced a minimum of 6 feet while playing a wind instrument or singing. Trombones will be spaced 9 feet. (Notes: We are spaced more than 6 feet due to our available space. We are also facing the same direction in lines, no arcs or circles. This is not a requirement, but a suggestion we are able to follow).
  2. Personal Protective Equipment: Students will be provided a Musician Mask by FC. The Musician Mask is a special mask that has a slit/flaps in the middle that allow students to play their instruments while still wearing masks. An adapted version of this is specific to flutes/piccolos.
  3. Instrument Equipment: We have equipment specific to individual instruments that will be distributed to in person students. Brass players will be required to use a puppy training pad (pee pads) to empty all spit/condensation from their instruments (FCHS provided).
  4. Rehearsal Time: Our rehearsals will be limited to 30 minutes (when playing or singing) in length. At the end of the 30 minutes, we will vacate the area & allow the air to recirculate. This period will last for 5 minutes for outdoor rehearsals & 40 minutes for indoor rehearsals.
  5. Rehearsal Location: While not required, it is recommended that rehearsals are held outside when possible. Weather permitting (no precipitation, at least 40 degrees), we will do the majority of our playing outdoors.
  6. Assigned Seating: All teachers at FCHS will be assigning seats for contact tracing purposes.
  7. Pods: For ensembles that meet after school, students will be grouped into pods of 10 or less. Students will remain in these groupings for the duration of the after school ensembles.

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For all class related communication, we will be using the following methods of communication:

  1. Schoology & Schoology Messenger
  2. Remind (Concert Band: @fcbandcb21 , Wind Ensemble: @fcbandwe21)
  3. Email

For all cocurricular ensembles & other information relating to our program:

  1. BAND app (Marching Band, FCBB, Varsity Percussion, Chamber Ensembles)
  2. Website:
  3. Facebook Page:
  4. Instagram: @firstcolonialbands

For all communications, messages will be responded to as seen during school hours (6:45am-2:30pm). Office hours are available daily from 2:00-2:30pm. Mr. Walker's Planning Block is from 10:20-11:20am M-F.

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Grading Policies

All of the grading policies are posted in the Course Expectations for each class in Schoology, but there are a few points I would like to highlight:

  1. All assignments can be attempted multiple times prior to submission (Schoology, Flipgrid, SmartMusic, etc).
  2. Grading Dates: All work will be graded on Mondays, with progress reports being sent out weekly.
  3. Missing/Late Work: Assignments can be turned in past the posted due date, but a reduction of points will occur. The deadline for submissions will be posted prior to the end of each grading period. If you submit something late, it is your responsibility to notify Mr. Walker to make sure it is graded.

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