Bison Bands Fall Newsletter

November 2020

Band Family Updates

Dear Parents, Guardians, Friends, and Families:

I hope this newsletter finds you happy, healthy, and SANE!

In case you were unaware, November is National Gratitude Month. Parents and guardians, I wanted to take a moment to share with how much I appreciate your continued support. The instruments, the lessons, carpool, reeds, sticks, etc... You do so much for your children, and I am confident that it seems underappreciated and overlooked, but I assure you it is not.

Students, I am so grateful for your efforts, your spirit, and your musicianship; but more importantly, I am most grateful and impressed with your perseverance. This situation is not what you signed up for, and the fact that you come to class or rehearsal every time ready to learn and grow is a testament to your grit. This will pay you dividends of great success long into your future.

While this fall has not been typical, we feel that the activities, events, projects, and lessons have continued to provide the best possible music education during remote learning. From Hero Projects to Friday Family Performances, we hope that students have been able to find the musical blessings that exist in these difficult times.

At some point, this will end, and we will return to normal and we will once again make music in the classroom and on the stage or field together. We will be able to look each other in the eye and show the appreciation for the spirit, enthusiasm, and grit we all deserve. Until then, please let this message serve as my personal, "Thank you" and acknowledgement of our National Month of Gratitude.

Please read this entire newsletter as there is some great news about what our students have been doing. Most importantly, please be sure to check out the Bandarama Showcase video that has long been in the making.


Garett George


ILMEA District 1 Honor Band

Every fall, over 2000 music students from across Chicagoland prepare a rigorous audition for the esteemed Illinois Music Education Association honor ensembles and festivals. After the audition, only the best musicians are chosen to participate in the district festival. This district festival also may qualify them for participation at the state level.

On Saturday, November 21, Anna Micor represented Fenton at the ILMEA District 1 Honor Band. Anna qualified on both flute and piccolo; a feat rarely experienced! Anna was also named first chair piccolo for the entire District 1 band auditions! Congratulations Anna!

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Fenton Faces

The Fenton Bison Bands were proud to nominate Ariana Hurtado as our Music Department first quarter Fenton Face! Ariana is on our band student leadership team and serves as the Band Ambassador/Publicist. She has done a tremendous job promoting the bands throughout the fall and is very savvy with social media. Ariana always finds the right words to promote students in a positive way! She is a great example for all of our students. Congratulations Ariana!
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Fenton Jazz

The Fenton Jazz Bands have gotten underway with the season starting on October 27th with our Jazz Boot Camp. Since then, we have been meeting every Tuesday evening from 4:30-6:00 PM. Click here to see the list of students in the jazz bands.

Thank you goes out to the Bensenville Arts Council for supporting our guest artists for the Boot Camp!

Private Lesson Scholarships

Each year, the Fenton Music Boosters provide $1000.00 in private lesson scholarships for band students to use to further their growth on their instrument. Students have the chance to apply by completing the application. We are very grateful to have the opportunity to share this scholarship again this year. Thank you Music Boosters for your generosity!

Bison Chamber Band

The Fenton Bison Chamber Band is made up of students who choose to pursue learning their instrument in a traditional band setting. These students are grouped into small groups or "chamber" ensembles. From there, they work together to build ensemble and instrumental skills in a more intimate level. This ensemble is comprised of freshmen through seniors.

Be sure to check out the video later in this newsletter to hear and see some of the small ensembles that students created this fall!

John Bruce Yeh visits Concert Band rehearsal

Last Friday, November 20th, Clarinetist John Bruce Yeh of the Chicago Symphony Orchestra, visited with our Concert Band students. During his visit, Mr. Yeh talked about the music of the concert that the students previously watched. He also answered questions from the students and shared some of his experiences from his 44 year career with the CSO.
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Marching Bison Band

The Fenton Marching Bison Band is made up of students who choose to pursue learning their instrument in a marching band setting. These students work on a unique halftime show, pregame show music, and pep band tunes. They also work on marching fundamentals throughout the season.

Unfortunately, we weren't able to march for any performances this year, but we were able to meet in person outside at Fenton and maintain a socially distant rehearsal! You can see some images below of that experience.

Be sure to check out the video later in this newsletter to hear and see some of the Marching Bison Band from the season.

Hero Projects

Students in all ensembles learned about their musical heroes this quarter through our "Hero" project. In this project, students selected their own musical heroes and did biographical research on them. Students focused on who influenced their artist, song examples of their artist, and how their artist has shaped society. The picture below showcases all Bison Band Musical Heroes.
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Virtual Band Classes & Practicing

In order to keep our student musicians in tip top shape, there are a few things that need to happen at home while we are in virtual learning.

One of these is that all students should be practicing their music for 20 minutes five times a week outside of class. Normally, students would get a lot of this practice time in during class; however, due to our remote situation, this is not possible. Parents and guardians, you can help encourage your child to do this by asking them to play for you from time to time. They have holiday music that would brighten up anyone's home. Everyone should be noticing some music playing in the home.

Additionally, even though we are at home, we please ask that all students refrain from eating, drinking, or chewing gum during band class or instrumental music practice. Musical instruments do not respond well to the residues of food, drink, or gum. Students, remember that "nacho cheese is the enemy." :)

Thank you for your support!

Bandarama Showcase Video

Please click on the video below to check out our Bandarama Showcase Video.

In this video, you will hear the members of the Bison Chamber Band perform their small ensembles, meet our band student leadership team, meet our Marching Bison Band seniors, and see the Marching Bison Band from their in-person rehearsals.

If the video doesn't work for some reason, please click here for a Youtube version. This video will be available for a month on Youtube.

In Closing...

We are very grateful to be able to continue learning and making music during the pandemic. Our students have been a tremendous source of inspiration for each other and their teachers! We are all so lucky to be able to get together, learn about music, share a laugh, and grow as a band family.

Be on the lookout in late December for another showcase of our students and the work they've been doing with their holiday music.

Please feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions or concerns. I hope you and your family have a relaxing, restful, safe, and grateful Thanksgiving.

Musically yours,

Garett George


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