First Colonial Band Notes

March 15, 2021

Letter from the Director

Greetings FC Band Family,

It has been wonderful having so many students back for face to face instruction over the past three weeks! Our students have done a remarkable job adjusting to being back in the building following all of the protocols to keep everyone safe & ensuring we will remain face to face. We have been making progress in person & at home working to put together a spring concert in just a few months (more details below). As conditions continue to improve, we have been able to offer many of our normal extracurricular & cocurricular ensembles to allow our students the opportunity to make music with the peers & experience what we have been missing over the past year. Make sure to check out all of the information below about our ensembles & events we have planned for our band program this spring.

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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Chamber Ensembles

With VBCPS updating the performing arts guidelines, we are excited to be offering several chamber ensembles for our students that wish to learn & rehearse music in a face to face setting. Currently, we have 3 ensembles that are meetings outside of school working to prepare music for our spring concert:

  • Advanced Concert Ensemble
  • Intermediate Concert Ensemble
  • Jazz Band

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

Advanced Concert

3/13 2-5pm

3/27 9am-12pm

4/17 9am-12pm

5/1 9am-12pm

5/8 2-5pm

Intermediate Concert

3/12 2:30-4:30pm

3/26 2:30-4:30pm

4/23 2:30-4:30pm

5/8 2-5pm

Jazz Band

3/19 2:30-4:30pm

4/2 2:30-4:30pm

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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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 class is currently working on 2 pieces & each chamber ensemble is also working on 2 pieces to perform at this event. As of today, the spring concert program includes:

  • A Cool Ocean Breeze (Jazz Band)
  • Get With It (Jazz Band)
  • Miles High (Jazz Band)
  • Joy (Concert Band)
  • Into the Clouds (Concert Band)
  • Vanishing Point (Wind Ensemble)
  • March from First Suite in Eb (Wind Ensemble)
  • Seventeen Come Sunday (Intermediate Concert Ensemble)
  • Folk Songs from Somerset (Intermediate Concert Ensemble)
  • Havana Nights (Advanced Concert Ensemble)
  • Vesuvius (Advanced Concert Ensemble)
  • Higuita! (Percussion Ensemble)

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. Each student will be required to select which option they are choosing in April.

Spectators for this event are allowed & will be required to RSVP with headcounts so we can follow all VBCPS guidelines for spacing & spectator size. More information will be available in April regarding this.

Dress rehearsal & concert dates will be finalized & announced once the spring VHSL schedule has been posted.

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Marching Band Update - 3/15

Given the current restrictions by VBCPS, we are modifying our plan for spring marching band. Currently, bands are allowed to move OR play---but not at the same time. Colorguard units are not allowed to perform choreography at this time. Due to this, instead of an attempt at a short competitive season, we will be focusing on the 2021-2022 Marching Patriots by holding several camps & workshops this spring. Our current goal is to have guard & drumline workshops later in the spring (May/June), as well as leadership training & auditions for the 2021-2022 Marching Patriots prior to the end of the school year.

While we are disappointed in not having a spring season as originally planned, we feel that attempting a season under the current circumstances would not be the positive experience we know marching band should be for our students.

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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: Monday, April 12th

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.

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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*

*Indicates parts we are still looking for interested students.

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 if needed. The full tentative rehearsal schedule can be found here.

RSVPs are enabled for this event.

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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 April Meeting

Tuesday, April 13th, 6pm

This is an online event.

We will hold our monthly meeting on Tuesday, April 13th at 6pm via Zoom. The meeting invite is linked below:

April FCBB Meeting - Zoom Invite

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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