What's New in Instrumental Music

  • GMB Update 8/4/2020

    Posted by Quentin Dewitt on 8/4/2020

    Good evening everyone!


    Thank you to everyone for the great rehearsals today! Not only was it wonderful to work with you again, it was great to see the energy and focus that you brought. I also want to applaud you on how you followed protocols and gently encouraged and reminded each other when needed.


    As of 4:00 PM today, here is the schedule tomorrow along with what you will need to bring. All rehearsals will be outside.

    1. Woodwinds 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM
      1. Face masks & personal sanitizer
      2. Athletic clothes that allow you to do visual drills comfortably and safely.
      3. Instrument – when we play we will be spaced a minimum of 10 yards.
      4. Sun supplies (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen)
      5. Water – 1 gallon should suffice
    2. Brass 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM
      1. Face masks & personal sanitizer
      2. Athletic clothes that allow you to do visual drills comfortably and safely.
      3. Instrument – when we play we will be spaced a minimum of 10 yards. If you have a bell cover bring that as well.
      4. Sun supplies (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen)
      5. Water – 1 gallon should suffice
    3. Percussion 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM
      1. Face masks & personal sanitizer
      2. Athletic clothes that allow you to do visual drills comfortably and safely.
      3. Drum sticks – when we play we will be spaced 5 yards apart and will be sanitizing any shared surfaces.
      4. Sun supplies (hat, sunglasses, sunscreen)
      5. Water – 1 gallon should suffice
    4. Color Guard 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM
      1. Sunglasses/Sunscreen/Hat/Backpack/etc. Per usual
      2. 1 Gallon of Water
      3. Flag
      4. Gloves (if they already own them)
      5. Towel for stretches
      6. High Energy!

    If anything changes with our schedule due to items that our school board is currently discussing, I will send an update as soon as I know anything.


    Finally, some of you have asked about Spirit Wear. I’m holding off on that until I get clear guidance on how I season will proceed. I know many of you are very anxious and I will make sure that everyone has the opportunity to order in as timely a fashion as we can.


    As always, that you for your support and please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have any questions.


    All the best,


    Mr. DeWitt


    Comments (-1)
  • Update August 3, 2020

    Posted by Quentin Dewitt on 8/3/2020

    Good evening!


    Thank you to everyone who made it out to today’s Grizzly Marching Band Orientations sessions. I hope that you all feel like you have a clearer sense of how our season may unfold. If you still that you might be interested but weren’t able to make it today, please email and we will get you caught up. I’ve attached the PowerPoint from today to this email so that you have it for your reference.

    Tuesday August 4th Rehearsals will be as follows:

    • 8:00 AM – 10:00 AM Woodwinds
    • 9:30 AM – 11:30 AM Color Guard
    • 10:30 AM – 12:30 PM Brass
    • 1:30 PM – 3:30 PM Percussion

    All rehearsals will be held outside for their duration so students should plan to wear athletic, school-appropriate clothing. Additionally, they will need at least 1 gallon of water as we won’t be able to offer refills due to sanitation challenges. It is also recommended that members have hats, sunglasses, and sunscreen.

    We are also tentatively planning to have the same rehearsal schedule for Wednesday. This will be updated tomorrow evening after the West Ada School Board meets as they are voting on some policies that may impact our operations.

    It was really wonderful to see you all today, catch up with returning members, and visit with our new members. Please don’t hesitate to reach out if you have questions or concerns through all of this.

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  • Update July 27, 2020

    Posted by Quentin Dewitt on 7/27/2020

    Hello everyone!


    This email includes details about Marching Band camp, which begins next Monday (8/3/2020).


    The Grizzly Marching Band is an extracurricular activity, and as such is not a requirement for band students. However, if a student would like to participate in the Grizzly Marching Band, they must commit to the following:

    1. Brass & Woodwinds must be enrolled in either Concert Band or Symphonic Band for the entire 2020-21 school year.
    2. Percussionists must be enrolled in Percussion Ensemble for the fall semester and either Concert Band or Symphonic for the Spring Semester.
    3. Color Guard must live within the RMHS boundaries.
    4. Students enrolled in either Home School or Virtual School will be addressed as each situation is unique and the policies are evolving. Please reach out to me if you have questions and I’ll see what we can do.
    5. Attend all scheduled events. Since so much of this has been fluid, I will be flexible so long as you communicate directly with me. Intermittent attendance without explanation is a detriment to everyone.
    6. Pay for all fees and items that are required for participation in the Grizzly Marching Band. More information on this below.


    As I mentioned in my previous email, I do not currently have a good handle on how many students to expect this year. Not everyone could access the form that I sent out this spring and many families’ situations have also changed since then. Consequently, on August 3rd, all students interested in participation will report for a short 40-minute orientation by primary instrument. Attendance is mandatory in order to participate in the Grizzly Marching Band. The schedule is as follows:

    8:00 AM               Flutes & Clarinets

    9:00 AM               Saxophones

    10:00 AM            Trumpet/Mellophone

    11:00 AM            Low Brass & Sousaphone

    1:00 PM               Percussion

    2:00 PM               Color Guard


    At the orientation we will cover the following:

    1. Welcome to the band, introduction of staff, and current overview of the season
    2. Verification of CHARMS information
      1. West Ada Student ID
      2. Student Email
      3. Student Land Line & Cell Phone
      4. Student Mailing Address
      5. Student Primary Instrument & Marching Instrument
      6. T-Shirt Size
      7. Contact information for at least one Parent/Guardian (whomever wants to be included in emails)
    3. Medical Release & West Ada EQ Form (Statement of Rigor)
    4. COVID Protocols
    5. Personal Items that students will need to bring (no sharing)
      1. Face Masks (not optional)
      2. Sun protection: Sun Screen, sunglasses, hat, etc.
      3. Clothing & footwear that is appropriate for athletic movement. Should be well-fitted, modest, and functional. Just ask if you have questions.
      4. Water jug – I would recommend at least one gallon as you will not have access to a water supply for refills.
      5. Healthy snacks are optional.
    6. GMB Spirit Wear Orders
    7. Questions & Concerns


    After we have met with all sections, the staff will meet and figure out how we will divide students into working groups so that we can fall within the guidelines that I sent earlier. We will then email the schedule for the rest of the week. Once you the schedule is sent, If you have an unavoidable conflict that keeps from attending your specified time, please communicate with me as soon as possible and we will be flexible. Many of you have already reached out about schedule concerns and that is awesome. If you don’t communicate with us, it really makes it difficult for everyone else.


    In addition to the items listed above for individuals, there are several expenses that are unique to the extracurricular Grizzly Marching Band. These vary depending on section, and are required for participation. These expenses include our staff, drill/choreography, field equipment, rehearsal/performance clothing. I know the total expense but until we have a final roster I won’t know what the individual student fee will be. Once the roster is finalized, Mrs. Pfleger (Instrumental Music Administrative Assistant) will post those charges to your CHARMS account so that you can see the amount owed. Many of you have fundraising balances from this spring that can go towards these fees. We will also have fundraising opportunities this year for those that would like to take advantage. I don’t anticipate the total out of pocket expense exceeding $250 per member.


    Finally, as we proceed with the season, we will have guidelines and protocols that all members and staff will be required to follow. While I’m sure that we have a full range of opinions about our current situation, the protocols that we will follow are derived from a host of scientific research and government guidelines and aren’t negotiable. It is up to every member and their family to do their best to follow and support these protocols so that we can have a full and exciting season. I don’t want to make the season about face masks, distance, and sanitizer and the more these protocols become automatic, the more we can focus on our peers and great experiences. I will incrementally introduce new responsibilities each day as I see that members are able to manage those responsibilities successfully. However, if members stop following protocols or must constantly be reminded, then we won’t be able to progress.

    This plan has less detail than I hoped and really hinges on everyone’s willingness to be flexible and communicate. You can expect to receive a daily update each evening after camp with the goal of having a more predictable schedule worked out.

    As always, please reach out if you have concerns or questions. I’m learning new things daily and I can only promise three things this year 1) Things will change, 2) We are going to have a great time putting together a fun show, and 3) This year will go to 11. Because it’s one louder. (Nigel Tufnel).


    All the best,


    Mr. DeWitt



    Comments (-1)
  • Update July 20, 2020

    Posted by Quentin Dewitt on 7/20/2020

    Hello everyone!


    I hope that you are all well and able to find opportunities to be with friends and family this summer.


    August is nearly upon us, which means that Marching Band is approaching fast. Many of you have reached wondering how it will all work and I’ve not been able to give you any answer simply because I was lacking guidance on how to proceed.


    You’re all aware of the 6 ft distancing figure. The question was raised early on about how that figure would be impacted when you were exerting yourself or in our case, playing an instrument that requires breath (lots of it) to work. This is called “Aerosol Distribution”. The University of Colorado and Colorado State University began researching this almost immediately after everything was shut down. Last Monday (7/13/20) they released their findings and I wanted to reach out to share my current plans for how to conduct marching band in accordance with CDH guidelines and current research-based best practice.


    The study recommended the following for band rehearsals:


    • Aerosol travels about 7.5 to 8 feet from point of origin with a wind instrument. The actual volume and area vary by instrument type.
    • Playing shouldn’t exceed 15 minutes at a time.
    • If playing inside, you either need a steady supply of fresh (outside) air, or HEPA quality air filtration that can recycle to room air completely every hour.
    • Face masks be worn at all times and they even prescribed covers for the instruments that would allow sound to exit but would keep the air flow contained. The face masks they recommended were modified with appropriate holes in them so that you could still access your mouthpiece.


    The West Ada high school band directors talked over these guidelines along with looking at the Phase 3 guidelines for COVID and decided collectively that we will do the following:


    1. Marching Band is extra-curricular and open to any student enrolled in either Concert Band, Symphonic Band, or Percussion Ensemble. Color Guard members need only complete a successful audition for Mr. Carpenter.
    2. Marching Band camp will start on August 3rd and go for two weeks, Monday through Friday.
    3. The band will be divided into smaller self-contained groups that will meet at separate times. The size of these groups will probably be around 25 – 30 but will not exceed 50 (CDH guideline).
    4. All rehearsals will be held outside so that we can maintain appropriate distancing and still be able to play. Students will not be in the building, except for rest room breaks.
    5.  All personal items will be kept with students or can be stored in their cars.
    6. The only students allowed inside the band room will be percussionists, tuba players, and color guard captains. This equipment is all stored in the room and is too big for the student to easily transport them individually.
    7. We will only play our instruments outside. Doing the math for the square footage of A3 means that only about 25 students can be in there at one time and be able to play. Even with that, I’m not sure about how much air the HVAC system moves, but I think it probably isn’t sufficient compared to the guidelines listed above.
    8. Each “mini-band” will rehearse for approximately 2 hours each day. This may change as logistics and group size is finalized.
    9. As long as we are in Phase 3, we will not give live performances or travel to competitions. If we move into Phase 4, we would re-evaluate. We talked about giving “virtual” performances via webcast or similar so that we could have a goal to work towards and still be able to share with our community. This part of things is really up in the air.
    10. The goal is that each mini-band will learn music and movement to a show just like any other year. It will just be a smaller group experience. At this point we have no plans of the full band coming together and playing or working together unless we were to move out of Phase 3 into Phase 4.
    11. Financially, we are all trying to be as conservative as possible as we know that a good percentage of our families have been unemployed or experiencing other financial stresses. There will be fees associated with the season to cover our staff and some supplies, but please know that we will work with you and are completely aware that our families have had wildly different experiences during this time.


    As of today, I have no idea how many students we will actually have in the band. Many of the families that I have talked to are still very unsure of their plans for this fall. I recognize that we will be adjusting a lot as we move into these first weeks and months of the semester. While this will be different than our experience from past years, my staff and I will work hard to provide and fun and rewarding experience for all members. I will be sending out more details on specific schedule and expectations in the coming days. Please share this information with other members in case they haven’t checked their emails.


    This is without a doubt the most stressed out that I have ever felt about anything. I switch between sorrow at not being able to do things that we used to, fear of what might be, and just general anxiety that I can’t have a clear plan. I pledge that I will do my best with the cards that I am dealt and would appreciate your flexibility and openness as we navigate this together. I’m always happy to visit any of you about anything.


    In the words of Bill & Ted (circa 1989) – “Be excellent to each other”


    All the best,


    Mr. DeWitt

    Comments (-1)
Mr. Quentin DeWitt

Phone: 208-350-4340 ext. 1601


Degrees and Certifications:

B.Mus Percussion Performance M.Mus Percussion Performance and Pedagogy B.Mus.Ed K-12 Instrumental

Mr. Quentin DeWitt