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Band Director's Blog
April 28, 2009
What an incredible week! We had seven performances in the past eight days. We celebrated Jazz Appreciation Month with performances before school by the Blue Jazz Band, Gold Jazz Band and Jazz Combo. The Jazz Combo played for the Parent GT Orientation last Monday night, and for the Volunteer Appreciation Breakfast on Friday.
On Monday night, the Concert Band performed wonderfully at the Howard County Middle School Band Adjudication. I was so proud of the kids!
There is another new episode of the PodCast featuring the conclusion of the interview with our commissioned composer, Mark Lortz, and a performance by our 6th Grade Brass Quartet.
March 21, 2009
Goodness! It's been forever since I've updated the FQMS Band Website Blog! Where do I begin? Well, there is a new episode of the PodCast featuring an interview with our commissioned composer and award-winning composition by FQMS 8th Grader Meredith Pecukonis. The Blue and Gold Jazz Bands traveled to Towson University where they participated in the Maryland State Jazz Festival. They played great and got to hear an incredible concert by the U.S. Jazz Ambassadors!
We are about to receive the music from Mark Lortz for our commissioned work, "The Heart of Madness." We are all really excited to start rehearsals!
Symphonic Band played wonderfully at the Howard County MS Band Assessments! Check out the performance recordings on the Audio Page. We received a "I" Rating from the judges. I was really proud of the kids that night! Congratulations to our young musicians!
January 11, 2009
Wow! I am so excited after our Jazz Bands' great performances at RHHS's Jazz Reunion Concert last night! The kids not only played great as an ensemble, but they played some great solos, many of them improvised, too! Afterwards, the Danny Gouker Quartet treated us to some great jazz combo playing, and then the RHHS Jazz Ensemble took the stage. They sounded simply amazing, and it was a fantastic concert all around! A special "Thank you!" to Mr. Fischer and the RHHS jazz musicians for being such gracious hosts, and for blowing our socks off with such a great concert!
Congratulations to the Symphonic Band and the Chamber Symphony on a great concert! I am looking forward to Tuesday's concert with the Concert Band. They will be joined by the Trombone Choir and the Clarinet Choir.
December 1, 2008
It's December already and it's concert time! In addition to our own exciting FQMS concerts, there are also a number of local concerts that I hope you and your family can manage to attend over the coming weeks! They are listed below.
Congratulations to Christopher Nalty, our bassoonist who selected as an alternate to the 2009 Maryland Junior All State Band! What a fantastic achievement! The All State Band is comprised of the best musicians from all over the state of Maryland in grades 7, 8 and 9. They are selected through a difficult audition process! Congrats, Chris!
I was so proud of the Gold Jazz Band for their performance at the Slam & Jam on Friday before break! The band sounded great, and it was wonderful to feature a number of different soloists. Guest artist and Slam Poet Gail Watson, who has helmed the Slam & Jam several years in a row, commented that the band sounded better than ever! Great work!
Renowned composer, educator, and musician Mark Lortz wrote and said "I've got some cool ideas and working on it. Would like to finish before Christmas break ‹ not sure if that will happen or not. The FQMS Symphonic Band will be giving the first performance of this work ever in the Spring.
Be sure to catch the U.S. Navy Band in a free concert at River Hill High School on Friday, Dec. 5, at 7:30 PM. This is a fantastic opportunity to see one of the world's best bands in concert - locally, and free! Go! More info.
The Lyric Brass Quintet will be in concert on Sunday, Dec. 7, at 3 PM as part of the Sundays at Three Concert Series in Columbia, MD. This is a fantastic opportunity to hear a professional brass quintet (including Mr. Spang!) in your back yard! I hope you can come. Students under 18 get in free when accompanied by an adult.
September 23, 2008
It's Back to School Night and I just finished meeting with some enthusiastic parents for the Back to Band Night before the school-wide events began. I am so excited by everything that has been happening! First, Jazz Band Audition Packets became available today. You cannot download them off the website, but you can download the Permission Slip and study recordings of the audition pieces.
Jazz Band Permission Slip
Study Recording: Blues in Hoss Flat (.mp3)
Study Recording: Topsy (.mp3)
Just a reminder that you can always ask Mr. Spang for help in preparing this music, and that after school on October 1st will be a help session. It will be just like the audition, except that it "doesn't count." If you need to ask about rhythms, or how to play in the "swing style," this is the time to ask questions and learn! I hope that a lot of kids come out for the Jazz Bands!
I am thrilled to announce that renowned composer, educator, and musician Mark Lortz has agreed to accept a commission from Folly Quarter Band Program to write an original composition for our Symphonic Band. I am a big fan of Mark Lortz's music, and am in awe of his musicianship and tireless drive! Look for a lot more information to follow about this exciting endeavor!
September 16, 2008
Whew! Auditions are over and we are off to a great start this year! Seating results can always be found on this page, in the lower left. Scroll down to find the links, or just click here:
Jazz Band Audition Music will be available this week as after school ensembles begin to get underway. I am excited because I, and our students, will be benefitting from the expertise of two high school interns. Ms. Kittlemann is from Glenelg HS, where she plays first chair clarinet in the Wind Ensemble. Mr. Berry plays trumpet in the River Hill HS Marching Band, Jazz Ensemble and Wind Ensemble. These students are going to make excellent music educators, and I look forward to the exciting contributions that they will make to our program here at FQMS!
August 29, 2008
Finally! Band begins on Tuesday, September 2, 2008. We will not need instruments until Wednesday, Sept. 3rd. I am so excited for a terrific and exciting year! We will be having a few new events should keep things interesting! If you are interested, you download the audition music for chair placements here:
Chair Audition Music "A"
Students interested in auditioning for the county-wide GT Band and Honors Band can download that audition music here:
Howard County GT Band Audition Music
I can't wait to get started! I'll see you all on Tuesday!
July 15, 2008
Greetings from VA Beach, where I am on vacation with my family. Our CDs were shipped to my house and arrived yesterday. Unfortunately (or not!), I was in VA Beach and am unable to deliver them until next week. Please look for your CD on Monday or Tuesday. I am really excited to hear the final product myself! We actually recorded more music than would fit on the CD, so look for special recordings available on our website and our podcasts!
July 8, 2008
Whew! I am exhausted but starting to recover after a great two weeks of Encore Summer Music Camp. Congratulations to all musicians involved - the concerts sounded great! The FQMS 2008 Audio Yearbook is behind schedule, and should be delivered by the end of the week! We recorded so much great music that not all of it will fit on the disc! The FQMS Jazz Combo CD is already back and sounds great! I am so proud of all our musicians. I am excitedly looking forward to next year, meeting all our new FQMS musicians, and beginning a new year of music! We are going to have two new high interns and I have a lot of great music planned!
July 7, 2008
Hi! About time for a new update! Be sure to check out the new calendar page. I am really excited to incorporate a Google calendar into our website. If you use Google calendar for your own planning, you can add FQMS Band events to your calendar with the click of a mouse.
April 22, 2008
April is Jazz Appreciation Month! I am happy and pleased with our own Jazz musicians that are performing for the student body before school this week! The groups are really swinging! I want to also give a shout out to Kathleen, Toby and Trevor who performed solos and duets for the Stars Are Out at FQMS arts evening at FQMS, along with the Shakespeare troop.
April 16, 2008
Congratulations to the members of the FQMS Concert Band after their excellent performance with a very challenging program at the Howard County MS Band Festival tonight. The kids acted great and performed even better! The judges were extremely impressed and the kids just sounded wonderful. Please take a few moments to read the comments from the judges posted in the Staff Workroom or the Band Room to see for yourself! The kids delivered an exceptional performance and would love to hear your pride in their accomplishments!
Here's a link to last night's photos.
March 18, 2008
I am excited to announce the results of the Folly Quarter Middle School Symphonic Band's appearance at the Howard County MBDA Middle School Band Adjudications. The FQMS Symphonic Band received straight "ones" from all three judges! After the on-stage performance, they move to the Sight Reading room and perform a piece that they have never seen before after only 5 minutes preparation. They performed wonderfully and received a "I" in the Sight Reading Room, as well. I was SO pleased with the kids' performance! It really was a fantastic night!
Special thanks to our chaperons who made the trip possible: Mrs. Brown, Mrs. Orcutt, Mrs. Schell, Mrs. Arnold, and Mrs. Cohen! Check out some photos from the evening here.
The FQMS Chamber Symphony appeared at the Howard County M.O.D.A. Orchestra Adjudication on last Tuesday night. The Chamber Symphony stayed after school for a last-minute rehearsal before heading to Marriotts Ridge High School where they performed three selections on stage under the direction of Mr. Walls and myself. The FQMS Chamber Symphony received straight "ones" from all three judges, with straight "A's" from each judge! After the on-stage performance, they move to the Sight Reading room and perform a piece that they have never seen before after only 5 minutes preparation. They performed wonderfully and received a "I" in the Sight Reading Room, as well, with six "A's" and a "B+". A pretty fantastic night!
Special thanks to our chaperons who made the trip possible! Check out some photos from the evening here.
February 2, 2008
What an wonderful job done by our students at today's Solo & Ensemble Festival. We had nearly sixty students taking part in the festival. I am so proud of everyone who undertook this exciting endeavor, worked on hard on preparing a piece, and performed so well in front of the judges. I tried during the six hours I was there to hear as many students perform as possible and I was so happy and proud with the performances I was able to hear! Stay tuned to hear how many students we had qualify for States!
I am pleased to announce that I was selected by the Maryland Music Educators Association as the 2007-2008 "Outstanding Music Teacher" This prestigious award is given to one teacher (band, orchestra, or vocal/general) in the entire State! Many thanks to all the students and parents who worked on letters of recommendation. It paid off!
January 25, 2008
What an incredible job by our Gold Jazz Band at the Maryland State Jazz Festival! Our ensemble performed for the clinic and received outstanding comments. We were hailed by one of the conference organizers as "the finest middle jazz ensemble they had ever heard." The students then observed River Hill HS in their clinic, and a jam session by the All State Jazz musicians. Finally, all of our students attended the masterclasses by the professional jazz educators. Check out the online photo album assembled by the "AMB" (The "Amazing Mrs. Brown"). Coming up next week is the Howard County Solo & Ensemble Festival! We have over sixty students registered! I am so excited by the large number of students who have undertaken this exciting endeavor.
January 10, 2008
Wow. So much has happened since my last post. Our Student Teacher from Towson, Ms. Whitehead, has come and worked with us, gone and now graduated from Towson University. We've had three incredible winter concerts; be sure to check the Photos Page for great photo albums by the Amazing Mrs. Brown. I have been so pleased by the performances put forth by our student musicians! Congratulations! Coming up is the Maryland State Jazz Festival on Jan. 25th, and the Howard County Solo & Ensemble Festival on Saturday, Feb. 2. Lastly, Second Quarter Practice Logs are due this week.
November 5, 2007
New! Make sure you have the new 2nd Quarter Practice Log! It's yellow and you can pick yours up in the Band Room or download it from this website. As always a link to the current Practice Log may be found in the "Cool Links" box below, or by clicking on the "Resources" tab up above. Congratulations!!! to our GT Band members on a fantastic concert Saturday night at Glenelg High School! I was so impressed with the sound of the band and how our kids (and the whole band) played! It was truly outstanding! Bravo! Audition Music D becomes available today. This will be used for our 2nd Quarter Playing Test and to reseat the two bands! Pick up your copy in the Band Room, or online.
October 30, 2007
Happy Halloween!!! Whew! Things have been busy in the FQMS Band Program. First, we are excited to have Ms. Melody Whitehead, our Student Intern from Towson University. She will be working with us until Winter Break. Next, the Jazz Programs are up and running and the kids are sounding great! In November, students who are interested in doing Solo & Ensemble should start thinking about what solo to do, or talking to their friends about making an ensemble for the Festival.
October 14, 2007
I am really very excited by everything that has been happening at Folly Quarter. Many students came out and auditioned for the FQMS Jazz Band program. The audition results have been posted online. Congratulations to all who undertook learning this music. We still are in need of another sax player for the Blue Jazz Band, and two more trombones! I hope some players will consider stepping up to this great experience!
October 13, 2007
Congratualtions to our member of the Howard County GT Symphonic Band. These members of the FQMS Band Program were selected by audition as the "best of the best" of all the students in the county! Kathleen Hawkins, first chair flute; Christopher Nalty, second chair basson; Tevor Putnam, first chair, first trumpet; and Ian Brown, first chair, third trombone. What an impressive display from our excellent musicians! I am so proud of all the students that auditioned for the GT Band.
September 12, 2007
Our first rehearsals with music happened today and I am blown away by how the bands sound! We are already seeing attention to detail, and an incredible beginning to a warm, balanced sound! We are still looking for a 6th Grader to consider the big switch to bassoon and tuba. A bari sax would be great, too! Chamber Symphony begins on Friday in place of Symphonic Band ... Check to see if your name is on the roster! Concert Band will still meet on Friday as usual! Audition results have been posted. You may have to hit refresh on your browser to see the updated page, if you have checked for the results recently.
September 11, 2007
Audition results will be posted after 10:00 AM today. Sorry for the delay!
September 7, 2007
Whew! Auditions are 2/3rds of the way completed! I've heard some great playing, and am excited about the upcoming year. Hopefully, we can get a few more students who are willing to consider switching instruments to fill out the full compliment of sounds available in the concert band! I'd love to see a 6th Grader consider Bari Sax and/or Bassoon! We also need a 6th Grade Tuba Player! If you want to stand out in the crowd, are willing to take on the challenge of learning a new instrument, and have a desire to help the Band sound great, maybe switching is for you! See Mr. Spang sometime before or after rehearsal, or before home room!
September 4, 2007
Band began today! Just letting you know that Chair Audition Music is now online! It is also available for pick up in the Band Room. It is called "Audition Music A". Also, GT Band Audition Music and Registration Forms may be picked up in the Band Room. I can't wait until Tuesday, the first day we get to have Band!
August 29, 2007
It's been great seeing all the familiar faces, and getting to meet our new FQMS Band members! Just letting you know that Chair Audition Music is now online! It is also available for pick up in the Band Room. It is called "Audition Music A". Also, GT Band Audition Music and Registration Forms may be picked up in the Band Room. I can't wait until Tuesday, the first day we get to have Band!
August 16, 2007
Hello from DisneyWorld! It's the last day of our family vacation! We've been having a blast down here in Orlando, but I am starting to look ahead to our coming school year! I am glad that you are visiting our website. We have an incredible year ahead of us, with a new student teacher, a student intern from River Hill (who was a FQMS Band Alum!), and I have selected a bunch of GREAT music for the coming year! If you ordered a copy, you should have received your Audio Yearbook in the mail by now. See you soon!
Happy 4th of July! Our CD has been delayed. Sorry. It's coming soon! Be sure to check the Calendar to see the 2007-2008 Dates. Yes, they are now online!!!
Wow, so much has happened! First of all, what a great turn out and performance we had for the Spring Jazz Concert & Band Awards Night! It was great to see so many members and incoming members of the FQMS Band Community! The FQMS Jazz Ensembles sounded great, and our volunteers, headed up by Mrs. Brown and Mrs. Hines, did an incredible job! I have to thank the kids for an incredible year of wonderful music-making! We accomplished so much and had a great time doing it! Thanks for all the hard work, people. Also, thank you to our incredible FoFQM Board members, especially Kathy Hartley, FoFQM President, and Rosa Heckle, Band Vice-President. Thank you for my incredible gifts, everyone, as well!
Please check out the new Folly Quarter Band Wiki. This is a web page where you can post your questions, help others out, and get more information. Hopefully this will become a valuable and helpful resource for our FQMS Community!
Great job, Symphonic Band! The FQMS Symphonic Band earned a "I" ("one") Rating overall at the Howard County Middle School Band Festival on Tuesday night!!! The Symphonic Band received two "I's" and a "II" on stage. The stage was over 90 degrees, but I was extremely proud of our musicians as they performed beautifully. Please read the Judges' Comment Sheets posted in and outside the Band Room when you get a chance!
What a great job the Chamber Symphony did at the Howard County Orchestra Festival last night!!! The Chamber Symphony received STRAIGHT ONES for their performance, only the second orchestra to do so that night! I was extremely proud of our outstanding musicians. Please read the Judges' Comment Sheets posted in and outside the Band Room when you get a chance! Also, check out the online Photo Album created by the amazing Mrs. Brown!
We are gearing up the Howard County Orchestra Festival on Monday, March 5. We perform at 7:55pm at MRHS. Please come out and here the Chamber Symphony! Please note: the Chamber Symphony will be rehearsing during TEAM on Friday and on Monday. Symphonic Band will rehearse during TEAM Tuesday through Friday next week. We also had a brief visit from a couple alums during Jazz Combo - Matt Wigler, fresh back from performing on the Blues Cruise with Deanna Bogart, and Steven Goodwin, who made the sax section of the GHS Jazz Ensemble as a freshman! It was great to see (and hear) you!
I am back, full days, and in (almost) good health. Thanks for all your well wishes and support. We had really good rehearsals with both bands today, and Blue Jazz Band after school!
There WILL be Band this week. I will be returning for half-days and will be conducting all large ensemble rehearsals. I will also meet with after school ensembles, so please plan accordingly. I was really touched by the get well card from the Symphonic Band members - thanks, kids! That made my weekend!
Happy Valentines Day! I am home from the hospital taking a new oral version of my antibiotic. My leg has improved a lot since yesterday. I should be back next week!
I am proud of our Howard County GT Band members who, I understand, gave a fantastic performance on Saturday night. Great job! I am also very proud of the members of the Concert Band who, with the exception of a couple of individuals, were respectful and musical for our guest.
But I am extremely disappointed with the members of the Symphonic Band! We will discuss this at length next week.
There WILL be Band today! The amazing Ms. Tilden, just back from from conducting the Frederick County All-County Band this past weekend, will be conducting a rehearsal with both the Concert Band and the Symphonic Band. Enjoy, and be nice to her!
Some disturbing news: My cellulitis has returned. I have been admitted to Carroll Hospital Center and my prognosis looks good (unlike my lower left leg!). We are waiting to see how my leg responds to the IV antibiotics to gauge how long I will be in the hospital. I have Wi-Fi in my room, so I can continue to update my blog from my bed (isn't technology wonderful?). I am working to line up some outstanding guest conductors to work with our bands while I am laid up. For right now, you should plan on Trombone Choir and Blue Jazz Band being cancelled.
Some disturbing news: My cellulitis has returned. For those who remember the year FQMS opened, this is what put me in the hospital for a week. Hopefully, I will know more this afternoon after visiting the Emergency Room. Keep reading here to know what is up! On a happier note, I am so pleased with the FQMS Trombone Choir! They did a fantastic job at the MWES Low Brass Evening. Check out the photo album created by the amazing Mrs. Brown.
I am so pleased with the amount of hard work done by our students in preparation for the Solo & Ensemble Festival on Saturday. A lot of hard work, and a lot of great music. I applaud each and every student who undertook this extra responsibility. I am also excited by the large number of students who came out for Jazz Combo! I am excited by the beginnings of some great improvisers that I heard on Thursday! I am also so thrilled by the cool Slide Show of the Gold Jazz Band made by Mrs. Brown!
I just want to say how proud I am of the members of the Gold Jazz Band today when they attended the Maryland State Jazz Festival at Towson University. They participated in four masterclasses where they often performed right after members of the All State High School Jazz Ensemble. The band then performed and worked with the amazing Jim McFalls, internationally recognized jazz trombone soloist, director of the Towson Jazz Ensemble, and future President of the Maryland Chapter of International Jazz Educators' Association. One of the first comments out of Mr. McFalls' mouth after hearing the band perform was "wow, this is one of the best two middle school jazz bands I have ever heard, and better than many high school bands!" At many times during our session, he looked up in wonder and said "I can't believe that I am working on these advanced concepts with kids so young." Finally, at the conclusion of clinic, he expressed a sincere appreciation for working with our students and said "as future president of IJEA, it means a lot to see such knowledgeable and talented players performing jazz at such a high level. It makes me glad to know that the future of jazz is indeed bright."
We had a great Jazz Band rehearsal yesterday, although we still have a problem with forgetting our music. We are beginning our Jazz Combo today with a rhythm section rehearsal and hope to add soloists beginning next week. How exciting!
Happy Martin Luther King, Jr., Day! Dr. King was a truly an inspirational leader who changed the world. There will be NO BAND or BLUE JAZZ BAND on Tuesday, Jan. 16th. I am excited and honored to play a concert in honor of Dr. King at the Myerhoff and will be involved with rehearsals all day.
Congratulations to our student musicians on an excellent concert last night! I was so proud of the members of the Trombone Choir, Concert Band and Blue & Gold Jazz Bands. Many thanks to our incredible parent volunteers who made sure the huge amount of equipment got to and from the concert, stage changes went so smoothly, and crowds were kept (mostly) under control. I am anxious to get started on our Festival Music now and gear up for our next cconcert!!!
Mr. Spang's school email is back online as of 9pm! Our Gold Jazz Band will be in concert tomorrow at River Hill HS beginning at 7:30pm. Hope to see you there for a great evening of Jazz! Mrs. Barnes's (our FQMS Reading Specialist) son (Jon) will be a guest trumpet soloist and is awesome.
What a great rehearsal by our Gold Jazz Band! I am looking forward to Friday night and the RHHS "Reunion" Jazz Concert, with our own Gold Jazz Band as opening act. Solo & Ensemble Packets are available in the Band Room or by clicking the link to the left. Please note: Mr. Spang's school email has been down since Wednesday! Need to contact him? Use his home email firstname.lastname@example.org.
An excellent rehearsal by the Symphonic Band as we sightread Copland's Down a Country Road. Solo & Ensemble information was given out toay. It will be online tomorrow if your child missed it. The Audio Yearbook is scheduled to be shipped by the end of the week! It should be here Monday or Tuesday at the latest! (Finally!)
My New Year's resolution - a daily update. Happy New Year everyone! Solo & Ensemble Forms are available in the Band Room on Tuesday, and due back to Mr. Spang by Friday, January 5. January 5th also has our Gold Jazz Band performing at River Hill's Winter Jazz Showcase. I hope that you can attend!
My wife is home safely from surgery! We are very happy and pleased with how it went. Thank you for all your kind thoughts and wishes! A huge congratulations to our talented musicians! Paul Wissman, Kristen Long, Christopher Nalty, Ian Brown, and Casey McCrea were selected to the Howard County All County Gifted & Talented Symphonic Band! Further congratulations are extended to Paul Wissman for being selected as a member of the Maryland All State Band. I am so proud of each and every student who auditioned for these honor ensembles!
It's been forever since the last Blog posting. Here's what's happening here at Folly Quarter and in Mr. Spang's life... The Gold Jazz Band did a fantastic job playing for the 8th Grade Slam & Jam on Friday (Nov. 10). Special thanks to the six 7th Graders who sprinted (literally!) off the bus from Medieval Times to the stage to play! I was really proud of all our musicians! There will be NO BAND, SECTIONALS, or JAZZ BAND on Tuesday, Nov. 14, or Wednesday, Nov. 15, as my wife Laura undergoes the same gastric bypass surgery that I had done 15 months ago. We are very excited for this step forward in family health: the surgery has done wonders for me, and we hope to see a dramatic change in Laura's health as well. She will be operated on by the same team of doctors (at St. Agnes Hospital) who did a wonderful job for me, so we are happy and confident in a positive outcome. They are scheduled to begin at 7:30am on Tuesday, Nov. 14. Please keep us in your thoughts and prayers! Thank you!
Auditions for Jazz Band are completed and posted on our website. Click the links at far left to go the Jazz Band Seating Results. I was shocked that we didn't have enough trombone students try out to field two bands. I have recruited a few and I think it will happen. If you are a trombone player and wishing you went out for Jazz Band, see me right away and we can probably make it happen! The playing was at a high level, and I am excited to see what this year's Jazz Bands can do!
We had a great Chamber Symphony Rehearsal today, and it's only our second rehearsal. This group is going to do exciting things! Symphonic Band members should listen to the rehearsal notes on Ascend. Get a pencil and your music and click here.
Concert Dates are finally confirmed on posted on the Calendar page. Please make sure to transfer them to your family calendar! We had a great masterclass on Monday with Brandon Rivera, and Wednesday's Jazz Help Session went well, too! It was great seeing so many supportive parents at Tuesday's Back-to-Band Night! Thank you for coming out!
I am excited for our masterclass today with trombone virtuosos Brandon Rivera. Also, I have finally updated the PodCast! Now I am just fighting with Apple to get the XML tags recognized again, and you should be able to download it by the time you read this. If not, follow the link at left to download the .mp3 file directly. Important Note: Jazz Band Auditions have been moved up one week: the (Optional) Help Session will be this Wednesday, Sept. 27, with the actual Auditions taking place on Wednesday, October 4.
The Concert Band and the Symphonic Band are up and running. GT Band and All State Band Permission Slips are due on Wednesday, Sept. 20! Make sure you get those signed and turned in! Jazz Band audition packets will be available at the end of Wednesday, Sept. 20. Start practicing!
Whew! What a week! I heard some great playing, and almost every section has several players within a point or two of first chair! This means that our ensembles are going to be very strong. I can't wait until next week to really dig into music. I'm also even more excited because I met with our new crop of newbies and we are starting three euphonium players, two tubas, a french horn, saxophone, and flute! These instruments will really help the Band sound great!
GT Band and All State Band Audition Packets were distributed today... Make special note: GT Band Permission Slips are due back to Mr. Spang on Wednesday, Sept. 20.
We are minutes away from the first Band Rehearsal of the year and I am so excited! Please know that audition music will be given out and explained today (you can download a copy to the left), as well as the first Practice Log (downloadable below under 'Cool Links.'). We are going to a single practice log per quarter that gets passed in and passed back to hopefully cut down on paper and increase feedback. Check out the new log below!
It was great seeing all the new 6th Graders (and a couple new 7th Graders, too) during Orientation today! I can't wait to get started! Reminder: students will not need to bring their instruments to school until Sept. 5th.
Mr. Spang is just about to leave the great state of Maine, where I have been visiting my parents - my dad just turned 70! Wow! Things have been very busy with some unexpected projects this summer and the Audio Yearbook has been delayed. It will be completed and replicated by the end of summer and students who still attend FQMS can pick their copy up during the first week back. Other students who have moved on to other schools will have their copies mailed/delivered to their homes. I apologize for the HUGE delay, but the project has been overwhelming with everything else that has been happening this summer. I can't wait to get back to school and start making music. Just a reminder: students will not need instruments during the first week of school.
A great job by our student musicians at HersheyPark! The Concert Band, Symphonic Band and Chamber Symphony all placed first in their divisions, and the Symphonic Band earned the Best Overall Concert Band award for the Festival! Way to go! I am very proud. Be sure to com out to our Spring Concerts on Thursday, May 18 and Monday, May 22 to hear our award winning ensembles!
We are in our final preparations for HersheyPark. There are so many details to coordinate amongst the six ensembles that will perform. The bands are playing particularly well - I am really excited for this year. Now, if we could only earn the Esprit de Corps. This elite award is given to one school that attends based on a demonstration of excellent attitude, collegial spirit, and courtesy. I would be so proud of our musicians if we could win that award!
Be sure to check out the Audio Page of our site to hear performances of our Concert and Symphonic Bands, as well as Chamber Symphony, at the recent County Adjudications! I'm currently going crazy hunting down students who still have not turned in their forms!
Finally, I am able to start updating from school. I hope that everyone had a wonderful break! We have some exciting things coming up in the next few weeks: our after-school recording sessions, our upcoming trip to HersheyPark, and State Solo & Ensemble Festival! Hopefully, the website we prove useful again as I am able to more regularly update it.
Whew! A big congratulations to the FQMS Cobalt Brass Quintet, GT Trombone Quartet, Balimtas/Ludicke Flute Duo, Emmet Jao, and Alexander Woodhead on a wonderful job performing for The Stars Are Out at FQMS Chamber Music & Shakespeare Festival on Friday before break! They sounded great!
Finally! An update to the Blog! Okay, where to begin? First, check out the UMass Sax page for photos from Lynn Klock's visit with us and the performance by the UMass Sax Quartet. A complete photo history of their trip may be found here.
For those interested in my health, I had my 7th Month appointment following surgery today. Thanks to the used treadmill we purchased over Christmas, I managed to lose 20 pounds this past month. This brings me to a total of 121 lbs. lost so far. It feels great!
Congratulations to our musicians who participated in the Solo & Ensemble Festival last weekend! We had over 100 students participate in the Howard County Solo & Ensemble Festival on Saturday, February 5th. These students prepared a solo with piano accompaniment, or combined to form small, conductorless ensembles such as Brass Quintets, Quartets, Clarinet ensembles, Flute Choirs, and so on. They then performed these pieces, along with required memorized scales, for professional judges who graded them (A, B, C, D, E) in seven categories to determine a final rating ("I" - minimum 4 As, 3 Bs; "II" - 4 Bs, 3 As down to 4 Bs, 3 Cs, and so on). 99% of our students received scores of "Outstanding" or "Excellent," with an impressive 52 qualifying for participation in the Maryland State Solo & Ensemble Festival. I am so proud of our musicians!
I was so so excited to have the amazing Mr. Blackman come work with our Symphonic Band today. He listened to two of our Festival pieces and provided excellent and insightful commentary and suggestions. We are so lucky to benefit from such an excellent musician in our community!
Wow! I'm going crazy getting things ready for Solo & Ensemble this weekend. We've got an amazing 90+ slots going from FQMS (100+ if you include orchestra). Follow the link to the left for specifics and individual times. I've added dress requirements as well as the address and map of Mt. Hebron High School. Do well! Remember your judge's copy!
Great job by the FQMS Gold Jazz Band at the Maryland Jazz Festival on Friday, Jan. 27! I was very proud of them! Warning: our website has been completely torn down by our host provider. Please allow me the weekend to rebuild it. Many links will not work and you will see many question mark "missing image" symbols.
Wow! What an amazing week we are having! Wednesday, Mr. Fischer, from RHHS, came and helped prepare the Gold Jazz Band for State Festival tomorrow. Thursday, Lynn Klock and the UMass Saxophone Quartet came and worked with our Chamber Musicians to help prepare for Solo & Ensemble. They worked with the Brass Quintet, 8th Grade Sax Quartet, 7th Grade Sax Quartet, and the 6th Grade Clarinet Quartet. Other ensemble members observed the masterclass. It was amazing! Mr. Klock was great with the kids and had them just sounding great! Many thanks to all the kids who worked hard and performed! Then, Mr. Klock and the Quartet treated the entire Symphonic Band (and a few Concert Band members who could sneak in) to a great recital. Stay tuned for excerpts in our upcoming PodCast. Then, Thursday night, the FQMS Jazz Combo opened up the FQMS Reading Extravaganza with 30 minutes of great jazz! I heard some really developed solos tonight, as well as a tight rhythm section. Nice work, Jazz Combo! And, tomorrow, the Gold Jazz Band heads to Towson University for the Maryland State Jazz Festival. Whew!.
Alrighty! Hit your "Update" button in iTunes and download the latest Podcast. Big Jazz Events this week - make sure that you have downloaded and completed the Permission Slips found to the left. Lynn Klock, the famous saxophone virtuoso is coming to work with our kids! And he's bringing the Graduate Saxophone Quartet from the University of Massachusetts at Amherst. It should be an exciting Thursday!
Wow! What a great rehearsal we had with the Gold Jazz Band today! Barry Enzman from Glenelg High School came to work with the Jazz Band to help us prepare for the Maryland State Jazz Festival next week, and he really helped the kids sound great! I am really looking forward to our performance!
I hope that everybody is enjoying their long weekend (I know that I am!). First, I have to say how proud I am of all the exceptional musicians who performed on the Winter Concert II last Thursday! Congratulations to the Concert Band, Blue Jazz Band and Trombone Choir! Simply outstanding! Look for recorded snippets in our next PodCast... I am also SO happy with the HUGE number of students who registered for Solo & Ensemble! We have over 90 "events" from FQMS. This blows me away!
Our first PodCast is online. A PodCast is an .mp3 file that uses XML to let you know when it gets updated. Think of it as a weekly radio show from Folly Quarter starring our own musicians that you can listen to on your computer or iPod. It's free! Use iTunes to listen (and subscribe!) to it, or download it now by clicking here!
Wow! I am still riding high after the awesome job our FQMS and RHHS Jazz kids did at the Winter Jazz Showcase last night! Wow! The groups all sounded great. Many thanks to Mr. Fischer for asking us to play at the Winter Jazz Showcase! It could even turn into a tradition for the future!
Hello from Maine! I was just surfing and found the COOLEST site - it's a high school jazz program at New Trier High School in Illinois. They host a jazz festival that has included guests like the Gordon Goodwin Big Phat Band and the Bob Mintzer Big Band. Follow the link to find complete concerts by these amazing jazz artists.
New Trier Jazz Festival
Merry Christmas! I got a number of wonderful gifts - thank you! - but the best gift I could receive came on Monday the 19th: what a GREAT job all our musicians did at our first Winter Concert! Congratulations to the members of Symphonic Band, Chamber Symphony and Gold Jazz Band! We had an exciting performance with Larry Williams, our guest horn soloist with the Symphonic Band. I am also excited to announce that our Jazz Bands and Jazz Combo will be opening for the River Hill Jazz program on Friday, January 6. Look to the left for more information!
Happy Friday! Please remember our Concert has been rescheduled to Monday. Hope you stopped by this morning and picked up a donut! Please make sure to talk to me if you are interested in Solo & Ensemble and have any questions, or want help in creating an ensemble or selecting music! Have a great weekend!
It's concert week! I hope that all Concert Band kids will come hear the Symphonic Band - it should be a real treat! Also, the Gold Jazz Band sounds amazing, and the Chamber Symphony (if we EVER get to rehearse) should be quite good, too! Please take time now to locate those precious blue bow-ties and cummerbunds, make sure that the white shirt still fits, and polish the black shoes! See you Thursday!!
Thanks to all the kids and parents who went to the Professional Instrument Night at Music & Arts! The evening was a great success. If you are still thinking about stepping up to a professional instrument, they are still offering the sale prices. Please ask Mr. Spang if you need advice, recommendations, or have any questions! Our first concert is rapidly approaching! I hope that everyone can attend - it should be pretty AMAZING. Will have a guest soloist, Peabody Faculty member Larry Williams as french horn soloist with the Symphonic Band!
I put the pressure on today in Concert Band and was rewarded with a mature, rich sound! The kids sounded great, but it requires their full attention and effort. I've laid down the law: if they do not play up to their ability on the daily warm-up chorale, then we will not touch the concert music. When they focused, they played beautifully! Full, rich balanced sound, followed the conductor, and played correct notes. Finally, the Band is playing up to the level I knew they could!
Congratulations to our All State Musicians - Emmet Jao and David Mikulis. I am so proud of all the FQMS Musicians who tried out, and pleased that FQMS can boast 2% of the state's All State musicians! Oh, and by the way, in case you are unsure, we WILL have Band on Monday and Tuesday!
What a great Trombone Choir rehearsal! All members of the Trombone Choir received their listening CDs, and we began working on "Achieved Is the Glorious Work" - how exciting!
Yeah, baby! 12 members of the FQMS Band Program made the Howard County GT Band! Great job to everyone who tried out! Check the list here! I am so proud of you all! Now I just can't wait for All State results!
Wow! Great job! to the members of the Jazz Combo for an outstanding performance at today's Slam & Jam. I just wish the audience (students, adults, and teachers alike) could have been a LOT more polite and attentive so they could have heard the killer playing that I heard. Special congratulations to our student intern Ryan McMichael for working with the Jazz Combo. Good luck to all All State auditioning students tomorrow! Remember, breathe deep and relax!
All State Audition times came in today! Look on the left to find a link to your time. Blue Jazz Band rehearsed today - VERY impressive! The BJB swings!
Jazz Band auditions were hot! Wow, I heard a lot of great playing. These are always some of the hardest decisions I have to make, but this year was even harder than most! What great bands we are going to have! Look for the links to Jazz Band seating on the left... Rehearsals begin this week: Tuesday (Oct. 25 & Oct. 26).
Mr. Blackman will be in as Guest Conductor on Monday, Oct. 10, to work with both bands! I sure hope that the kids don't talk to much (right now, our biggest problem!). Musically, both bands are off to a GREAT start. Now, if we could just stop talking so much....
What a great class given by trombone artist Brandon Rivera! Thanks to all the students and community trombonists who came to learn! Challenges begin tomorrow! What fun!
I am excited: we already have two Masterclasses by professional musicians scheduled for this year. Read about Brandon Rivera to the left... Professional trumpet player Stuart Smith will be in later in October. Stay tuned for more information!
Progress Reports are today. I am giving each Band Student a "High" on their Progress Report. While the rest of the school has been operating since August, Band is effectively halfway through its third week. Giving a percentile grade at this point would reflect only one Practice Log and the child's audition (which was NOT graded). If your child is trying to get "straight A's," please do NOT consider their Band grade as a "B." An "A" was NOT possible (nor given to any student) during this quarter's Progress Report. Please e-mail with any questions or confusions that this may cause...
Well, it's close to midnight, but I've checked the scores and re-listened to many of the auditions to make sure everyone is placed best so that everyone and every ensemble succeeds. I am SO excited by the amount of talent in our school, and the hard work many people obviously put into preparing their auditions. And if you had a terrible audition and hate where you are placed, remember that challenges begin on Oct. 1, and you can start to change your placement...
Computing the audition results is a BEAR! So many students gave such fine performances. Many sections have only a couple points separating the top several players. This year auditions are even more fair because they were recorded, allowing me to compare auditions back to back that may have been separated by hours in real life. Results should be finished and posted late Saturday night.
How exciting! We had about 85 interested and excited students and parents show up for the "Back to Band Night"! The meeting was both informative and relatively brief. Many thanks to Kathy Hartley, Joanne Dawson, Rosa Heckle, and Shirley Jao and the other members of FoFQM for helping make it a great night. Also thanks to Steve Baronowsky, our SmartMusic Tech Guru, for taking questions, and Amelia for demonstrating the system! Also, the Audition Music for placements has been posted on the website and is available in the Band Room! Auditions will take place during Related Arts, and times will be posted soon. What a great year we are going to have!
Congratulations to Mr. Blackman (TRES) on the birth of his two new sons: Colin and Justin! What a joy and a blessing to his family! It's the first day of school and I'm itching to get started... But remember, I don't get to see the Band kids until Tuesday, Sept. 6! There is a "Back to Band Night" on Thursday, Sept. 1, at 7 PM in the Band Room. I hope that you can make it! (I know, I just found out that RHHS has the same event at the exact same time - grrr!!! Nothing I can do now...)
Our CDs are finally back from the plant! You should receive your copy by this weekend! Let me know if your copy is missing... I had my 1-Month follow-up appointment. Things are going great; I've lost 32 pounds in the last 28 days! Not bad... I'm getting really excited for the upcoming year. I've been picking music and even talking to the composer about a couple of the pieces we will do in Concert Band. I don't know what I'll pick to keep the Jazz Bands busy; we have so many talented students returning this year!
Hello! Things have been going VERY well. I have just gotten home from my 2-Week Post-Op Appointment. I've lost 22 pounds so far and been given clearance to CHEW! I am very excited by this latest development. I will be teaching at the University of Maryland Summer Music Camp next week and am happy to be "back in the game!"
Hi everybody! Sorry for not writing lately. It has been interesting adjusting to the new food. I'm going to try and finish up the new site design this weekend. The Ensemble Page will be all new, and the Resource section will be very interesting for students and parents alike!
Mr. Spang spent the day at home goofing off with the kids, playing cards with his parents (and losing), and recovering. He is tolerating his pureed food very well, but having a difficult time fitting in the amount of protein that he needs (63 grams). We are very excited about how well he is doing. -Laura Baker (Spang)
He's home!. -Laura Baker (Spang)
Mr. Spang started to "eat" today. He had applesauce and a little oatmeal. As soon as the drain can be removed he will be coming home. That should be sometime today. -Laura Baker (Spang)
Today, Mr. Spang had a leak test to see if his stomach pouch has any leaks in it. He had to drink some radioactive fluid and then have an MRI. That was successful, so he was able to have jello and apple juice. Luckily, they stayed down and he is not experiencing any nausea. More later
10:00 PM- Mr. Spang is scheduled to come home tomorrow evening. This of course, depends on if he can keep down pureed food. He will be eating pureed food for the next two weeks. Laura Baker (Spang)
Okay, I go into the hospital in six hours. I guess I should get some sleep. Please say a prayer, think good thoughts and check back for more info! --Mr. Spang.
It's a new site design - I hope that you enjoy our new look! Mr. Spang's gastric bypass surgery is scheduled for 8:45 am on Wednesday, July 13th. Updates on his condition will be made here daily by his wife. Please check back!
What a fantastic job our kids did at HersheyPark! We came away with several trophies, including 1st Place "Superior" for the Concert Band, the 1st Place "Superior" for the Symphonic Band, and a Best Overall Concert Band for the Symphonic Band. Chamber Symphony earned a 1st Place "Superior" as well, and missed Best Overall Orchestra by one point. I am so proud of our young musicians! Furthermore, the results from State Solo & Ensemble are pouring in and they look great! Our school ensembles all earned "ones" and I'm learning of several soloists who did as well!
Happy Mother's Day! Okay, I finally have time to convert and upload the recordings of the FQMS Concert Band's performance at the Howard County Middle School Band Festival. Although the festival is unrated (the performers don't earn numbers), our young musicians were outstanding! Listen to these .mp3s of the the band's performance and judge for yourself.
Gliere/Williams: Russian Sailors' Dance
Holst/Curnow: Chorale from Jupiter (from The Planets)
Great job to the members of the Concert Band for their great performance at the Howard County Middle School Band Festival. The kids sounded great in performance, were well behaved in the audience, and represented FQMS well. Stay tuned for .mp3s posted on the website so you can hear their performance!
Looking forward to a great weekend! Dear college friends are dropping by from New York, my folks are coming down for Maine, and my beautiful daughter turns TWO on Sunday! I put the Permission Slip online for the Concert Band's field trip to Reservoir High School on Tuesday (4/26) for the Howard County Middle School Band Festival. The kids sounded great in rehearsal, so if we can just get those darn permission slips in, I'm sure that they will put on a dynamic performance!
So many great things are going on in our program that I am sometimes confused and depressed by some choices people make. Why some excellent musicians choose to receive poor grades rather than pass in Practice Logs just baffles me! We must all undertake our roles and responsibilities for an ensemble to succeed.
We'll celebrate Jazz Appreciation Month with special morning appearances of the Gold & Blue Jazz bands before school! Should be very cool! The first one is tomorrow - Friday, April 15th. Be sure to read the announcement to the left about trumpet great George Rabbai! Jazz band parents, amke sure that you have turned in a Jazz at FQMS Permission Slip so that your child can attend the Jazz Appreciation Performances before school!
I am so proud of all the musicians who played on Stars Are Out at FQMS night last Friday! What amazing jobs you all did! A special thank you to the ensembles for getting everybody there and playing some great chamber music! The soloists were amazing, too! Great job!
Great Jazz Band rehearsal today!! The kids sound amazing! I can't wait to show them off! There's some great FREE JAZZ in the "Cool Links" section below. Get your .mp3 player ready and download these amazing tracks!!!
Wow! I cannot say how proud I am of the members of the Symphonic Band. We earned straight ones ("I's") at the Howard County Middle School Band Adjudication! One of the best scores given to any band at the Festival! Listen for yourself! We played:
Byrd/Williams: Earl of Oxford's March
Holsinger: On a Hymnsong of Philip Bliss
Rhoades: Brazilian Folk Dance Suite
Files are in .mp3 format and may take a while to download if you don't have a fast connection! Recordings were made by Hershey Digital (Fulton, MD) and are self-evaluation purposes by students only.
The Symphonic Band sounds great and we go to Middle School Band Adjudications tomorrow! If you can come out and support us, your presence would be sincerely appreciated! Admission is free! We perform at 6:00 PM in the auditorium at Hammond High School. Hope to see you there!
Our After School Chamber Symphony rehearsal went mostly very well. Please come out and support us on Tuesday night at 8:05 (Oakland Mills High School.) Please note that the Symphonic Band will also have an After School Rehearsal. Ours will be on Thursday, Mar. 17th. See the announcement to the left to download a Permission Slip!
Please note our Emergency After School Rehearsal for Chamber Symphony. The Chamber Symphony simply has not met since the middle of February, and our Festival is next week! Read about it in the box to your left. Wow! I had the pleasure of going to the Maryland All State Band Concert in Hunt Valley and the band just sounded great! Our five musicians represented Folly Quarter and Howard County so well! I was SO proud!
Snow Day #2! Because some parents have asked, I will post this (giant, boldfaced) statement from the MMEA website: PLEASE NOTE: The All State Bands and Orchestra will go on as scheduled at Hunt Valley this weekend regardless of school closings due to weather! Of course, the loss of another Friday means that we will have to have an After School Extended Rehearsal for Chamber Symphony. With our Festival fast approaching, we will need this this rehearsal to be fully prepared. Details will come after Mr. Walls and I figure them out (but I'm betting on Wednesday, March 9th)...
Snow Day! Of course, the mail still came to my house and I am pleased to announce that I have been nominated for the second straight year as a Who's Who Among America's Teachers. Our percussion equipment (timpani, bass drum and several keyboard percussion instruments) will be loaned to the Middle School All State Band performance. Speaking of which, I hope that you can get to Hunt Valley on Sunday, 1pm, to catch the All State Band Concert and support of FQMS musicians. Good luck to Stephen G., Emmet J., Michael M., Sam B., and Nina D.!!
Argh! It's so difficult to coordinate three entire programs (almost 300 FQMS students) to get HersheyPark information out! But it's coming soon! Coach busses, park uniforms, and of course the fees! It's all coming home soon!
Please welcome our new Student Teacher, Ms. Kimberly Bergstrom, a Music Education major from Towson University! Ms. Bergstrom will be working closely as a member of the Folly Quarter Middle School Band program through to mid-March. I think that we should have donuts to celebrate!
Wow! What a great job by members of the Howard County Middle School G/T Symphonic Band at their concert on Saturday (2/12). I am so proud of all the FQMS musicians involved! You sounded GREAT and acted in a thoroughly professional manner!
Great job by our students at Solo & Ensemble last Saturday. Please remember to turn in a copy of your comment sheet to Mr. Spang. I've seen some great ones so far! A quick note to parents - as a member of the Howard County Music Leadership Team, I will be involved with meetings on Wednesdays and Thursday. So, if you would like to schedule a conference, you will have to schedule it on Friday. If you cannot make it on Friday, then please send me an e-mail or call the school at 410-313-1506 to work out a time or arrange a phone conference.
Solo & Ensemble times came out today. I will do my best to have them online by this evening. Click here to see the schedule...
Hope that everyone is enjoying their break! I'm up in Maine, but still thinking about all of the exciting ensembles from FQMS that will be doing Solo & Ensemble this year. Remember, Solo & Ensemble is totally optional, but a great opportunity. Click on the Resource Tab above to find a link to the "All About Solo & Ensemble" handout!
I am so proud of all the musicians who performed on Thursday night! What great music you made!!! Mr. Blackman (Band Director, TRES) was so impressed by your music, excitement, attention to detail and model behavior! Thank you for your dedication and effort! I think that our new set-up made for a much more enjoyable concert for our parents and friends - much less "down time" between groups. Please let me know if you did NOT like the multiple set ups... Also, a big "thank you" to our wonderful parent volunteers who help fold programs, manned the doors, and passed out bow-ties and cummerbunds.
Wow! What a great concert on Monday night. I was SO pleased with how everyone played - congratulations to all the young musicians in the Symphonic Band, Chamber Symphony and String Orchestra. We have pictures and will try posting them this weekend. Make sure that you try to attend Thursday's concert (12/16, 7 PM) as well! It will feature our Concert Band, TWO Jazz Bands, Flute Choir and Trombone Choir. We will be using a new set-up that should eliminate down time in between groups!
I have already failed ... it's been 3 days since my last blog. A shout out to all my former students and especially FQMS alumni who performed at the RHHS Concert last night. The groups sounded great! Your hard work and dedication have certainly produced wonderful results! Chamber Symphony had a great rehearsal today; it is truly impressive what our young musicians can accomplish when they focus and work together towards one goal! The Concert Band also sounded especially mature today. I swear that they have come further in the past week than the whole rest of the year. It's all about focus, people!! Focus!!
Okay, I'm already worried ... what if no one cares what I'm thinking? Well, here it goes. We had a good rehearsal in both Concert and Symphonic Band today. We have accomplished so much more this year; I think we may even have our concerts on the day they were scheduled this year! Of course, hopefully there won't be any hospital visits by yours truly, either... I am putting the concert information on this page because so many parents have asked why it isn't on the website. Really, the dates have been on the site since August, but you actually have to click on the "calendar" tab to see it... Anyway, time to get to work on grades... Get those Practice Logs in!!!