I am the Backpack Middle School Band Director in a beautiful Hoosier town with high standards.  Beautiful, that is, if you like big skies, bean fields, country kids, corn, and community, which I do.

I also teach General Music classes to 7th and 8th graders, though there is a rumor that next year they will be 6th and 7th graders.  I guess the decision depends on budget cuts and staffing needs.

The 425 students of BMS are snugly situated chronologically and physically between the elementary and high school in three connected buildings running from south to north.  It takes 8 minutes more or less to walk the circuit from the elementary office to the high school office and back again.  And during the winter months it is common to see students, teachers, and townspeople doing just that before and after school, though the students are more likely to be running.  They use the halls as a sort of indoor conditioning track for cross-country, wrestling, and about seven other sports.

Our band program is small but proud.  This year we have about 70 students in the three grades.  There are two bands divided into four classes.  The Cadet Band has 6th and 7th grade beginners, and the Concert Band has 7th and 8th grade advanced students.

This time of year we are focused on getting ready for contest.  To be accurate, it is called the Band Festival since we are only competing against ourselves.  But with three judges scoring our performances as Gold, Silver, Bronze, or if things go really badly, “Participation” (which I like to call “Dirt”), it feels like a competition.  Each band will be playing three pieces, with the Cadet Band performing in the Group IV difficulty category (on a scale of I to V, with I being the most difficult), while the Concert Band is entered in Group I.  As for how we will do, thanks to an unusually mild winter, I think the Backpack Bulldog Bands are in pretty good shape.  So…

Wish us well!


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