Wednesday 14 September 2022

Welcome Back

 Welcome to (or welcome back to)  Band at Westwood!


Apologies in advance for the long e-mail,


It's all been a bit of a blur, but we are off to a fantastic start to another amazing year in the Westwood band program.  I thought I would send a quick e-mail home to welcome you to the start of this year and to give you a few details about our plans and our program.


For those of you new to the program, you have heard correctly that we have no practice policy here at Westwood. I also strongly discourage students from bringing their instruments home. The band room is open every day from 7 in the morning till 4:00 PM, And all students are welcome to use this room at their leisure.  During that time they are encouraged to come here into the band room and get any of the help they need from me. If they'd like to look over some of their parts you are more than welcome to grab one of the six practice rooms and hammer away at anything that's bothering them.  That said, there are going to be those times when they would like to take it home and I am totally OK with that.




Something new for the year in concert band is that all students will be working with different versions of the same method book. I have purchased copies for everybody and I'm excited to work with our students through all three books in this series. There is an app that goes with the series so I strongly encourage them to download this app onto their devices.   Concert Band is the flagship of our program and we look to make students absolutely shine during their performances and competitions.  Further to this idea, we ask that all students play on the best reeds they possibly can.  As these reeds can be very expensive,  I sell them at a significant loss here in the band room for $2 a reed.  That said, I will happily give students a read if they do not have $2.  As well, for those of you new to our program, our concerts are a lot of fun and also very formal.  Preparations leading up to this event are very specific… all of the concert attendance requirements, program information and our uniform policy can be found on the band website.  


I am also very pleased to announce the return of the Manitoba band association family of festivals. This music festival was formally known to many people as the optimist international band festival.  all three of our concert bands will compete at this prestigious event in February.


Also, you can keep up to date with the band program by joining us on Instagram - @bandatwestwood  or on the band website –  Here you will find everything you need to know about our program.




I've had a chance to meet with all of my classes a couple times now and it looks like we're going to be in fantastic shape moving forward into the year.  The only classes that have not had a chance to meet yet are jazz band classes.  The Rouge road Renegades begins tomorrow morning at 7:20 AM and meets on even days. This dynamic jazz band is filled with all of our beginning and intermediate members.  This is the perfect spot to learn what jazz band is all about and I'm very excited that we have so many people slated to come to practice tomorrow.   I have extended an open invitation to all of the members of the concert band to get involved in this exciting opportunity, even if they have yet to register for the course.  Once we get our roster settled I will let the office know and they will be placed into the appropriate class.  and, just in case you're curious, jazz band is a separate course with full credit toward graduation…. and university entrance (I might also add).


Our other jazz ensemble, warrior jazz, meets on odd days at 7:20 AM. This ensemble is made-up of our advanced intermediate and advanced students.  Jazz at Westwood is not divided by grade , but by ability; consequently, we have a representation of almost all grades in both bands that meets the needs of our diverse population.


Both these jazz ensembles will be competing at the Manitoba Band Association Jazz Festival in the beginning of March – see dates below.


If you haven't heard already, I will be sending some information home with your son or daughter tomorrow or Friday about the possibility of one or both bands attending the Brandon Jazz Festival in March and/ or competing at nationals in Niagara Falls in May. Look for that letter coming home either Thursday or Friday this week, as there will be a meeting at 6:30 PM in the band room on Monday the 19th to discuss the possibility of both these exciting events.




Unfortunately, we simply ran out of time last year to upload all of the concert and its amazing music making. We are hard to work again on the videos and they should be uploaded to YouTube by the end of the month.  I have already personally seen the footage and it is simply spectacular. I know you're going to be blown away yet again when you have a chance to revisit it shortly.


IMPORTANT DATES:  (Mark your calendars)


Sept. 19th - Meeting in the band room for jazz parents and students at 6:30 PM.


Feb. 8th -  Winter Band Concert – 6:30PM in the gym.  All three concert bands and both jazz bands will perform this night.


Feb. 21 – 24 – Manitoba Band Association Family Festival - specific dates and times will be discussed as we get closer to competition time.


March 3 and 4 – Manitoba Band Association Jazz Festival - specific dates and times will be discussed as we get closer to competition time.


March 15 – 17 – Proposed Jazz Band tour to compete at the Brandon Jazz Festival.


April 17 – For the Love of the Arts - this art celebration will feature something from all of the arts department at Westwood including one concert band and one jazz band. Which group wins this prestigious honour will be determined later on in the year.


April 18 - this is the proposed date for the family concert that will involve music making from students in our family of schools from kindergarten all the way to grade 12.  Stay posted for more information on this exciting night.


May 17-20 – Proposed Jazz Band tour to compete at Nationals in Niagara Falls.


May 30 – Final Band Concert 6:30PM in the gym


May 31 – Final Jazz Band Concert at 6:30PM in the Theatre.


Did I miss something?  Need more info?  .. you can always contact me at the info below.


Looking forward to another great year of music Making!

Playing a musical instrument good for brain health

  The study found playing keyboard instruments was particularly beneficial for brain health Playing a musical instrument or singing could he...