School News Round-Up – No Guitar Heroes At CCPS

Clarke County Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Michael Murphy told the Board of Supervisors that with the school budget in the “black” he hopes to continue financial reforms both in the budget planning cycle and by establishing a “carry-over” allowance that will provide the school division with greater control over its annual spending.  In other news, Dr. Murphy said that a school guitar class was canceled over space considerations.

Budget News

Over the past several years Clarke County Public Schools has ended its budget year with significant budget surpluses while simultaneously facing resource challenges that ended the year unfunded. Unspent funds have been traditionally returned to the Board of Supervisors for reprogramming.

Some CCPS staff attribute the surplus funding dilemma to the county’s poor financial management software arguing that lack of real-time fund balance reporting makes efficient budget management nearly impossible.

Dr. Murphy told the Supervisors last week that this year’s budget surplus was expected to be approximately $250K, around one percent of the school’s budget. Murphy proposed that the Supervisors authorize the school division to retain one percent of its budget annually to ease the transition period between yearly budgets rather than returning the funds to the Supervisors each year. Murphy told the Supervisors that his approach will make the budgeting process easier and more predictable in the future.

In other budget related news, Murphy said that the division had received $6K from FEMA for each of the major snowstorms that blanketed the area last winter. Murphy also said that the division was expecting a one time funding infusion from a federal education jobs bill. The division plans to use the money in ways that will not create future annual recurring costs.

Education Programs Update

Dr. Murphy told the Supervisors that due to space requirements CCPS has canceled its Fire Program Class and its Guitar 1 class. Murphy said that 40 students were impacted by the change.

Murphy also said that this will be the last year that band camp will be conducted the week prior to the start of school. Murphy said that in the future all CCPS staff will be required to participate in the school division’s back to school activities.

Currently, four school staff members conduct the off-site band camp near Wardensville, West Virginia and have traditionally been excused from the mandatory back to school activities required for other staff members.

Murphy said that student scheduling has been made more difficult this year due to program eliminations, singletons (courses offered one time only), and staffing challenges.

Comments

  1. Jerry Boyles says:

    Thank you CDN for the article. I was wondering what “back to school activities” would be more important to a marching band director than teaching young musicians how to be a marching band??

    • Looks to me that it’s a scheduling issue. Just change the dates of band camp, that’s all. Then all of the teachers can participate in back to school activities.

      • What week would you suggest? 2 weeks before school? Oh wait, that’s Fair Week. Mid-July? Don’t worry about working families, working students. I agree with Mr. Boyles, what back to school activities would be more important to a marching band director than teaching muscians?

  2. Don Specht says:

    After 36 years at three different local schools I am happy to be free of the pre-service week. Even though well-intentioned most of the time the meetings were pretty much like the bad teaching that these same conclaves were intended to help us avoid … Hours of sitting and listening without the opportunity to participate in a meaningful way.

    Sidebar: I was just talking to a friend and band parent yesterday. I understood his dismay on two levels: Both of my sisters are retired music teachers, and August two-a-day football practices allowed the staff to teach an amazing amount of technique and build team camaraderie. As we were discussing the situation with regard to band camp I couldn’t help but remember that in our last years in the Northwestern District the county administrators imposed a similar guideline on the football staff. No longer could we opt out of the pre-service process in order to prep the players for the coming season.

    We survived, but that’s really not my point. I’d like to see ALL school administrators allow the teaching staff to construct the preservice program and assist in it’s facilitation. I’m certain that the teachers would allow admin at least a half a day to do their important things.

    [removes tongue from cheek, ducks, runs for cover …]

  3. Correct me please if I’m incorrect…but, aren’t teachers on salary? Don’t they get paid all year round? Why not have them come in one week prior to band camp?

    • fair week. That. Won’t. Happen.

    • Teachers are not paid for the summer months. They are salaried for 10 months, although they are allowed to spread that 10 months pay over the entire 12 months in the year. Therefore, going back to school a week early with no extra pay would not be well received.

      • Naked Truth says:

        But isn’t summer break 10 weeks. That’s two and a half months. Do the math…

        • Fly on the wall says:

          A teacher’s contract runs – roughly – from the 1st work day (this year, 8/16 for new hires and 8/17 for everyone else) through June 30 (which helps accommodate an extended year due to inclement weather, etc.). As in most cases, “10 month” or “11 month” is a generally accepted rounding off of the length of the contract. Since teachers don’t get a full 12 weeks off, they don’t get credit for a “9 month contract.”

          Do your research…

          • Naked Truth says:

            I bet they all worked until June 30th too.

          • Fly on the wall says:

            No…June 18th, because – despite missing 11 days – they apparently didn’t need to extend the year.

          • Naked Truth says:

            So they owe us 11 days?

          • Don Specht says:

            To the snarks:

            Classroom teachers work two shifts a week. The day shift runs Monday through Friday when school is in session for about seven hours. Depending on the workload for planning, preparation, and assessment, the night shift usually runs Sunday through Thursday for anywhere between one and five hours. So over a 200-day contract the total hours run between 1600 and 2400 hours, so let’s say the average for a 200-day contract is 2000 hours. When I finished 30 years of service my base salary was about $50k, so that works out to about $25 dollars per day.

            And then there’s the time spent on advanced degree course work, summer workshops, collaborative activities related to staff development, … Most of this time is uncompensated.

            Neither Nancy nor I ever did this for the money … 🙂

          • Don Specht says:

            Oops …

            $25 per hour …

            It wasn’t the math; it was the dimensional analysis. [bseg]

          • Fly on the wall says:

            No, NT, because the year wasn’t lengthened. The school system absorbed 11 snow days because the typical workday is long enough, and the school year has 185 days (5 more than the state minimum), to adequately sastisfy the state requirements.

            BTW…if one looks at the calendar…the last day of school back in June was the 18th for staff (16th for kids). Staff came back to work on August 17th – one day shy of 8 weeks off. Which, when one takes your suggestion and seeks to “do the math,” one finds that they only had 2 months off. Again…do your research.

  4. Teachers get a check all twelve months, but it’s because they’ve taken the salary and cut it into twelve pieces. Most CCPS employees are 10-month personnel; some few are 11, and administrators are twelve-month.

  5. Don Specht says:

    IIRC there are three types of contracts for salaried staff:

    10 month (200 days), 11 month (220 days), and 12 month (240 days). Most teachers who’s only responsibility is classroom teaching are on 10 month lump-sum contracts. I would assume that the band director is in that category, but I am not certain. I also believe that most band directors receive a stipend, very much like the athletic coaches. As far as pay periods the norm on the public side of things to divide the lump sum into 12 parts so the employee receives a check for each month of the year.

    The parent with which I was conferring had the same idea: move the camp back a week. RW has a point with reference to the CC Fair, but better minds than his 🙂 are likely to find an amiable solution. Given the high quality of the current band, I’m thinking that Mr. Curry will find a way.

  6. Bill Bell says:

    Clearly the importance of band camp to the directors and 80 students in the marching band is not well understood. Also note – the district bares no cost associated with it. It is entirely funded by the band students and parents.

    Without the week before school for band camp; And the week before that being CC Fair week, sounds like band camp is dead!! The week before the fair many are still taking vacation and without the full band to learn marching formations and techniques together, it is of little value. Not to mention, all will be forgotten three weeks later when school starts.

    I certainly hope the administration will rethink this mandate. Without the 5 day dawn-to-after dark band camp, these kids will never learn their show in time. What’s high school football without a marching band at halftime?

    The band is not recognized by the district as either a sport or an extracurricular club, and the literally hundreds of hours these kids spend practicing for games and competitions is not acknowledged well anyway. Don’t take away the most productive time they have to make their hometown proud!!

    • The football team doesn’t go away for a week. They roll 2-a-days for a couple weeks, and afternoon practices – on a pretty rough patch o’ turf. And…there doesn’t seem to be any problem with the boys bonding, or finding success in learning the intricacies of the singe-wing offense or the other schemes the coaches come up with.

      • March Time says:

        Yes, but can they run a single wing option play while singing “The Star Spangled Banner”?

        • Fly on the wall says:

          Ummm…if the band is playing, they can’t sing the anthem either, can they?

          • I think he was referring to the band being able to march and play music at the same time. It’s not an easy thing to do. However, if the football coaches had to make changes, then it’s only fair that the band directors do too.

    • [redacted]

      Band camp does not have to take place away from the school and at the parent’s expense when it can be done at the school and have the same effect. I went to high school in northern virginia and we had band camp at the school and we were the best in our region each and every year. We bonded, we worked hard and it showed. We didn’t have to travel out of state to gain this experience. Our band can reach those same accomplishments without having to travel out of state.

      Why is it that “all will be forgotten three weeks later when school starts” if they do not attend the camp in WV? Does that camp hold some magical power that can only be gained by attending this particular location? Please stop with the dramatics. The kids can learn just as much and bond just as much if they attended band camp at the high school.

  7. Kevin Fleck says:

    They should move the band camp to another week. This would allow the camp to continue and the kids will benefit from the experience. Don’t punish the kids because you want to force teachers to attend service activities. Sounds like an opportunity for everyone to make their presence at the Board meetings felt so these people know and hopefully understand the impact or ramifications of their decision about band camp

    • Jerry Boyles says:

      I checked with Camp Pinnacle and the week before ours, Fauquier County has it. The week before that, Warren County has it. Now we are backed into July, and many families are on summer vacations.

  8. Terry Leach says:

    I think Mr Curry should make the decisions for band camp. He has been the best and brightest music director we have ever had and has done a fabulous job with our children. If it ain’t broke, why fix it? Leave the music department to our gifted director and especially band camp. My kids love (and loved) band camp and it enriched their learning in more areas than just music. It gave them discipline, it instilled team work, collaboration, respect for each other, etc… Leave it as is. As for moving it so the teachers can be present for the pre school activities, they are present for pre school activities, they are not out there lounging about, they are working very hard and this is just as, if not more important than any other pre school activities. The school and the program have not been adversely affected by these teachers being excused during band camp in the past.

  9. Band Wallie says:

    Where I went to school, we would have band camp at the High school. The same time football camp took place. There would be a couple of stops throughout the county for the bus to pick us up. The cafeteria would serve lunch to both camps. It lasted two weeks, from 8:00-2:30 right before school started for the year. It was a good time to bond and learn the music and routines. We did not need to go out of state for this. It was a lot cheaper since the football camp was there too. I think it would be a win here as well.
    And if anyone was wondering, we were a single A school that only competed in triple AAA competition. And won every time. It was a great experience. You get what you put in. Mr Curry needs this time with his band.

    • So what’s your point?

      • Don Specht says:

        Seems to me that Band Wallie is proposing a solution.

        • What is it, because I can’t for the life of me figure it out!

          • RW, it doesn’t take a genius to figure out that Band Wallie is trying to offer another solution. I never have understood why Mr. Curry and the band need to travel out of state when he could conduct his band camp here at the high school and save a lot of money for everyone. I know they work a lot of long and hard hours but let’s try to offer a cost effective solution.

          • Band Supporter says:

            You’re a saint, Elmo for being so fired up about the financial well being of the band parents, but I have yet to hear anyone say that band camp was not worth every penny. I think we can manage our own pocketbooks very nicely. Thanks anyway.

            When you were doing band in Northern Virginia, things were different. You probably finished practice, went home, clicked on the Crosley, and after the vacuum tubes warmed up, listened to an episode of “Green Hornet” and then went to bed. These days, a teenager’s world is a whirlpool of distractions. TiVo, Netflix, texting, HDTV, cell phones, twitter, net surfing. None of these are available at the band camp location in WV. Therein lays the value of that location. There is no other purpose from 6:30AM until 11:00PM but music and marching. It is amazing to see young musicians, who have never marched a step in their lives, in a matter of a couple of intensive days, become part of a cohesive team.

            I think the crowds at the opener football game have come to expect a top notch half-time show because, due to the camp training regime, that is the result. It is hard to believe that these students in the show were learning how to take a measured step just two weeks earlier.

          • To be honest, their marching stinks. Have you seen their diagonals, lines, and insteps? And the choice of marching music? I cringe every Apple Blossom when Clarke County band is coming down the street. The other High School bands have great music, uniforms and marching forms. It’s a joke. And with all the distraction you describe they have here, what about the rest of the school year? How do they ever study? Save the monies spent and have the band practice the last two weeks of summer at the High School instead of spending more to go out of state. I don’t see the benefit. This band is not setting and records or winning any band completions. It would be nice to have a trophy from an Apple Blossom parade in the trophy case at the school.

          • “..This band is not setting and records or winning any band completions. It would be nice to have a trophy from an Apple Blossom parade in the trophy case at the school.”

            What kind of records are their for marching band?

            I don’t think the local schools compete in the AB parade anyway, as they shouldn’t, they are the hosts.

            As for not winning any competitions…you obviously have no idea what you’re talking about.

          • April O'Leary says:

            Mr. Mister:
            I’m sorry that you don’t enjoy all the hard work the band kids and their overworked instructors put in every year. But there’s more to marching band than just their diagonal lines. I won’t go into all that marching band or band itself gives the children who partake in it. I will just say that you don’t have to worry about putting any of your money into the program, it’s pretty much self supporting through the band kids and their parents. I will also add that I have children in both sports and band and it’s nice to be around parents and children (in band) who think of it as a group effort and not an individual accomplishment.

          • Thanks for writing a fantasy of my life. I don’t remember you being a part of it, Band Supporter. IF I remember correctly seeing as I was there, your scenario doesn’t ring a bell but thanks for offering your version of my life. This is not about me, so let’s stop trying to spin it and trying to take the focus off of the subject. This is about the band program.

            The distractions that these kids have nowadays should have no bearing on their focus factor. I agree with Mr. Mister about their formation. It really is messy, you should know that seeing as you have attended a few competitions and parades. Let’s compare this band with the others; it really is nothing to brag home about. If the kids were winning competition after competition and bringing home titles, I would say that the camp in WV is worth the time and the money but the reality is they are not. I know they have a passion for music and for the program otherwise they wouldn’t be playing an instrument. I’m not saying they can’t do it-I know these kids and I know they can pull it off. They are a wonderful group of young men and women and they love the band program. I want to see the band program continue because students need an opportunity to play an instrument. I cannot see the justification of sending them to the WV camp each year if they can accomplish the same at the school before school starts.

          • Mr Mister & Elmo are obviously experts at judging marching bands and feel that high schoolers should rival the Marine Corps Old Guard in precision. We’ll I’d love to see you two do what these kids do, and I’d love to see the kids laugh at you as you stumbled accross the field and strained behind your instruments. You hide behind your cute names and criticize 16-18 year olds. Very sad indeed!

            The logic behind “since they aren’t very good, they don’t need to go to camp” is a stunning testament to your ignorance of the many high school competitions these kids bring awards home from each and every year.

            Pick on someone your own age, or are you?

          • Well Mr Bell.How many schools in our area have cut the music and band programs because a lack of interest from the community? Why a lack of interest you might ask? Because the band is nothing to be proud of. I would love it if they were winning competitions. And yes RW, local bands are in the AB parade. Check it out sometime. I do not have a teaching degree, But I would love to offer my services, since I know what I am talking about. BTW Bell, they are competing against other High schools. Maybe you should check it out too.

          • I didn’t say the local bands weren’t in the parade, I said the local bands don’t COMPETE in the parade. It wouldn’t be very hospitable to the other bands that travel long distances.

            If you’re so smart, why don’t you go look at the trophy cases for the band by the band room in the HS. Yes, I said trophy CASES, plural. Take a gander at all the trophies they won last season alone.

          • Mellophone player says:

            hey Elmo you should try it and dont you even begin to dare question Mr. Bell considering his own daughter was the Drum major for over 3 years. [redacted] you arn’t giving advice you are criticizing a thing that has put Clarke County on the map, when we compete at the Northern States championships people know about Clarke through the marching band, NOT THE FOOTBALL TEAM [redacted] when you have no idea what you are talking about.

          • You obviously were never in a marching band, because if you were, you would know that band is not about winning $5 trophies, but about playing good music with good people.

  10. Let’s face it–no one likes inservice days. It’s no wonder the [redacted] has figured out a way out of it and the other work days as well.

  11. Allan "Bugs" McWilliams says:

    I have heard the band perform @ the Memorial Day services and they do a great job. People can find fault with a free lunch in Clarke County.

    • Watching a marching band in bell bottoms attempting an 80s disco song in a parade is not my thing. RW,even if they are not competing, how about a little effort? A straight line, keep in step. This is why I don’t support them. Or should I just half support them?

      • Get over yourself. That was 2 years ago, and they had fun with it. So did a lot of other folks, it was something different. Even Barry Lee loved it!

        I’m beginning to think you’re an EAA supporter who has a big chip on your shoulder now because the HS Admins blamed you guys for the band not being allowed to sell magnets at the football game.

        • Wow…this has turned into quite the digital turf war. You’d think a bunch of middle schoolers were on here, talkin smack.

          The band is very good, and the directors have built it in the head director’s image – a drummer who marches. Are they perfect? No, but not for a lack of practicing: band camp, 2+ hours every school day afternoon, in addition to schlepping to competitions near and far. Same for drumline. Given the hours demanded of them, they don’t have much time to do other things; a few can, sure, but it’s tough. But, to borrow from “A League of Their Own,” “it’s supposed to be hard. If it were easy, everyone would do it. The hard is what makes it great.”

          Do they support other forms of orchestra? Depends on who ya talk to. The string ensemble lasted one year, but was supported by a staff member (no longer with the county) after only 1 year. Does that mean that there wouldn’t be interest in such a thing? Sure there would be. But, it takes time, and resources, and a dedicated staff member to build a program. Just as athletics have benefitted from dedicated teachers and parents, so too the band, and – lately – the theatre program. Same with FFA and DECA and Yearbook.

          The rub’s in finding kids to be involved. Given that CCHS is a small pool of talent, the kids are pulled in many directions.

          Seriously, though, the bickerin needs to stop. Egos and attitudes abound on all sides of the arguments, and all that is accomplished is a deeper resentment and fracture between the two.

          • Band Supporter says:

            Thank you, Just. After all the back and forth, it is the band students who make this program. It serves no purpose to ridicule their performances. We adults could learn a little from their complete focus and dedication to a goal.

          • And they do need support from the community. Ask the Redskins how perfomance affects community support. Sounds like we are all homers, but there comes a time when reality sets in. I don’t like cheering for half-hearted performances. Wheather it be from the band or the directors. There is also a thread about the band’s fund raising. How do they expect full community support when this is the effort the give? Just a thought.
            PS we all like winners.

          • Then do everyone a favor, go to the restroom while the band is on the field and let the folks who care about the band enjoy the performance. You obviously are full of something that needs to be eliminated.

          • “…The band is very good, and the directors have built it in the head director’s image – a drummer who marches. ….”

            What’s that supposed to mean? Talk about a middle schooler talking smack?

  12. Ok, let’s compare apples to apples….

    Here is CCHS Halftime Show:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KfSNHSColJE&feature=related

    Let’s note the obvious:
    1. They read music-all music should be memorized
    2. They are all out of step
    3. The crowd is talking over them. They don’t seem too interested in the performance.

    Now lets look at another school:

    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Z0O5UKD8Xj4

    This was my band-I am in this. Hear the crown talking? Nope-they are paying undivided attention to us.
    Are we reading music? Nope. All memorized but I guess it’s because we didn’t have twitter, Wii’s text messages, etc, huh.

    After seeing this ask yourself why the CCHS band is not being lead to shoot for consistency and perfection. I’m not saying Mr. Curry and Mr. Abell do not do a good job. We know they do but I wonder why they do not set the bar higher for the band. It can be done.

    When my kids are out of the school system, I will be glad to reveal myself but not now. They do not need the repercussions.

    • APPLES Elmo?

      Mt. Vernon HS (1,800 students) at a late season marching band competition, where every spectator is there only to see bands compete, and the video is professionally shot from the press box.

      CC HS (800 students) at an early season football game, where band is not the focus, and the video is home made and shot from the middle of the bleachers.

      Wow? We are as proud of your lost glory as your ability to distinguish apples from oranges?

      • Spin it anyway you want to Mr. Bell. The comparison between the two schools merely shows how the bar has been lowered more and more as the years go by. Ask yourself why the band members are not held up to a higher standard and expect a better performance. Let’s get them off of reading their music on the field, let’s get them to take more pride in their field appearance.

        Why do people have to make excuses? Again, hear me when I say the kids are great! I know each and every one of them and I know how passionate they are about the band program. They deserve the recognition as a class act but with the lack of leadership they will continue to be seen as a mediocre group.

        • Don’t you dare make negative comments about the band adn then say how you know each and every one of them. Why don’t you, since you are such an insider, come to a band practice and witness, firsthand, the hard work and dedication that we all give for two to three hours after school. You obviously know nothing at all about the band program at the highschool and therefore have no right to voice your deeply incorrect and uninformed opinion. Frankly sir, your unabashed ignorance fills me with disgust.

        • No Sesame Street, YOU’RE spinning it by linking to a video of a halftime football game performance for one school while linking to another video of a Marching Band Competition for another. Those are 2 very different scenarios. We can even take it a step further….Did Mt. Vernon HS have Marching Band tryouts? What category/class does Mt. Vernon HS compete in versus a band the size of CCHS?

          Mr. Curry and Mr. Abell have built a program that was virtually non-existent to what it is today. They rely on fundraising and donations more than any other organization in CCPS. 2 years ago, they were snubbed by the CCEF because of a “post office timestamp issue”, and who was one of the CCEF board members that refused to allow the band’s request because of a 1 day post office delay??? I’ll give you a hint….she’s in both the EAA and CCEF.

          That’s my beef.

          • Jules Winnfield says:

            That’s an interesting story about a technicality. Is there any evidence that this actually happened? Many people on this forum have been involved in both organizations. What say you?
            Rantings or Truth?

          • Yup. It’s the truth. Ask the directors.

          • Jules,

            Apparently there are certain people who don’t know the proper forum or method to air their grievances. They would rather hide behind anonymity in order to spread their destructive message in order to bring good people down.

            Disgusting …

          • Well, when the proper channels shut you down, you have to get creative in getting your message out. The truth is out there, you just have to get to the right people who know it.

            It’s a shame that CDN continues to allow personal attacks on me, but censors anything I might say that could be considered a personal attack.

            CDN Editor: The ideal situation would be for contributors to refrain from including personal attacks in their comments in the first place.

          • Naked Truth says:

            It’s a shame that CCHS is influenced by people with personal agendas.

        • Mellophone player says:

          you do not know us, because if you did yo wouldn’t make the comments that you have made

    • freshbandgeek says:

      Elmo sir,
      I don’t know where you are getting your facts from. Saying that the marching band is using their music on the field, I don’t see that at all. Sometimes in band, you have people moving at half time, double time, or whatever. Like Mr. Bell said, you have taken a video from the early season of marching. Yes, it could be a lot better, but that was the beginning. I’m sure your band wasn’t perfect either. Us band kids practice for 2+ hours every day. We put a lot of dedication and hard work in it. Also, with the video from the CC game, it is shot from the middle of the stands where people will be talking. From your band, it is shot in the press box where it limits some of the noise. I’m sure that people were talking and being rude during your performance too.
      Before you go and open your mouth about the band, why don’t you get your ‘true’ facts actually right.

      • Fresh, you need to rethink your opening salvo. When numerous band members have music stands clipped to their instruments, that clearly shows that they rely on their music; the % can be debated, but the presence of the music clips undercuts your argument.

      • http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FJ3NNU7apus

        Looks like reading music to me!

        • freshbandgeek says:

          That’s a parade playing PEPTUNES. We use them during the football game and for any parade. WHO CARES?

        • Mellophone Player says:

          hey Elmo those flip folders are for PEP tunes we use them for PARADES so get over yourself and realize that the music we play for parades isnt memorized because we choose not to memorize it

          • William James says:

            I think you’ve just proved Their point. “we choose not to memorize it”? Then why go out of state for band camp for two weeks? What do you do there? I guess we’ll have to look at Facebook for that answer.
            Stop making excuses for reading music in parades and during halftime. Stop making excuses for not marching in step. Just give us a good show. Make the hair on our necks stand up as you march by. That’s what we want.

          • Mellophone Player says:

            we dont use music during half time?! what are you blind? we use the flip folders during parades ONLY and thats because our season is over and we dont want to memorize anything… so seriously if you have a problem with a group cut the cheerleading squad… they haven’t won anything EVER

    • Mellophone Player says:

      dude that band [redacted] … you really have no idea about marching bands do you

      • William James says:

        I don’t know. Maybe you should watch again. I don’t see music holders. I see straight lines.

        • Mellophone Player says:

          i also see a show that was at the end of the season not the beginning and i also see a competition not a parade which is what you guys showed for our marching band

  13. adults sometimes have too many obese opinions

  14. Kids sometimes do not like to hear the truth.

  15. Elmo (shows the mindset in the choice of an alias) should understand that Bill Bell put you in your place, and you should not make comments in regards to childrens/teens learning imprefections, they are going in the right direction by putting in hard work and dedication, I think they rocked at the last game and everyone around me was paying attention and enjoying the music. Our teachers are doing the best they can, good grief have you been to any of the other games recently apples to apples OUR BAND ROCKS THEM OUT OF THE HOUSE !!!!

    • April O'Leary says:

      Trish I wholeheartedly agree with you! And in my humble opinion if the kids are actually reading the music, while marching in step and moving in formation they are far more coordinated than any of us. All this bickering has to stop! As you stated these are kids and teens between the ages of 14-18. I’d rather they march and play music while reading it than knock down mailboxes and hang out in town after curfew.

      Let’s just let the kids be kids and for the moment happy with who they are.

    • It’s just like everything else in Clarke County. “just dumb it down”. Why try harder?

    • Small town mentality….that won’t get you too far outside of your safe haven here in Clarke.

      Let’s see how far that sort of mentality lasts when the kids are grown and out on their own and out of Clarke County. Don’t you want the kids to reach their full potential? What sort of favors are you or any teachers doing these kids when they are allowed to do the minimum and skate right by without setting higher standards? No wonder kids nowadays do not understand hard work, perseverance and sacrifice-because parents sugar coat everything and make excuses for them.

      Yeah, I was put in my place-I’m crying buckets!

      • Right, so if you think you can do better, why don’t you get out from behind your computer and show the band up? I bet the entire band would enjoy the sight of you tripping across the field playing wrong notes into the ground. Don’t forget your water bottle! It gets hot during 2 hour practices!

        • Band Player says:

          i support Big Bird. i would love to see you guys lateral slide at 148bpm, while playing an instrument, in the heat, in the direct sunlight, while marching in 9/8…. trust us we know what we can do and what we need and we absolutely need band camp

          • No one is saying you can’t have band camp. Of course you need a band camp but band camp can be accomplished with the same outcome if it was held at the high school and not in WV.

            Be careful what you wish for-all us “old folks” might just show you all up!

          • Band Player says:

            Bring it on we have practice this Friday at 3:25 behind the high school on the Marching field show up so we can show you have difficult it actually is….. and thats right its a FRIDAY BEFORE a competition…. now tell us that we don’t work hard because we could be just like you sitting at home on a computer complaining about a bunch of kids….

            who’s the child in this argument?

  16. Good morning!

    I like to share that one of my children attends a private school that marches in the Apple Blossom Parade each year and guess what? They read their music. And you know what else? They have also consistently earned first place for as long as my son has attended (in truth, as long as anyone can remember). In addition they were personally invited to perform at the NRA convention this past year and also have been invited back again, sharing the stage with The Charlie Daniels Band and many other top notch performers.

    Why the aside? Because my son got his start at DG Cooley with Mr. Greg Curry. He learned how to read and play music. He learned to keep time by tapping his toe inside his shoe. He forever earned the nickname “Taco Neck” too. He also learned that music is where he may not be the best kid out there, he may need to rely on his sheets but his heart and effort pays off. He is a happy guy on his saxophone.

    And this is just one of my children, I have been blessed that Mr. Curry and Mr. Abell brought music to two of my other children as well. My daughter is an accomplished flutist, self-taught on saxophone, dabbles in bass guitar all at the encouragement of Mr. Curry and Mr. Abell. My middle son not only is in band at CCHS, but also is a football player! There is no division of loyalty in this household, we support both organizations equally.

    I am not the only parent who’s children have benefited from Mr. Curry and Mr. Abell’s fantastic skill as music educators. A recent grad is attending the Harvard of music schools, others have gone to pursue music education and bring talents back to Clarke County Schools.

    My hat will forever be tipped to Mr. Curry and Mr. Abell, I am thankful for their guidance and devotion outside of the classroom to assist my children and others in their time with Clarke County.

  17. Mellophone player says:

    Hey Elmo we Use the music clips for in the stands for pep tunes, and the music is fantastic our own Doctor of Music Dr. Ryan Keebaugh wrote the music for this year if you have a problem with it you need to understand that this past weekend we won fourth out of 6 with only a 3 point difference between us and the 1st place trophy. you also must understand that we do NOT compete in the Apple Blossom parade, being a Junior is the Band Program i can tell you now that you do not know what you are talking about [redacted]

    Mr. Curry has done more for this music program than anyone i know, and although he can be difficult he has always put together a show worth performing and let me tell you now if you dont think this is a cool show you are blind or deaf… but then again…. you are a children’s show character.

  18. Oh shucks..should have said…Mr. Mark Curry in 5th grade…you do have the same bday!

  19. I’m sorry but if I went to high school with a band like that, I would be embarrassed.
    It’s not the kids fault. But the director’s. They are the ones in charge. They are the ones to tell them to march in straight lines and to man up and memorize their music.
    Bands all over the country do it. Clarke’s should be no exception.
    They don’t win anything and no one takes them seriously.
    Shouldn’t that be a sign.
    Guess its all about fun and games to them.

    • freshbandgeek says:

      The band directors give us a very hard time on memorizing music and making straight lines, but you don’t get the point. This is the beginning of the season, there is room to improve. Marching band isn’t about making straight lines or diagonals or about the forms. It’s not even about the music. Us band kids have fun doing what we’re doing, even if we don’t win first place. I don’t think it’s right to criticize something that you’ve never done. I’d like to see half of you on the field with us everyday practicing. It’s not as easy as it may look.

  20. Well, well, well. Looks like the EAA folks are now out to attack the band because the HS Administration blamed the EAA for not allowing the band to sell magnets at the football games. And the HS Admin says nothing….not even an apology for causing this mess. This is why folks like me bring up issues in this forum, because the School Administrators do nothing but hide their heads in the sand when they are asked to do their jobs.

  21. In my opinion, the fact that there are opportunities for teens to participate in good, structured activities is what is important. Build up teens. Find something good or encouraging to say to them, even if it is just as simple as saying hello with a smile. Choose to make a difference for the better. I think rather than tearing down the athletics, band, FFA, DECA, Robotics, or any other youth just trying to discover their place and purpose in this world, it would be more beneficial to spend some time pondering our own performance.

  22. @ Mr Mister. You don’t have any room to put down a hard working band like ours.

  23. Jaremy Leach says:

    Some of you are disgusting. This particular brand of ‘keyboard courage’ is pathetic and cowardly. Don’t sit behind your monitor and cast aspersions on children who work hard to entertain our community (I know, I’m a CCHS band alum, and so are many of my friends and family). They put in hundreds of hours of work and physical effort to hone their skill and learn these sophisticated pieces, all in the midst of satisfying (and typically exceeding) CCHS academic standards. These are bright, talented, and hard-working kids who merely want to perform and entertain our community.
    And all you have for them is spite and venomous disappointment. I am stupefied at those who claim they are embarassed by the CCHS band’s public performances. I, for one, am more embarrassed and ashamed that you detractors and malcontents are such a vocal part of the community I love so dearly. There is excuse for any adult to tell any of these children that what they do is not good and worthy. Further, there is no reason to assert, by implication, that their teachers, faculty, cadre, and instructors are deficient. Folks like Mark Curry inspire these kids. (Again, I would know, I was one of them). And their inspiration and individual challenges to our abilities help us actualize our potential in later life. I account for much of my considerable success by crediting educators from CCHS. My hat is off to the CCHS band, they polish talent and nurture ability.
    Larger, better funded band programs may march straighter or memorize music, but who cares?? How many of those larger schools’s students double as valedictorian of their class and first chair floutists? (My class’ valedictorian was). How many of them compete in VHSL drama competitions (I did) and edit the literary magazine (I did) and the newspaper (I did) and still made practice every day to perform for you folks? Don’t be so quick to judge children and young adults who work as hard as these kids. To do so is caustic and just plain wrong.

  24. Justin Allen says:

    I have a hard time imagining the size of a person necessary to house the ego it takes to dump on the efforts of good, hardworking kids and talk about revealing your identity once your kids are off to college. Nice job, champ. Hiding behind your monitor and using your children as a second line of defense for your comments. Your argument that people like to see winners and should have money cut until results are given? I bet you didn’t feel that way when taxpayer money was squandered to build an addition to the weight room for all those sports teams that posted several very laughable losing seasons. You’re a sad, sad excuse for a human being, my friend. You realize you’re picking on children, don’t you? CHILDREN. And they’re GOOD KIDS at that.

    Throw in your two cents on the salaries of the instructors all you like. They’re adults and are more than capable of defending themselves against the attacks of cowards. But don’t pick a fight with kids who are working hard to put out a good product, whether or not it meets your tremendous expectations of what a Band should be.

    Make no mistake, I am calling each of you out. Should any of you choose to sit down and have a talk about any of this, I’d be more than glad to let you know when I return to the area. We could discuss it over a cup of coffee. Hell, even over a beer or two. My treat.

    As for moving band camp back to the High School, could anyone blame the kids or staff for wanting to get away from this garbage for a week? Even if it is in the sticks in West Virginia? God knows I would. It’s most certainly a big reason I moved from the area with zero intent of returning for any length of time. Constant ridicule and negativity spewed forth by cowards who have more than likely never done anything of value to anybody.

    Signed,
    Justin Wayne Allen
    Clarke County High School Class of 2000 Graduate
    Proud friend of the CCHS Screamin Eagle Band.

    Who are you?