Hello Mav Band and Guard Family,

I hope this email finds everyone safe and healthy, and I hope the recent days have been at least somewhat restful. I anticipate many of our lives have changed dramatically since we last saw each other and I feel for those families who must find ways to keep going. My hope is that our community, including families, schools, employers, small businesses, churches, charities, etc. come together to help everyone in need.

Remember, little things are big things. You can bring joy to someone for a moment with a call, text, and WITH YOUR MUSIC! You have the power to brighten someone’s day by yourself or with your friends. I urge you to collaborate with each other with your music. Share with each other and with loved ones. This is when our art is most important.

Students, I speak for all the directors when I say we miss you. We miss making music with you and we miss telling each other, “good morning.” We miss the constant commotion and conversation in the band hall. We miss the smiles and laughter. So much of our daily sanity and happiness require our daily interactions with each other and we are sad we can’t see you now. We didn’t get a proper send-off into an extended break, especially with the seniors.

I feel like I have not had a break since this past week as we have been preparing for an entirely new kind of curriculum and a new kind of learning experience. We will get back at it as soon as we get the green light from the district administration.  If you are anything like me, you are chomping at the bit to return to our past routine and what was normal before the social distancing. Obviously, our version of normal will not be exactly the same in the future, but we must adapt to our current situation and make the most of our time together.

We will continue preparing our concert programs as long as RRISD plans on returning to school. You should still prepare your solos and we will have online learning (in some form or fashion) as soon as we are allowed. We will also introduce the marching show as soon as we can, too. We hope to utilize ZOOM, Flipgrid, SmartMusic, Google Classroom, and any other platform we can to continue growing and to have a strong finish to the year. Mr. Muñoz has set up SmartMusic and Flipgrid for the program and we will get you information on how to enroll as soon as we are allowed. Mr. McCarthy will have plans for the guard for the rest of the year as well.

** Private lesson teachers are teaching online and I recommend continuing with them weekly if your budget still allows. We will not compromise our standard of performance and we expect you to work your best to grow. I mean, you have a LOT more time to practice, right? 😛

The directors will communicate later regarding the leadership process. Continue preparing your marching and teaching as best you can, as we will still have an audition of some sort. Paperwork will be submitted electronically with more information forthcoming. Dates are flexible and will be communicated as soon as we have a more solid understanding of what the next few weeks will look like.

Please reach out to your 8th-grade buddies and check on how they’re doing. In times of unsteadiness, music is one of the forces of strength and happiness when people cannot express through their words. Let them know we are still excited to see them in the McNeil Band and we will do the same. It’s important they know this community is here for them.

We can’t wait until we can see and talk to you all again. Until then, keep music in your routine and create as many positive experiences as you can in this extended break. We can’t wait to hear about them all. We love you all.

Jason Dimiceli

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