Why should I participate in Newport Band?
The Newport Band is a diverse program with enough options and choices for every student to find a place. The band regularly has over 200 members with four concert band classes, two jazz bands, a percussion ensemble, and a competitive marching band. Students who stick with our program graduate ready and able to participate in any of our regions collegiate music programs. Music making is fun and engaging for students, and can help balance a rigorous academic schedule by introducing challenging artistic and creative experiences into their day. In addition, students are offered numerous opportunities to travel and perform throughout the year.
Perhaps more importantly, our students often report a sense of belonging that is rarely felt in any other classroom setting. Band provides high school students with a group of like-minded, dedicated people all working towards common goals. Through shared experiences, our students form important relationships with other young people that helps give them a place in the school community. These social connections help ground students in their high school experience and beyond.
What does a typical year look like for a Newport Band student?
Every August, students come back a bit early from summer to start Band Camp. Competitive Band meets for two full weeks, usually all day. Pep Band members meet for less time. Once Band Camp is over, the school year begins in September.
During the fall, students enrolled in any of our band classes prepare music for Pep Band which is used for athletic events and assemblies. Pep Band students perform this music during football games while Competitive Band students perform the half-time show. We conclude this part of the season after the last home football game.
The remainder of the year divides roughly into three concert performance seasons – winter, spring, and end of year. There is one concert during each season that each student is expected to prepare and participate in as well as one or more other festivals that we attend during the year. Most often these extra festivals are in the spring.
From year to year, certain opportunities – like trips and festivals – may become available to us. We are looking for fun and educational opportunities to provide to our students every year so the specifics of our schedule vary annually. The directors send home clear documentation outlining the annual schedule in the fall of each year.
What are the different classes that are offered for Newport Band?
What’s the difference between Competitive Band and Pep Band?
Students choose which group they would like to participate in. Traditionally, Competitive Band is the format that Newport has been doing for many years. Students in this group are expected to attend after school rehearsals, prepare and memorize a seven to ten minute show on the field, and attend several weekend competitions in order to perform and be scored against other bands in our region. For football games, these students are required to perform in the half-time show, and are then dismissed.
Pep Band students are all students that elected to not participate in the Competitive Band. These students are not required to attend any extra rehearsals or competitions. Instead, these students are required to attend every home football game during the fall. Their performance includes marching down to the field, performing the national anthem, and playing Pep Band music in the stands intermittently during the game with dismissal after the game conclusion. This is an option intended for students that are too busy or do not enjoy the competitive marching band experience and it is more similar to what many other programs do in our region.
What if I’m an athlete?
We have many athletes participating in our band program. We have effective policies in place in our district that help us navigate how to coordinate conflicts with our coaches. No matter the conflict, the directors will work with you and your family to make sure the student can stay in band all four years of high school.
What do I do if I don’t own an instrument?
Newport High School owns many instruments that you can rent for the term of a school year for $50. Instruments are also available for rent over the summer for $20. These instruments are often limited to the extended instrumentation needed for a high school wind ensemble (tubas, French horns, bass clarinets, bassoons) and instruments necessary for marching band (mellophones, sousaphones). Some instruments are not as readily available as others. If you have a specific concern or question, please email a director.
Do I have to take private lessons?
There are no requirements for private lessons to participate in the Newport Band program. Philosophically, we don’t want any unreasonable barrier that prevents people from participating in our classes. The band program has a place for every student to feel challenged and have their needs met.
Private lessons do have a very positive correlation with students’ instrumental success. Many students that audition successfully for Wind Ensemble are taking private lessons. However, all students are auditioned based on the merits of their performance only, not their status with a private music teacher. If you’re interested in seeking out music lessons, we have a list of local music teachers.
What does it cost to participate in band at Newport?
Our annual fees are always being adjusted to help maintain an operating budget for the Newport Band Parents Association (NBPA). For example, during the 2016-17 school year, students pay $65 for an ASB card, a minimum of $25 for the transportation fee, and $100 for the Newport Band Parent Association (NBPA) fee. These fees cover basic expenses for our year, including but not limited to bus transportation, uniform costs, cleaning and maintaining uniforms, and some equipment needs. Additionally, students in Competitive Band pay $50 extra in additional transportation for the number of busses we use in the fall during marching season.
Students opting to go on optional trips need to pay extra to cover the cost of their participation. The information and costs for these trips are conveyed over the course of the year as these opportunities arise.
How can parents get involved?
The easiest way to get involved is to attend performances! Check our calendar and come listen to the band perform, either at a home concert or out on the football field. Showing interest in your student’s music career can go a long way in encouraging them to stay involved.