Friday, August 14, 2020

Tomorrow will be the last day of preseason rehearsals.

Tomorrow will be the last day of preseason rehearsals.
The kids have done such a nice job this week in spite of the restrictions under which we have had to work. Our administrators continue to be helpful and supportive of this really cool thing we have built together.
Because of limitations imposed by state mandate, we will not be able to give a public “performance” at the end of camp as we normally do, but finishing the final rehearsal and just walking away doesn’t feel quite right, either.
So, at 3:30, each “half of a band” will give a quick review of what they have learned and accomplished this week. I will take some video and post it online, and there will also be a live feed of the final run-through.
In the past we have had the kids wear “summer uniform,” but because of the circumstances and the heat, I have asked the kids to wear the following for the taping:
* Band polo (freshmen will get theirs at lunch tomorrow)
* Dark-colored shorts or pants. I would *prefer* that it is not denim, so *if* you have ANYTHING other than denim, please wear it.  Kids will have time to change clothes if they wear something different.
* We should be done with the taping no later than 4:00 PM
I would like to thank the parents that volunteered their time this week and would also like to thank
Matt Nabozny
Robert Krueger
Meghan Wilton
, and
Alysse Marie
Armstrong for sharing their talents with our students this week.
Please finish paying for camp if you have not done so, already. The kids had really nice lunches and we also have some instructional fees to pay.
Starting next week, and until we hear otherwise, we will begin our fall rehearsal schedule:
Tu - 6:00 PM - 9:00 PM
Th - 2:30 PM - 5:15 PM
Please congratulate your kids on a very nice week. I am grateful that I have had the opportunity to work with them again.
E. Senkmajer

Friday, August 7, 2020

Updates on Rehearsals

 Next summer update, much repeated, some extended:

1. OUR REHEARSALS HAVE BEEN WONDERFUL! So many new faces, so many faces that I’ve missed! Many people are working very hard to preserve this really cool thing we have built together. We move forward with the understanding that things can always change, again… and again. *I* am not willing to just throw ups my hands and give up, and neither are so many other students and families.
2. I would like to continue to thank the school district, the school board, and the District and building administrators for their work in helping to preserve the programs we have in place, and for their efforts in digging through the sometimes conflicting information from the state, and oft-changing regulations regarding how we can get our programs back up and running. Besides up-to-date and developing health information guiding these decisions, some of this is being adjudicated in courts. Please continue to be flexible as we all work to keep the students safe and the programs thriving.
3*. Fall Sports continue work outs this summer. I'm as excited as you to see some student life being breathed back into the Port Huron Northern campus. There are still many restrictions in place for how we are going to be running school-related activities. At this point, we still cannot have any rehearsals indoors. We also have to keep our numbers below 100 at a time. As you know, we have a nice size Band program. This, for now, presents another interesting challenge: how do we rehearse our nice-sized band under those types of restrictions? I had a meeting with admin on Tuesday to make sure we are operating within guidelines. The alternative is that we don’t move forward.
3a*. At this time, we plan on splitting the band in half for both marching and music rehearsals with the hope that at some point in the future, we will be able to put both groups together for performances. Half the band will be rehearsing on the practice field (with masks), the other half will be in music rehearsal on another part of campus (masks at the ready for when you are not playing)
3b*. We will have to eat lunch in 2 different shifts.
3d. Arrive 15 minutes early for your designated rehearsal time to begin health screening
3e*. I have been told that in the numbers we will have and the current restrictions, masks will need to be on the kids’ faces during marching, and ready to go in-between playing.
3g*. During summer workouts for the athletes and summer rehearsals for the band, we will continue making the effort to keep distance between students to limit exposure. Once we had done it once, we had an easier time making the distancing more-consistent in the following rehearsal. We keep encouraging “beyond fingertips” and staggered lines. When out of the field, students will be in 4 step (4x22.5”=7.5 feet) spicing.
3h. In addition to the health screenings, we take a few minutes in-between each rehearsal grouping and wipe down chairs and the stands that were used. Students can choose to stand and use flip-folios to limit contact with items others might have touched.
4. Music for The Incredibles as well as other music will be made available at the practices (It already sounds SO good!).
5. Kids, never underestimate how much your parents, friends worry about you. For that reason, as well as because of the shifting guidelines and regulations for activities such as these, because of the financial hardship the overall situation has placed on many families, every band program of which I am personally aware as well as almost every one of the thousands of HS marching bands across the country has chosen to forego an "away" camp and has, instead, planned on running extended rehearsals during what was previously to be their band camp week. We will be doing the same for this 2020 season.
6. There will be a small charge associated with this at-school camp that will cover the amortized cost of the shoes and band polos provided to every member, lunch and snacks for that week, as well as some instructional and materials costs. We expect that fee to be about $100 to cover the students' participation in "preseason" as well as the rest of the marching band season. In the event that activities get canceled, we will be able to make refunds of all or most of the band camp fees (part of it is instructional fees and part is the shoes and polo shirt which are special-ordered
7. Please try to make a $50 deposit on camp ASAP.
7a. You may have your student drop off a check made out to PHN Bands at rehearsal (include student’s name and grade in memo)
7b. You may mail the payment to
PO Box 596036
Fort Gratiot, MI 48059-6036
7c. Or you may check for a PayPal Link (small service charge per payment)
8. What does the fall bring? We honestly still don't know. Please continue to be understanding about how we prepare for the upcoming year. I am learning as much as I can about how we will handle marching. I am not sure yet how we will handle sitting in the stands or how game days will work. I *do* know that I can't wait to get back to working with you and continuing to create something in which the community can be proud.
9. Because mailings are so expensive, here is how we will make most information available to you:
9a.: - Band Website
9b.: - Band Booster Website
9c.: - Occasional “news-bites” / don’t have to be a member!
9d.: Email for student and Guardian on record in Skyward
9e.: Facebook PHN Bands
9f.: Facebook PHN Marching Band
9g.: The PHN Bands Google Calendar, found on Mailings, emails, and other items are included as “events” in that calendar
10. Schedule as we currently know it:
August 10 - 14 - Extended preseason Rehearsals (9:15 AM - 4:30 PM)
August 18 - Evening Rehearsal, 6 - 9 PM*
August 20 - Afternoon Rehearsal, 2:30 - 5:15 PM*
August 25 - Evening Rehearsal, 6 - 9 PM*
August 27 - Afternoon Rehearsal, 2:30 - 5:15 PM*
*These Tues/Thurs rehearsals continue through the end of October
11. Performance schedule:
Friday, August 14 - End-of-camp
Thursday, September 3 - Home Football Game
Friday, September 25 - Home Football Game
Friday, October 2 - Home Football Game
Friday, October 9 - PHN / PH Football Game
Friday, October 16 - Home Football Game
All Football Games are at Memorial Stadium
At this time, I have no information on other performances.
This continues to be quite a process for all of us. Thank you for your continued patience and understanding as we work our way through this together, as a band, as a school, and as a community.

Tuesday, August 4, 2020

Preseason Rehearsals

Here is a schedule for our preseason rehearsals which start Monday, August 10
I know this has been stressful for folks.  Thank you for being patient.
Please be careful with your health and be honest when answering questions during check-in each day.
Also, I am passing on, once again, that I have been asked to request that you please have a mask available for all rehearsals.  As it pertains to outdoor, non-contact activities, I will continue to work to follow the policies of our district and the agencies from which *they* are drawing their guidance.
When standing in sectionals,
* I keep reminding students to put the appropriate distance between themselves and also "stagger" their lines, forward and back, to limit "direct lines"
* students are given the option to create further distance if they choose
* when out on the field, we will function (for now) in 4-step (7.5 foot) blocks. 
* next Monday, we are *not* yet meeting as a full group for either marching or playing
* we will provide lunch as well as frequent water breaks
* wear comfortable, athletic-style clothing and shoes
* wear sunscreen
As I am sure many people are, I try to read-up on information being released by the CDC, pediatricians, and even agencies and research overseas as it pertains to school and school-related activities. It can be very confusing, especially in light of the added "noise" created by social media.  I continue to follow the recommendations of our district.
I have no envy for the decision-makers, locally, statewide, or nationally.  Keep them in your thoughts and/or prayers.
Thanks again.  Be safe.