Special JET Band Booster Blast 7/30/20

Message from the Band Director

I know there is a lot of confusion and misinformation out there, so I’m going to do my best to help. As I’ve been saying, guidelines and mandates keep changing every few days. I’m trying to give each new guideline or mandate a few days to see if it sticks before we modify what we are doing because of that new guideline or mandate.

If you aren’t following all the school opening mandates, let me give you a brief breakdown.  Last week Harris County said that all in-person instruction is shut down at least until Labor Day. Then earlier this week the TX Attorney General came out and said that the law does not allow local health officials to blanket shut down schools in anticipation of an outbreak.  Katy ISD now has said that summer in-person instruction for fine arts and athletics can once again happen, as of yesterday July 29.  Harris County is currently having their attorneys see if there are any ways they can still shut down in-person instruction.

So we could have our band students back on campus right now, as long as we maintain all social distancing and health protocols. UIL has said that we may not start learning any drill or marching curriculum to our show before Labor Day.  The staff and I are currently trying to balance how do we engage the students to keep them excited and enjoying band without burning them out because our season has been pushed back so far and we have fewer performance opportunities.  We do not have a new football schedule yet, so we don’t know when that first football game that we might be able to perform at is.  This weekend UIL is supposed to decide when our Region marching contest is going to be (so far they’ve just said it has to be done by December 3) and then UIL will further decide if 6A bands will have Area and State this year.  So we are currently at least 5 ½ weeks away being able to learn any drill and around 18 weeks away from our UIL contest.

Yesterday the staff and I had a Zoom with our student leadership team to hear from them about what they would like to do to stay engaged in being in band during these crazy times. We are looking at everything from online Zoom section rehearsals, to video masterclasses that the students can study asynchronously, to online competitions between our students, to small group in-person instruction.

Next week we are going to kick-off some summer online learning and other online opportunities for our students. Tuesday morning at 10am we are going to Live on the band’s facebook page (https://www.facebook.com/jetband.org/live/) to talk about the current protocols in place, our season, our different learning opportunities, and to kick-off our annual March-A-Thon fundraiser. If you can’t tune in at 10am, the video will post to the band’s facebook page once we stop the live feed.

If you have band-related questions that you would like me to address on the live video, please email them to me at michaeldary@katyisd.org by Monday morning. If I see a common theme of questions then I’ll know those are things I need to try to address during the video. If it’s a question that maybe only pertains to your particular situation, then I’ll try to just reply to your email.

Thanks,

Mike Ary
Director of Bands
James E. Taylor High School
MichaelDAry@katyisd.org
281.237.9268