Dear parents, students, and community members:
It has been said a million times this year, but this year has been like no other and the challenges we have faced and overcame will have a lasting impact on our program for years to come. This year, we have spent time reflecting on our program. Many questions were considered, but most importantly what do we need to adapt to not only survive, but thrive in the current conditions. Students identified areas of improvement and addressed adaptations that would have to take place, but the overwhelming response was that of gratitude. While it is easy to focus on the negative, the Thanksgiving season serves as a strong reminder that we have much to be thankful for in our music program.
As our program continues to develop and additional opportunities are provided to our students, we thank those that make it possible!
Our DHS Band Leadership
Shout out to our De Soto Bands Leadership team who have provided input, guidance, and support throughout this crazy Fall. I am constantly impressed by your own advocacy of the Fine Arts, yourselves, and your counterparts. Our student leaders serve as the backbone of our program and have been incredibly helpful in providing a consistent band experience to all incoming band members. From aiding instruction of our unwritten rules and customs, to helping tutor other members in music theory, our De Soto Bands Leadership team members have been a constant reminder of why I chose this profession.
Special recognition of our DHS Drum Majors, James Innes and Olivia Hartwell, for their incredible leadership this year. James and Olivia serve as President and Vice President respectively of our Tri-M Music Honor Society and editors of the De Soto Bands Directory. The De Soto Bands Directory is our weekly newsletter sent out to all DHS band members and interested community members. The De Soto Dragon Pride has had some of the finest student leaders and drum majors in the area, and this year's drum majors are no exception.
Composition Contest Supporters and Performers
This year with the COVID spring closure, our Spring Band Concert had to be canceled. I am thankful for each of the musicians from across the country who volunteered their time to make our winning composition performance a reality. Being able to offer our students the opportunity to learn to write music is an incredible experience in itself, but allowing them to get feedback from professional composers and then HEAR their piece takes it to a whole new level. A sincere thank you to all of the composers from across the country that volunteer some time to give our student composers feedback. It has always been my goal to provide students opportunities that were not afforded to me, and thanks in part to these professionals I am able to augment my music theory lessons to better serve our high achieving students!
Our Board of Education
A sincere thanks are extended to our De Soto Board of Education. We continue to enjoy an ongoing open dialogue focusing on the role of music as part of a complete curriculum offering. As we continue to develop the instrumental music program at De Soto, I am thankful to our Board of Education members for their continued dialogue and support of the De Soto Bands.
Community support of the arts remains strong!
From a community vantage point, we must be thankful for local leaders who are solid supporters of music in our schools; they realize music education offers heightened performance in all aspects of life and they are outspoken advocates of music education. Evidenced by the many local businesses that donate to fund scholarships, equipment, and music purchases and the passage of the previous bond issue to build a wonderful performing arts center.
Thanks to the consistent support of our fundraising efforts, we have been able to continue to offer our students collaborative music-making experiences, whether they are on campus or distance learning. This month the DHS Bands and Choirs were able to purchase Soundtrap for our DHS music students thanks to our fundraising efforts! Soundtrap is the first cloud-based audio recording platform to work across all operating systems, enabling users to co-create music anywhere in the world on any device. This digital audio workstation (DAW) affords us the opportunity to provide our students with instruction on a variety of topics from audio production and mastering to live looping and mastering. Community members, organizations, and businesses are sponsoring our efforts to provide incredible opportunities for our students! Thank you to ALL that provide services, aid, and financial support so that we can continue to provide for our program.
Music as a Core Subject
From a national perspective, we must be thankful that the arts are written into federal law as part of the CORE curriculum for every school in the Every Student Succeeds Act. Students have a right to a well-rounded education that now includes MUSIC as a core class.
Personally, I want to give a heartfelt THANK YOU, to all of the parents and families that have shown support this year! Your keen interest, loyal support, and active participation are the essential elements of our successful past, our exciting present, and our promising future. Each year, dozens of parents reach out asking how they can best support our efforts with the De Soto Bands, and each year dozens of families provide much-needed support. From physical labor to working behind the scenes to help provide for a kid in need, our parents are consistently one of a kind!
Collectively, we must extend thanks to the young men and women who spend countless hours in the learning, rehearsing, and performing of music. It is a privilege and an honor to work with the finest students here at De Soto. These music makers of today are preparing to be the leaders of tomorrow. The great thing about teaching band is that in any of my band classes, I have such an incredible mix of students from varied backgrounds and experiences. I have students that are top of their class sitting next to students that struggle in every class. Students from different backgrounds all come together for an hour to make music. We want students to continue to find their spot, take a seat, and enjoy music at De Soto. More importantly, we want our students who have benefited from our program to go out into the world with a music background. These students will be our greatest advocates as they enter their adult lives with an appreciation of the arts.
Yes, music does make a difference, and we are thankful for each and every student that has chosen to join their fellow musicians as part of our musical family. The disciplines learned in music classes reinforce a standard of excellence that is required for success in all of life. As we approach the halfway point of our academic year, I extend a sincere vote of thanks to everyone who has made it possible for our music program to thrive and prosper. Your investment of time, effort, and energy is the key to our success.
Darrell Boyer, Ed. S.
Director of Bands
De Soto Schools #73
Tri-M Chapter 8124 Advisor
East Central District #7 Webmaster
Soundtrap Certified Expert