The "March into the Arts" series kicked into high gear this past week.
This past week, the DHS Symphonic Band hosted the West County HS Symphonic Band for a "Band Director Swap" and concert. Each band performed for and received a clinic from the other school's band director. With the Missouri State Large Ensemble Assessment coming up, this opportunity provided both bands with a new perspective and look at their music as well as valuable feedback to help improve each band as they continue on with their semester.
The West County Band students arrived in time to join our 7th Hour Jazz Lab students for some improvisation. It was great to watch our students and West County students sharing their musical ideas together.
That evening the West County and De Soto Symphonic Bands performed for friends and family. We are incredibly thankful to the administrators at West County and De Soto that made this opportunity to make share music and ideas possible!
On Tuesday, Prof. Elke Overton, from Jefferson College, came to work with our DHS Concert and Symphonic Bands to provide feedback on our performance and preparation for State Large Ensemble.
On Thursday, Maestro Gary Gackstatter came in and worked with both our Concert and Symphonic Bands.
The DHS Symphonic Band is currently working on a piece by Percy Grainger and a piece by Mr. Gackstatter entitled "The People" from The Grouse Creek Symphony. The band was complimented on their performance of the piece by Grainger. It was exhilarating watching him work with the Symphonic Band and share with them his passion for music.
"So this is my hope for The Grouse Creek Symphony: that through the music and art, we can deepen our appreciation for what’s in our own backyard. May we never take for granted the beauty of the land and sky, trees, water and people."-Gary Gackstatter
Mr. Gackstatter exudes passion and creativity and is an inspiration to all that he comes into contact with. Mr. Gackstatter's work with our bands was insightful, engaging, inspiring, and it served as a musical revival for the bands and staff.
Fountain City Jazz Fest 2019
This year the De Soto Bands used fundraising money to commission 3x Grammy nominated artist Steve Wiest to write a piece for the DHS Jazz Ensemble and brought him in to perform as our guest artist for the Fountain City Jazz Fest. Our Jazz students have been incredibly excited about this opportunity since the announcement was made in the fall.
While here, Mr. Wiest rehearsed with the the Jazz Ensemble and spoke with the DHS Bands. Students were able to ask questions and interact with Steve before the end of the day Friday. Students gained a lot from their interactions with Mr. Wiest, both musically and personally. Mr. Wiest said, "There are two types of people, the cats that wanna learn and those that know everything."
Friday evening Mr. Boyer and Mr. Wiest traveled to Jazz St. Louis to see the Funky Butt Brass Band. The band invited Mr. Wiest up on stage during one of their pieces.
On Saturday the Jazz Program did an incredible job running the Jazz Fest. Our Jazz Ensemble students put in a 13.5 hour day working and performing at the festival.
The festival included a Masterclass from our guest artist where he dropped some serious knowledge and laughs on our students and the participating bands. After the Wiest Masterclass, Dr. Joseph Jefferson, from SEMO, led an incredible clinic on practice sessions and improving as a musician. The clinic had to be moved to the DHS Band room due to the high number of attendees! His clinic packet can be found here.
After the Dr. Jefferson clinic, the DHS trombones received a private lesson from Mr. Wiest. This was a special opportunity for our trombone student to sit and chat with a professional trombonist and learn from a true master.
The DHS Jazz Ensemble wrapped up the Fountain City Jazz Fest with a concert with Steve Wiest. The band performed an hour long set that included multiple solos from students and Mr. Wiest. We want to thank everyone that attended the evening concert. The money raised will be used to support our DHS Band scholarships.
This has been another incredible week of music at De Soto High School.
For more pictures of the FCJ Fest 2019, click HERE
We hope you can join us at any of our upcoming events!
March 29, 2019 - Solo and Ensemble Recital and Fine Arts Night @5:30pm
March 30, 2019 - Middle School Festival
April 3, 2019 - State Large Ensemble Festival at Jefferson College (Symphonic Band)
April 5, 2019 - Missouri Music Symposium at Jefferson R7 (Concert Band)
April 26, 2019 - Spring Jazz Showcase
April 28, 2019 - Spring Band Concert and Banquet
Things went well yesterday. Our students earning an Exemplary and Outstanding will be performing at our Fine Arts night on March 29th. We hope you can join us!
Ethan Brown- Marimba Solo (4th Year in a row!)
Caroline Kidwell- Flute Solo
Kaleb Brown- Trombone Solo
Tim Russell-Trombone Solo
Sophie Harris- Flute Solo
DHS Percussion Ensemble
Victoria Avis- Trumpet Solo
Hannah Rinker Lugo- Clarinet Solo
We hope that you will take time to celebrate the arts with us in March. The De Soto Bands and the Fine Arts Department are working on numerous artistic events that are open to the community. From the beginning of the month to the end, there are a plethora of events that will be taking place on or near campus. From the Spring Musical to multiple music festivals and performances, there is certain to be a performance for everyone to enjoy. Please read on for a highlight of some of our upcoming events. For a complete listing of Band Events that are occurring click here.
We invite you to take part and March into the Arts!
Jefferson County HS Honor Band- March 16th, 2019
Eight students were named to the Jefferson County HS Honor Band. These will represent DHS in Herculaneum on March 16th when they meet for rehearsal and an evening performance of the 2019 Jefferson County Honor Band. We are proud of these students for their accomplishments and are sure that they will represent DHS well.
Hannah Rinker Lugo- Clarinet
Marybeth Sansoucie- Clarinet
Jonathan Gowan- Tenor Sax
Lacy Mueller- Horn
Kylie Mitchell- Baritone
Caleb Smith- Tuba
De Soto/West County Band Concert- March 18th
Fountain City Jazz Fest-March 23rd
The De Soto Bands in association with Tri-M Chapter #8124 invite you to the 2nd Annual Fountain City Jazz Festival! Trombonist and composer Steve Wiest will be headlining the Fountain City Jazz Festival with the DHS Jazz Ensemble! Mr. Wiest has also been commissioned to compose a piece for the De Soto HS Jazz Ensemble, which will make it's world premier performance that evening.
Multiple Grammy-nominated jazz composer and trombonist Steve Wiest is also known worldwide for his fresh cutting edge writing as well as his extroverted virtuoso trombone playing. With a zeal for finding fresh ingredients for his muse, Steve is a true multi-genre persona. As a recording artist, composer-arranger, science fiction author, cartoonist, and educator Wiest is at home with many different and diverse areas of creative endeavor.
Come see the De Soto Jazz Ensemble and Steve Wiest March 23rd at the Fountain City Jazz Festival! Our evening concert is set to begin at 7pm. Ticket prices for this concert will be $5 for adults and $3 for students.
We will once again be featuring a HS Music Recital night for band and choir students that achieve a I rating at District Music Festival. This year we will be joined by students from the Theater and Art classes. Art demonstrations will be going on in the lobby of the Theater with student works being displayed in the halls. Inside the theater there will be performances on stage for everyone to enjoy.
With the Jazz program continuing to grow and build it is time to also recognize where we have been. At our Spring Concert we would like to recognize those that have helped build our Jazz program and came before us. It is with that thought in mind that I am excited to announce that we will be featuring a special performance by the DHS Jazz Alumni Big Band! Alumni interested in performing in this group should register at the link below.
The Spring Jazz Showcase Friday, April 26th, 2019 will feature performances from the Jazz Ensemble, Jazz Lab, small student led combos, and the DHS Jazz Alumni Big Band. We hope that you can join us at the Showcase to celebrate our growth and enjoy a fine evening of Jazz!
The month of March will be another busy one for the De Soto Bands. Look below at the calendar for the month of March. Our calendar can also be accessed via the CHARMS app on your mobile devices!
March 1, 2019 - Spring PLA and Jazz Ensemble Audition material posted
March 1, 2019 - Leadership packets posted
March 1, 2019 - DHS Band and Tri-M Scholarship Application posted
March 7, 2019 - Flute Masterclass offered @North County
March 9, 2019 - District Solo and Ensemble @ Festus
March 11, 2019 - Drumline Auditions
March 12, 2019 - Leadership Team Interviews
March 12, 2019 - Jazz Rhythm Section Masterclass @North County
March 16, 2019 - Jefferson County HS Honor Band @ Herculaneum
March 18, 2019 - West County/DHS Combined Concert @6:30pm
March 23, 2019 - Fountain City Jazz Festival
March 25, 2019 - Jazz Band Auditions
March 26, 2019 - Jazz Band Auditions
March 29, 2019 - Solo and Ensemble Recital and Fine Arts Night
March 30, 2019 - Middle School Festival
Jazz Season is Here
The Jazz Bands have been working hard developing skills and style this year. From learning how to write bass lines and improvise to learning how to read chord changes and transcribe, students have been deep in developing an understanding of Jazz.
February 2nd marked the official start of our Jazz season. The ensemble had a wonderful performance and won 1st place in Division 4! It was an excellent day of jazz education and planning for the future as the ensemble had the chance to tour the Missouri State campus. They saw the buildings, classrooms, and programs that the University offers.
In addition to learning about college life, the band was able to sit in on a clinic with Dr. Will Campbell who is the Director of Jazz Studies at the University of North Carolina. Dr. Campbell lead the clinic and then played with the Missouri State University Jazz Studies Band 1. It was an excellent concert and clinic.
This week, the Jazz Ensemble began work on our piece that we commissioned our Fountain City Jazz Fest guest artist, Mr. Steve Wiest, to compose. This piece will be unveiled at its WORLD PREMIER at the Jazz Fest on March 23rd. We hope that you can come see what Mr. Wiest and the band can do.
Coming up next for the Jazz Program:
February 23rd, 2019- University of Central Missouri Jazz Festival
March 23rd, 2019- Fountain City Jazz Fest
April 26th, 2019- Spring Jazz Concert
Solo/Ensemble & Fine Arts Night
District Solo and Ensemble preparation is well under way with students working on their music before and after school. Students wishing to take a Solo or Small Ensemble should set up a time to meet with Mr. Boyer.
Students earning a 1 at District Band Solo and Ensemble will be able to play at our recital evening March 29th, 2019. This year, this evening will include all of the top Fine Arts students at De Soto with performances and displays from our DHS band, choir, drama, and art students.
Music Composition Contest
Six original student compositions were entered into the 2019 Fountain City Music Composition Contest! Students received feedback from 3 professional composers so that they can continue to improve their music writing.
This year, congratulations goes out to winner Kylie Mitchell! Kylie will work with Mr. Boyer to edit and further improve her piece for its world premiere performance at the Spring Band Concert in April!
A huge thanks goes out to our judges for the 2019 Composition Festival. This year our student composers received feedback from three professional composers from across the Midwest.
Mark J. Connor (b. 1971) is a composer, conductor, and educator whose main focus is writing for concert band, with works appearing on several state lists. His band music has enjoyed performances at several state music educator conferences, including TMEA, and his music is published by RWS Music Company, Grand Mesa Music, and Alry Publications.
Other highlights include performances of his chamber music at the Eastern Music Festival, Carnegie Hall (Weill Recital Hall), the Taliesin Art Centre (Wales), the Royal Welsh College of Music and Drama and the Galway-Mayo Institute of Technology (Ireland). He has had orchestral works performed by the Jacksonville Symphony as part of their Fresh Ink program and the North State Symphony. Mark has been commissioned by, or won awards from, the Jacksonville Symphony, the Eppes String Quartet, the Smoky Mountain Brass Quintet, Composers and Schools in Concert, and the Commission Project. He is also active as an arranger for a wide range of ensembles and genres including works for groups as diverse as guitar ensembles, brass quintet, saxophone trio, and jazz combos.
Mark has been an educator for over 20 years and has taught students at ages ranging from fourth grade through postgraduate. He is currently the band teacher at the Saul Mirowitz Jewish Community School. Prior to his current position, he was a Visiting Assistant Professor at Webster University and Western Carolina University, an instructor at McKendree University, and an adjunct professor at Maryville University, Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, Florida State University, and Florida A & M University. From 1997 to 2001 Mark was the director of bands and teacher at Palma High School in Salinas, California.
Mark is the host of Everything Band, a podcast that features interviews with leaders in the concert band, wind ensemble, and marching arts
Derek Limback is currently the band director at St. James Missouri where he teaches grades 6-12 instrumental music. He holds a BS in Music Education and a Masters in Music Composition from Missouri State University. He has also studied at the University of Texas-Austin and the University of Central Missouri. Mr. Limback began his professional teaching career as the band director at Warsaw Missouri before returning to MSU for graduate studies. After beginning his teaching career at St. James he also was the Director of Jazz Studies at Missouri S&T in Rolla.
He is an active performer, clinician, and composer. His main areas of interest are instrumental composition, jazz composition and performance, and teaching music. Mr. Limback has written music for various schools and universities in Missouri and has had music performed in Arkansas, Texas, and Kansas. In his spare time he likes to golf, fly fish, hunt arrowheads, and spend time with his family.
Greg Weis is a doctoral student at the University of Northern Colorado. Greg's compositions and arrangements have been performed in concerts and Jazz festivals in numerous cities around the United States, including Denver, St. Louis, Kansas City, New Orleans, Chicago, Las Vegas, Des Moines, and New York City. His big band music is regularly performed by the DownBeat Award-winning University of Northern Colorado Jazz Lab Band I. His arrangements and compositions have also been performed by Randy Brecker, Dave Pietro, Antonio Hart, Paul McKee, Greg Gisbert, Bob Sheppard, Jim White, Clay Jenkins, Tanya Darby, Benny Golson, the Missouri State University Jazz Studies Ensemble, the Airmen of Note, the Colorado Jazz Orchestra, and numerous high school jazz bands. He has been recognized with awards and honors from the Jazz Education Network, the International Society of Jazz Arrangers and Composers, the American Society of Music Arrangers and Composers, and the New York Youth Symphony. His compositions are also featured on the debut album for the All Angles Orchestra, a jazz chamber ensemble that infuses classical musicians with jazz musicians.
This time of the year remains busy as the De Soto Bands continue to perform across the state. Yesterday our DHS Band students performed at All State Band Auditions and the De Soto Christmas Parade.
Yesterday we took 8 De Soto students to Hickman High School to audition for a chance to be a member of the All State Concert Band or All State Jazz Band. There were over 1200+ students attempting to earn a spot in the All State Bands. They all had great auditions and one of our students earned recognition. Congratulations to Caleb Avila on earning Honorable Mention on Bass Guitar for All State Jazz.
The Dragon Pride Marching Band members looked great performing in the annual De Soto Christmas Parade!
We are so thankful for all of our students and the hard work they put in to be outstanding musicians. Music is about the journey and consistent progress, not the destination. Our students continue to represent De Soto with Pride and show their commitment to excellence!
Would you like to get a pullover with the band logo on it?
We are currently taking orders for the HS Band Pullovers. If you would like one please use the form at this link to order one.
A picture of the pullover is on the website, it will include the Dragon De Soto Bands Logo on the left chest. Orders are due December 3rd, 2018. Pullovers will be $20.
Dear parents, students, and community members:
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!
Tri-M Chapter #8124
Our Tri M Chapter is off and running with projects aimed to improve music opportunities for our student and our community. They have already donated time creating some Taiko drums for Symphonic Band, collecting donations for Samaritan's Purse, and getting sponsors for the music festivals.
Composition Contest Supporters
Being able to offer our students the opportunity to learn to write music is one of the most amazing experiences. A sincere thank you to all of the composers from across the country that volunteer some time to give my student composers feedback.
Chromebooks being 1:1
Having this technology available at our JH and HS has greatly improved instruction, assessment, and feedback. Students are using their devices to record themselves for assessment, to research new music and evaluate pieces, and to compose pieces of music!
-A sincere thanks are extended to our administrators. We continue to enjoy an ongoing open dialogue focusing on the role of music as part of a complete curriculum offering. This year we began offering Jazz Lab at the HS level. This course allows students to learn and work on the foundations of Jazz. Next year we hope to add Guitar at the HS level and Jazz at the JH level. Both of these courses will have a positive impact on student achievement.
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. 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 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.
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 whom 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 the 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.
Director of Bands
De Soto High School
Fountain City Music Composition Contest
The Fountain City Music Composition Contest kicks off December 3rd, 2018.
This event is free to enter and is open to all students grades 7-12 in the De Soto School District #73.
How to Enter: A pdf score and an audio file must be submitted in Google Classroom under the composition assignment.
Compositions must be a minimum of 2 minutes.
Compositions must be written for two or more instruments.
Works may include non-interactive electroacoustic elements (e.g., CD playback). Works may have been performed before, but should not have been composed before the year 2018.
The winning composer must agree to provide parts by February 1, 2019, in order to guarantee a performance of the winning work at the De Soto Solo and Ensemble Event.
Attendance at the Festival is required.
Students may submit no more than 3 pieces for consideration.
All compositions are due January 21st, 2019.
De Soto Bands