Doc's Weekly Note

posted Mar 21, 2019, 7:29 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Mar 21, 2019, 7:30 AM ]

Dear Athens Drive Band families,
Here's what you need to know about current happenings in our band world:

1) Our Winter Guard and Winter Percussion will be performing locally this Saturday:  The Winter Percussion at 4:17pm at Green Hope High School and the Winter Guard at 7:06 at Middle Creek High School.

2) Our Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band will be performing for State Band Contest next week at Garner H.S.:  The Wind Ensemble will be performing at 7:25pm on Tuesday, March 26th and the Symphonic Band will be performing at 2:45pm on Wednesday, March 27th.

3) I have some disappointing news to share with you with regard to our plans to take the band to Busch Gardens in May.  Since our last visit (in 2014), Wake County has made several amendments to its field trip policy, namely that NO FIELD TRIPS will be permitted in May.  In addition, all medical releases would have to be in the nurse's hands 30 days prior to the trip--or in this case, before spring break.  Mr. Mares shared with me that the fact that the overall "climate" is not right to try to push this trip through the upper echelon of WCPSS.  

The "no-field-trip policy in May" is due to end-of-year testing; the medical release restriction is due to extreme liability concerns.  

I am very sorry, as all of this was a surprise to me.  [I had already contacted Busch Gardens thinking that all would be fine--just like 4 years ago.]  Sometimes you just gotta know when you have to punt... and this is one of those times.  Mr. Mares always "shoots straight," and I need to go with him with this. your pennies!  The after-glow of our Outback Trip is still burning and we'll give you some news about next year soon.

As always, thank you for your positive attitude and support!

Logistics for State Band Festival Next Week

posted Mar 19, 2019, 7:08 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Mar 19, 2019, 7:09 AM ]

March 19, 2019

Dear Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble member and parent,

The purpose of this letter is to finalize the logistics of our adjudicated performance at STATE BAND FESTIVAL next week.

Tuesday, March 26 (State Band Festival-Wind Ensemble)
5:15pm                                    Wind Ensemble reports to ADHS in concert attire
-load box truck/bus

5:40pm Departure for Garner H.S. (via activity bus)

6:15pm                                    Arrival Garner H.S.

6:40pm Warm-Up


8:45pm                                    Arrive back to ADHS

Wednesday, March 27 (State Band Festival-Symphonic Band)
11:30am                                  Symphonic Band reports to class and prepares for departure
-changes clothes
-load truck/bus

*1:05pm                                  Departure for Franklinton H.S. (via activity bus)

1:40pm                                    Arrival Garner H.S.

2:05pm                                    Warm-Up


4:45pm Arrive back to ADHS

*Symphonic Band students will be excused from their fourth block class.

1)    We can use some parent chaperones to accompany our travel on both days.  Please email me if you are interested.   Thank you!

2)    Wind Ensemble students may drive to and from Garner H.S. provided that they have a note from a parent authorizing permission.  I will ask that all vehicles stay with our activity bus to the event so that everyone arrives safely and together.  We will all meet at Athens Drive at 5:15pm so that we can leave together with all our gear.

3)    Parents/family/friends are encouraged to travel up to Garner H.S. to hear our performances.  Due to the serious nature of this event—and the fact that the performances are sometimes mid-day (Symphonic Band)--there are often not many people in the audience.  This is a shame considering the quality of these performances.  Just do what you can.

Thank you for all your continued support!       


Notes from Doc & London FAQs

posted Mar 5, 2019, 5:25 PM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Mar 5, 2019, 5:25 PM ]

Here's the current "band happenings" for this week (as of 3/5/19):

1. I have attached some FAQ's about our London trip (see below).  After talking with many of you last evening at our Booster meeting, I wanted to provide some answers to the questions that were being raised by some very supportive parents.  If you have any other questions, please email me!  Also, remember that we need all surveys returned by Thursday, March 14th - the date of our next concert.  As of this writing, we have around 35 confirmations; we definitely need at least another 15-20 families on-board before we can move forward.  If you feel that you want to change your survey response after reading the attachment, please email me.

2. Our school musical "All Shook Up" will be presented Wednesday, 3/6 through Saturday 3/9 at 7:00pm.  We have many band members involved in some manner - pit orchestra, acting, singing, and tech crew.  We are so fortunate to enjoy such a terrific performing arts department at Athens Drive!

3. Our Festival Concert II featuring our Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble will be held next Thursday, March 14th at 7:00pm.  I am told that the school is planning a special "40th anniversary" dinner preceding the concert and that the attendees will be invited to our program.  You might get to meet some very important people to this history of this great school.  At any rate, the music will be wonderful!!

That's it for now!   Can we turn up the thermostat on the weather???


1. I thought we were going to London for sure… Why the survey?
In the words of Will Rogers, the “cowboy-like” sage popular in the early 20th century, “If you’re riding ahead of the herd, take a look back every now and then to make sure it’s still there.”  
I want to make sure we have enough of a “base” population committed to this trip before we begin completing all the required paperwork and making the necessary deposits.

2. Is this trip just for the marching band, or are the concert groups permitted to go?  
It is for everyone!  In fact, that is what is so cool about this experience - it mirrors our program at Athens Drive!  It has a marching component (the New Years Day Parade) and concert component (performing a concert in the London area).  Every student connected with our band is permitted to sign-on and perform with us!

3. Are we trying to take everyone or just the students that intend to pay for the trip?
Just the students who intend to pay for the trip.  I am not treating this as an “honorary” trip, like the Outback Bowl or Carnegie Hall.

4. How long is the trip?
A full week, including six nights in a first-class hotel in London.

5. What types of events will the students be involved with?
This will most likely be the most educational trip that our band has ever taken.  Most of our time will be spent sight-seeing and enjoying the many attractions that have become world-famous.  We will also be getting out of London for at least 1-2 excursions (e.g., Oxford University).  London is a great walking city - there will be many tours that we will be enjoying on foot with MP3 players telling us what we are seeing!

6. How inclusive is the $3,500 figure?
VERY!  It includes just about everything except a few meals and souvenirs:  airfare, lodging, meals, admission tickets, all kinds of event memorabilia, ground transportation throughout the duration of the trip, etc.  

7. Will we be having fundraisers to lower this cost?
Absolutely!  In fact, we are working through a bunch of them at this time to determine which ones are most promising.  We will assemble a committee as soon as we commit to concentrate on this project.

8. Is there a minimum number of students required to make this trip a reality?
In truth, no.  However, I believe that we would need to have the backing of at least 50 families whose band accounts are current in order to commit.  I know that we will get a bunch of rising 9th graders on board for next year, as well as rising 8th graders the year after.  In fact, we are inviting all current 7th and 8th graders to our marching band orientation days on May 13-14 in order to address this trip.

9. What can be done for students who really want to go but they simply do not have the resources to raise the funds?
As stated in the initial letter presented last November, once we commit, we will ask those families that fall into the above category to let us know so that we can begin the task of assistance.  Please note that we will help only those families who have shown an active record of participation in our fund raisers.  This trip cannot be a “handout.”  However, families that have shown the work ethic required up to this point will be assisted.  In fact, we have already had several families come forward to contribute personal funds toward helping others…and I will do that as well.

10. Will any changes occur to our year-to-year programs due to this trip?
No.  That is not the purpose of this trip and it would be a disservice to those who have chosen not to participate.

11. How about folks who change their mind once a commitment is made?
We will provide information about EVERY DETAIL in writing once we begin the paper trail.  You will be informed about refund policies, etc.  Our trips have always been meticulously planned and the company that organizes this event has been doing it for 40 years and every band director that I have spoken to raves about the entire experience.

12. When will we be given a full-blown itinerary?
I provided a sample overview in the letter a few weeks ago.  I would expect a very good working itinerary once we formally sign-on to this event.  As noted above, these folks have been doing this for decades and know their clientele.

13. Do you anticipate any friction in the program between families that plan to go and those that chose not to?
No - largely because when we took components of our band to other events, everyone was good about it…this includes numerous trips to Walt Disney World, New York City (Carnegie Hall), the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival (Wind Ensemble/Percussion Ensemble).  The day-to-day flow of this band program will remain absolutely intact.  Sure, there will be some special rehearsals for the performances as the date draws near - and some really cool hype - but in terms of the climate, we make great music every day!  

14. When will the final decision be made as to whether or not to commit to this trip?
The board and I will discuss the results of the survey at the end of this month.  I will look at EVERY response.  I would expect a decision to be published mid-April.

15. One more time, why are we doing this?
  • To grow. 
  • To give our child(ren) a positively life-changing experience.
  • To lift the environment of our band, music program, school, and community.
  • To provide a goal that is worthy of a tremendous amount of effort and which will provide an even greater reward.
I have “lived” at Athens Drive H.S. for the past 25 years..  I’ve raised 2 children through this program.  It is a very special place…comprised of students who are very teachable and who want to be the best that they can be.  It is comprised of a wide range of socio-economic backgrounds and ethnicities - a mirror of our nation.  Our students and families do not have an “entitled” demeanor, nor one that is ignorant.  Athens Drive has the “raw material” for genuine excellence.
When I started my tenure here in 1994, there were 50 total students in the marching band and only 1 concert band.  One of my band director colleagues at the time actually referred to our band as “the joke of Wake County.” [No kidding!]
25 years later… We have over 200 musicians in our program, 7 active ensembles, an incredible record of excellence including 20+ years of  “Superior” ratings at State Band Festival, a performance at the Bands of America “National Concert Band Festival” in Indianapolis, over 30 “Grand Champion” marching awards, performances at WGI International Competition in Dayton, Ohio, and performances throughout the eastern United States including Carnegie Hall, Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, Washington D.C. Memorial Day Parade, and the National Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida.  …And more trophies than we know what to do with…  And a semi-trailer and box truck…

…And the sincere “respect” of all the band directors in Wake County.

All because the students and parents of this great school decided to take chances, decided to trust, and dared to dream of a better program.  

Let’s keep growing!

State Band Contest Times

posted Feb 28, 2019, 8:18 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 28, 2019, 8:18 AM ]

Dear Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band parents and students,

We have just received the times for our STATE BAND CONTEST held at Garner H.S. at the end of March:

Wind Ensemble:  Tuesday, March 26 at 6:50pm
Symphonic Band:  Wednesday, March 27 at 2:00pm

I cannot overstate the importance of these performances.  The ratings awarded are distributed throughout the state and are preserved in our North Carolina band masters association data base.  Like it or not, they provide as concrete a "measuring stick" as to the musical calibre of our program as you can get.  No pressure, right?

These performances are free and open to the public.  Please consider attending--it's nice to see some friendly faces in the audience:)

Thank you so much for all your support!

Doc's Notes for February 28th

posted Feb 28, 2019, 6:57 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 28, 2019, 6:57 AM ]

Dear Athens Drive band family,

Here are my "notes" for this week:

1) Our FESTIVAL CONCERT I will be held this evening at 7:00pm.  Featured groups are the Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble.  The concert will be very brief--we'll be finished by 8:20pm.  We'll also have our reception following the concert in the band room as there will be a play-off home basketball game in the gym.  Gotta luv it!  P.S. I need some parents who know how to tie neckties to help me in the band room around 6:15pm...  

2) We need all the LONDON SURVEYS completed and returned by March 14th (the date of our Festival Concert II).  Although about 60 families have submitted responses, we have still not heard from about 50 families.  It is likely that the responses gleaned from these 50 families will prove to be the deciding factor.  Please complete the survey!

3) Our next BOOSTER MEETING is next Monday, March 4 at 7:30 in the chorus room.  We'll talk about London, Busch Gardens and all the other wonderful happenings in our program.  Please, please, please spend that hour with is so important that we meet in person each month.  Plus, there will be food...and I'll make you laugh...:)

4) When signing up for band classes next year, keep in mind WCPSS description of our ensembles:  Concert Band = Band Intermediate; Symphonic Band = Band Proficient; Wind Ensemble = Band Advanced.  Don't shoot me--I did not make these up and am just the messenger.  Thank you so much for your support of our program and the value of music in the lives of our kids. This is the #1 way that you PROVE your support of what music does to kids.  It's the way we CHERISH our experiences and GROW this program.

5) Our school musical "All Shook Up" will be performed next Wed-Sat., 3/6-9.  Many of our band members are involved in some manner and Mr. Santangelo and Ms. Hayes do an outstanding job bringing this art to life.  Please consider attending.

6) Please keep in mind our 7 students who will be auditioning for the N.C. All-State Band this Saturday near Greensboro:  Brennan Robbins, Ana Altman, Wes Major, Gavin Foley, Brian Suh, Derek Geiger, Ben Wakeford.  Most schools do not have any students who are eligible... we are so blessed!

Thank you for all you do for your kids and this amazing program!

Concert info - WG & London Trip News

posted Feb 21, 2019, 11:22 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 21, 2019, 11:22 AM ]

Here's a quick summary of what is happening in our band world at this moment:

1) TONIGHT!  Please attend our Winter Chamber Concert beginning at 7:00pm!  You will be amazed and inspired by the quality of musicians in our band program - from flute ensembles to jazz combos!  The kids are genuinely excited to perform in these smaller ensembles and you'll really enjoy the variety of music.  Plus, it's free and there is food afterwards:)  Concert Band kids get extra credit for attending!

2) WINTERGUARD performance at Apex Friendship H.S. this Saturday 2/23 at 2:20pm.  They'll have their new uniforms and new silks and look awesome!  Please consider attending!

3) The LONDON SURVEY has been sent to all via email.  This is very important as it establishes our "base" population of participants.  Included is my overview letter as well as a sample tour package.  I am truly excited that we are considering embarking on this journey, and I truly believe that it is the right thing to do for our incredible band program.  Please consider making the investment in your child(ren) to give them this life-changing positive experience.

4) I have given all of our freshmen, sophomores, and juniors COURSE RECOMMENDATIONS for our bands for next year.  I realize that they will be signing up for classes soon.  I have also emailed some strategies on how to fit band into your schedule and still look impressive to colleges.  If you did not get this, contact me and I will email it directly to you.  It is really COOL!

5) Our FESTIVAL CONCERT I is next Thursday, Feb. 28th at 7:00pm featuring our Concert Band and our Jazz Ensemble.  You'll be  impressed on the growth of our young Concert Band and the wonderful jazz sonorities of our Jazz Ensemble... and it's FREE and refreshments are served afterwards:)

Thank you for all your support!

Pep Band Needed Tomorrow 2/20

posted Feb 19, 2019, 8:26 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 19, 2019, 8:26 AM ]

Dear band members and parents,

Our band has been asked to provide a "pep band" for the rising 9th grade orientation held at Athens Drive tomorrow evening.  The event will be held in the auditorium and we will be performing for a captive group of rising 9th graders and their parents.

With the long weekend that we have just enjoyed, all of this is happening FAST--so I thought a note to everyone would be best.

Any band member who would like to play is invited... we'll be playing a few of our standard pep tunes and our Fight Song.

I would especially like our rising seniors (section leaders/captains) to try to perform as RECRUITING IS ONE OF YOUR MOST IMPORTANT RESPONSIBILITIES.  Our band cannot thrive without new members and we need YOU to help attract these youngsters into our band family!

Thanks for trying to make this work on such short notice!

"Doc Note" from 2/14

posted Feb 14, 2019, 7:28 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 14, 2019, 7:28 AM ]

Dear Athens Drive band member and parent,
Happy Valentine's Day!  Ya gotta LUV it!

Here's the band happenings coming up!

1) Our Winter Percussion Ensemble will be performing in their first competition of the season at Panther Creek H.S. this Saturday, Feb. 16 at 1:30pm.  Like our winter guard, this is an exceptionally dedicated group of students who represent our entire band program.  Please consider making it out to watch one of their performances!  I know that they will do us proud:)

2) Our Winter Chamber Concert will be held next Thursday, Feb. 21 at 7:00pm in the auditorium.  Most of the students in our Wind Ensemble and several of the students in the Symphonic Band will be performing throughout the evening in smaller groups such as clarinet choirs, trumpet choirs, and the like.  It is a terrific way to enjoy the talents of our students in a more focused manner.  Once you hear the sections that comprise the band, you'll be amazed at how "open" your ears become when you listen to the full ensemble.  The concert is FREE and refreshments will be served afterwards.  Also, I am giving extra credit to all Concert Band students who attend.  We need stage-hands and program distributors!

3) Our Festival Concert 1 will be held Thursday, Feb. 28th at 7:00pm featuring the Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble.

4) Family in need!  Be on the look-out for a letter from our boosters concerning helping one of our band members/families who was involved in an apartment fire.  Ciara Knight (junior/flute) and her family lost most of their possessions as a result of a fire in their apartment complex.  Fortunately, no one was injured!  We will have a donation box at the next two concerts for you to conveniently leave any materials/funds to help them.  Please keep Ciara and her family in your thoughts and prayers!

Thank you for all you do!

Winter Chamber Concert Next Thursday 2/21

posted Feb 13, 2019, 8:32 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 13, 2019, 8:32 AM ]

February 13, 2019

Dear Athens Drive band member and parent,
This letter is to serve as a reminder about our Winter Chamber Concert next Thursday, February 21st.

Winter Chamber Music Concert
Thursday, February 21, 2019

*Report to ADHS 6:30pm           

Concert begins 7:00pm

Concert Concludes 9:00pm

*Due to the nature of this program, students do not need to report at the same time; some students may be able to arrive later if they perform later in the program.  That said, we do encourage our students to enjoy the entire program if possible.

Although this concert will feature all of the members of our Wind Ensemble, and many of the students in our Symphonic Band, the bands will not be performing primarily as a single group (as we do at our other concerts).  Instead, this concert will feature the small ensembles that comprise the band (e.g., Brass Choir, Woodwind Choir, Percussion Ensemble, etc.).  However, the concert will have the same sense of “formality” as our other concerts.  The students are to wear very nice clothes--but NOT their usual black/white formalwear.  The concert will be professionally recorded and videotaped.

Students in our Concert Band will receive “extra credit” for attending this program; we also need several of these students to distribute programs and serve as “stage-hands” to assist with the many set changes that each ensemble utilizes. 

We are delighted to present this special type of concert for you!  The concept is simple:  By strengthening individual performers (which is what playing in a small ensemble does), you strengthen the group.  Plus, the variety of ensembles and styles of music is very enjoyable!

I look forward to seeing you next Thursday evening!


P.S. Our Festival Concert I featuring our Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble will be held the following Thursday evening, February 28th at 7:00pm.

Doc Note 2/8/2019

posted Feb 8, 2019, 3:40 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 8, 2019, 3:41 AM ]

Dear Athens Drive band parents,
Here's what you need to know about current "band happenings."

1) Our Winter Guard won FIRST PLACE last Saturday at Cleveland H.S. on their first performance in competition!  Yeah baby!  What a great mid-winter boost to our entire band program.  They will be competing again this Saturday 2/9 at Holly Springs H.S. at 3:45pm.  Please consider dropping by to cheer them on!  What a terrific bunch of band kids!

2) Thank you for the terrific turn out at our booster meeting this past Tuesday.  The place with LIT with great ideas that we intend to put into motion this year.  Our next booster meeting will be on MONDAY, MARCH 4TH AT 7:30PM (probably in the chorus room).  Sorry about the switch in date (from Tuesday, March 5).  I am doing an exceptional amount of clinic/consultant work with  programs in the area and I've got a commitment on 3/5.  [This is what happens when you get old...but boy-oh-boy do I promote ATHENS DRIVE!]  

3) Everyone in our band program--marching, concert, winter guard, winter percussion, etc. is invited to enjoy a brief holiday to Busch Gardens, Williamsburg on May 17-19.  We'll leave Athens around 5:00pm on the 17th and return early Sunday morning on the 19th (around 2:00am).  We'll have 1 overnight stay and will do a "stand-still" performance in the park (in our band polo shirts—provided by the uniform committee).  Cost of the trip will be somewhere in the area of $175...which covers just about everything.  It's a terrific "last fling" for our band seniors and a neat way to rekindle the marching band vibe that will be just around the corner.  Be on the look out for the formal letter soon.

4) Six of our concert students will be attending the UNCG Honor Band Festival next Thursday-Saturday (Feb. 14-16).  Thank you for representing our program so well!  

5) Our Winter Chamber Concert is Thursday, 2/21 at 7:00pm.  This concert is really cool because it features mainly small groups of instrumentalists.  You get to hear the band in it's separate "component" parts.  The variety of music and the talent displayed is really impressive.  And guess what, for the first time ever we are going have an "adult ensemble" performing comprised mainly of our current band parents!  This is a terrific idea that I hope becomes a tradition.  Thank you Mark Michaud for all your work getting this group together.  The concert is FREE and there are refreshments served afterwards.  

...And finally, please consider doing the following:
             -BUY A BAND YEARBOOK...for you, for your kid(s), and as a thank you to SUSAN UY who does an incredible job putting this together.  I've never seen anything like this.  Click here to find all the information about ordering a band book:

             -BUY A DVD OF OUR the Holiday Concert last December...for you, for your kid(s), and as a thank you to DAVID UY who does a masterful job with 5 different camera angles making certain that you can see every child on stage.  Again, I've never seen anything like this. Contact Julian King at for information on ordering a DVD.

             -BUY A PICTURE OF YOUR MARCHING BAND CHILD(REN) FROM "JUST SMILE"...for you, for your kid(s), and as a thank you to Trish Bristow for the beautiful job she does year after year preserving incredible memories of youth.  

To order pictures from this year, please use the link and password below:
If you would like to order photos or composites from previous years, please contact Tricia directly919-215-0681  or her email address is

The three individuals noted above give an incredible amount of time to our program..please make certain we thank them by supporting their work.  (P.S., the Uy's get no financial credit for their

Remember,  you will always be remembered for what you DO...  It's the do-do that matters:)

1-10 of 76