Marching Band 2018 Overview Letter

posted Apr 13, 2018, 5:06 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Apr 13, 2018, 5:07 AM ]

The purpose of this letter is to provide you with information regarding the marching schedule for the upcoming months.   

Drum Major Candidate Training and Audition

April 30, May 2, 7, 8          3:00-5:00pm

May 9 (audition)             3:15-5:00pm

Section Leader Interviews (including guard/percussion captains)

--Students will sign-up for a 10-minute interview during the time listed below. 

April 30, May 2                    3:00-5:30pm

Rising Freshmen Orientation Meetings 

--New members attend one or both; Section Leaders attend both.

May 14 & 15                        6:30-8:30pm

Colorguard Clinics & Auditions

--The clinics and auditions are required for all students intending on participating in colorguard. 

May 14 & 15                        6:30-8:30pmClinics

May 16 & 21                        6:30-8:30pmAuditions

Percussion Clinics & Audition

--The clinics are highly recommended for all new students as well as returning students who are interested in auditioning on an instrument that they have not played before.  The audition is required for all students, new and returning.

May 14 & 15                        6:30-8:30pmClinics

May 16 & 21                        6:30-8:30pmAudition

Leadership Meetings for all rising Seniors/Section Leaders

May 14                                              2:30-3:00pm

May 29 (election of band captain)    2:30-3:15pm

TBA (inventory/cleaning)                TBA



July 23-26                                6:30pm-10:00pm*

*Leadership meetings for seniors and section leaders will be held 3:00-5:00pm Monday through Thursday; attendance is mandatory.

Band Camp at N.C. Wesleyan College (Rocky Mount, NC)

July 29 - Aug. 3                 All day/night

Post Camp

Aug. 7, 8, 96:30pm-10:00pm

Aug. 14, 15, 16                        6:30pm-10:00pm

Aug. 21, 22, 23                        6:30pm-10:00pm

After-School Rehearsals (beginning Tuesday, Aug. 28 to early November)*

Tuesday                                     3:00-5:30pm

Wednesday                                3:00-5:00pm

Thursday                                    3:00-5:30pm

*Rehearsals for drumline, front ensemble, and guard may vary from the above due to instructor availability.  The drumline usually rehearses in the evening on Wednesday (not after school); the guard usually rehearses in the evening on Tuesday and Wednesday (not after school).  The entire band usually rehearses after school on Thursday.  All changes will be communicated in writing as far in advance as possible.

Performance Schedule

At the time of this letter, all performances are TBA, but include 5 home football games (usually Friday evenings), 5 competitions (on Saturdays), and several other events (parades, school assemblies).  In general, the students will be involved in some type of activity on most Saturdays from mid-September to Thanksgiving.  A complete rehearsal and performance schedule will be distributed in May.


Additional Information/FAQs


Students interested in colorguard or percussion must attend the clinics and audition in May.  Specific placement within units will depend on talent/skill level.  Woodwind and brass players who have successfully completed 8th grade band in middle school are not required to audition.  Students who have not participated in middle school band should contact the band director for specific requirements. 

Orientation Meetings?

All rising freshmen are highly encouraged to attend one or both of the orientation meetings on May 14 & 15.  [Percussion and guard students must attend these meetings as they are audition dates.]  The purpose of these meetings is to provide an opportunity for students and parents to visit our campus, meet our staff and parent boosters, and actually do some rehearsing (wear tennis shoes and bring your instrument).

Summer Rehearsals?

Summer rehearsals are necessary due to the school schedule and the amount of training/conditioning involved in this activity.  Percussionists and guard usually meet 1-2 days per week throughout June and July to learn/strengthen fundamentals.  These informal rehearsals are NOT MANDITORY, but highly encouraged.  The instructors will provide dates and times for these rehearsals in early June.  

Pre-Camp is required for all band members (including percussion and guard) in order to teach/review marching fundamentals and for students to get acquainted with each other and the staff.  Band Camp is the most important week of the marching band season.  It is an intense week where students focus almost entirely on learning the 

competition show.  The purpose of Post Camp is to reinforce and strengthen skills, movement, and music learned at band camp.  

If you would like to participate in the 2018 Marching Band but cannot attend one or more of the summer rehearsals, please contact the band office as soon as possible.  Band camp is the most critical of all weeks; exceptions to this week are made sparingly and are based on musicianship skills and circumstances. 


Our marching band performs a variety of music reflecting the three major roles that we fulfill to our school/community and students:  1) ceremonial/patriotic music (Star Spangled Banner, America, etc.) to fulfill our role as ambassador; 2) pep and spirited music (oldies and current hits) to add excitement to sporting events and rallies; and 3) “artistic music” to enhance the music education of our students and audience.  It is this 

music that we play for competitions.  


As the marching band receives NO FUNDING from WCPSS, it is necessary to assess a “fair share obligation” for participating in the marching band.  In order to cover the cost of band camp, instruments, extra staffing, music, charting, equipment, charter transportation, and other service needs, each student is assessed two types of commitments:  1) a non-refundable registration fee of $100.  2) a “financial commitment” of $975*, and 3) a “service commitment” of working 5 paid fundraising shifts per family (equal to approx. $175, or approx. $35 per shift).  Here’s the good news:  fulfilling each service commitment not only meets this obligation, but also earns money that goes directly toward the student’s band account. And, families can continue to earn money toward their financial commitment by working at fundraising venues to partially or fully offset the entire amount.  Families may also “pay” the entire financial commitment and service commitment out-of-pocket.  

The service commitment is easy to fulfill provided that the student and family are willing to participate in one or more of the following group activities 1) working concessions at the PNC Arena for Hurricanes or NC State games; and 2) Monitoring parking lots at the NC State Fair.  Working 5 shifts at any of these events will fulfill your required service commitment AND earn money toward your financial commitment.  

We are requesting that the financial assessment be paid in the following manner:  $100 by June 1st with the intent form (see below), an additional $500 prior to band camp (July 27th), and $125 on the first of each month beginning in September and ending in December provided the service commitment is fulfilled.  Of course, money earned through fundraising events in addition to the 5 service commitments will lower these above amounts.  

Financial assistance is available through the booster organization for students who demonstrate need.  No student should be discouraged to join due to the financial obligation; we will assist every family willing to contribute their “fair share.” 

How do I sign up?

In order to be included in the 2018 Athens Drive Marching Band, each student—new and returning—must complete the “2018-19 Marching Band Registration and Intent Form” located on the Forms page of our website at by June 1st.

Please note that we are requesting a non-refundable deposit of $100.  Students with a credit in their band account can have this deposit deducted by indicating so on the form.  The $100 will be used toward the overall marching band assessment.  Because our music and drill is custom written for our band, we must know exact numbers by June 1st.  Students who enroll after June 1st are not guaranteed a position.

Final Thoughts

Because the success of a group such as the marching band is contingent upon participation from everyone involved, it is crucial that students be at ALL rehearsals and performances.  If you see a serious conflict with any of the aforementioned dates, please let me know in writing as soon as possible.  Many circumstances—including doctor appointments—can be adjusted now in order to avoid hindering the progress of over 160 students!

We are proud of the fact that over 90% of all instrumental music students at ADHS (those enrolled in Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble) participate in the marching band.  We are also excited about the accomplishments of this group:  During the past 40 years the marching band has won numerous “First Place” and “Grand Champion” awards and has performed in such famous locales as the Outback Bowl in Tampa, Florida, the Washington D.C. Memorial Day Parade, the Philadelphia Thanksgiving Day Parade, and the Walt Disney World Electric Light Parade.  This is an outstanding music program and we look forward to your enthusiastic participation!

If you have any questions regarding the contents of this letter or our band program, please do not hesitate to contact me (email is easiest).  We look forward to seeing you soon!

Dr. Jerry Markoch

*The “fair-share assessment” covers all program costs including band camp, transportation to performance venues, meals at competitions, uniform/instrument/equipment loan, instruction, music, choreography.  Every attempt is made to limit additional expenses.  In fact, the only “extra” expense is marching shoes if necessary (@$45).  

*Financial assessment for colorguard members will be $775 to help offset expenses for Winterguard.  The service commitment of 5 events is still applicable. 

*Families with 2 or more children in the marching band program will be assessed $975 for the first child and 20% less for each other child ($780 for winds & percussion, $620 for guard).  If one child plays a wind/percussion instrument and another child is a member of the guard, the 20% discount will be taken from the guard assessment.  

*All student accounts must be paid in full by June 3rd in order to enroll in the marching band for upcoming year.  Families with demonstrated financial need may apply for financial aid in meeting their unpaid balance.

Summer Guitar Lessons From Doc

posted Apr 12, 2018, 3:16 PM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Apr 12, 2018, 3:16 PM ]

Each summer for the past several years I have been offering a series of guitar lessons with great success!  Geared primarily for beginners and moderately proficient students, these lessons have offered a refreshing way to experience music and enhance one's overall musicianship.  And I'm open to teaching adults as well. 
As described in the attached memo, the only thing the student needs to provide is a guitar.  There are many of those floating around, or one can be procured at a local music store, or purchased online inexpensively.

I grew up playing the guitar, having studied the instrument since 4th grade.  Like piano, the guitar is both a melodic and harmonic instrument - and quite rhythmic when one considers all the strumming patterns available.  Without hesitation, I know that my musical ear and overall instinct was shaped primarily by my experience playing this wonderful instrument.

Please contact me if someone in your family is interested - and feel free to pass this along to anyone else that you know!
Thank you so much!

Summer Guitar Lesson Program (2018)
  1. A total of six 40-minute private lessons will be offered during the weeks of June 18 through August 13.  Lessons will be given on Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Thursdays between 8:30am-2:00pm.  Students may choose which weeks they can attend to fit their summer schedule.  I am very flexible with regard to makeups.
  2. No lessons will be given the week of July 2 and July 30.  (This still provides 7 possible weeks for lessons.)
  3. All lessons will be given by Dr. Jerry Markoch, Director of Bands at Athens Drive H.S. who has over 30 years of teaching experience.  Lessons will be given at a former band parent’s residence, located minutes from Athens Drive.  [WCPSS prohibits employees from giving “private” lessons on school property.] 
  4. The total cost of the lessons is $225.00—this includes all instructional materials except the guitar.  Students must supply their own guitar; however, guitars can often be borrowed or rented inexpensively at many local dealers.   An acoustic guitar is the best choice for a beginner (it is the most common type of guitar with steel strings).
  5. A $75 deposit (made payable to Dr. Jerry Markoch and sent to the address above) is required to secure a lesson time in the schedule.  It would be preferred that the balance ($150) be paid by the third lesson; however, alternative arrangements can be made.
  6. Although lessons are geared for beginning students in grades 4-12, college age students and adults are welcome.  No prior music experience is necessary.  Lessons can also be given to “intermediate-skilled” students with a year or two of experience.
  7. To get started, please contact Dr. Markoch via email ( with the preferred day and time of lesson.  
I have had the opportunity to teach summer guitar lessons to many of our band students for the past 6 years.  It is a terrific, refreshing way to experience music.  Most of our students have learned the skills needed to continue to play the guitar for the rest of their life!  Thank you for your interest in this unique program!

Logisitcs for State Festival Performances

posted Mar 19, 2018, 5:47 PM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Mar 19, 2018, 5:47 PM ]

The purpose of this letter is to clarify all information concerning our adjudicated State Festival Performance for our Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band this week.  

Wednesday, March 21 (State Festival-Wind Ensemble at Apex Friendship) 

11:20am            Report to band room

                          Change into formal attire

                          Load equipment truck with medium/large instruments

Noon                  Group meeting; load bus

12:10pm            Depart Athens

12:40pm             Arrive AFHS



1:55pm               Performance

3:15p                   Load busses; receive ratings

3:30pm                Depart AFHS

4:00pm                Arrive ADHS

*I am driving 1 large activity bus.  We have more members than seats available, so I can use some parents to help drive.  A few seniors may drive provided I receive a note from a parent.  Senior drivers are to stay with the bus on the way to Apex Friendship.

Thursday, March 22 (State Festival-Symphonic Band at Apex Friendship) 

10:00am                    Report to band room

                                  Eat lunch

                                  Change into formal attire

                                  Load equipment truck with medium/large instruments

10:50am                    Group meeting; load bus

11:00am                    Depart Athens

11:30am                    Arrive AFHS



12:50pm                    Performance

2:00pm                        Load busses; receive ratings

2:15pm                        Depart AFHS

2:45pm                        Arrive ADHS

State Festival is our single most significant performance of the year (in terms of formal accreditation) as ratings are given and distributed throughout the state.   This performance really puts our program “on the map” in many important ways.  It also provides a way for all of us to do something significant for our school!

Parents are encouraged to attend our performances at Apex Friendship!  The performances are FREE—and it gets really lonely performing for a few “judges.”  The kids LOVE performing for a full house!  Please come out and show your support for our great BAND!  Your continued support means a great deal to the students—and me! Let’s knock these performances out of the park!

Gotta luv it!


P.S.  The SNOW THREAT on Wednesday really needs to end!  Seriously…  We’re done with winter… Prayers are encouraged, as there is no make up for these performances.

4 band students earn positions in North Carolina All-State Band!

posted Mar 5, 2018, 8:11 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Mar 5, 2018, 8:11 AM ]

Some good news!
Four of our band students earned a coveted position in the 2018 North Carolina All-State Band this past weekend:

Cooper Sykes (10th grade, alto sax)
Ian Chang (10th grade, trumpet)
Brian Suh (11th grade, trumpet)
Tyrone Williamson (11th grade, trumpet)

Earning a position in the All-State Band is the highest honor that can be awarded a band student in North Carolina!  The All-State Band in North Carolina comprises 100 of the finest musicians in our state.  The band rehearses and performs at UNC-Chapel Hill in early May.


Pep Band needed tonight - 5:45-6pm for Open House Fight Song!

posted Mar 1, 2018, 10:34 AM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Mar 1, 2018, 10:34 AM ]

I realize that this is last minute; however, I only learned of this an hour ago... 

We have been asked (by Mr. Mares) to provide a pep band to play the "Fight Song" for our rising 9th graders and their parents for tonight's open house in the auditorium.  

So let's keep this simple...

Just be at school around 5:30pm to get your instrument and warm up..

We'll go over to the auditorium and play when asked. 

You're done at 6:00pm

No special type of dress required...although blue and orange is always in fashion.

Yes, and it's an extra NHS hour.



Reminder about upcoming Festival Band Concerts!

posted Feb 28, 2018, 9:18 AM by Athens Drive High School Band

The purpose of this letter is to remind everyone of the upcoming dress rehearsals and Festival Concerts, and to provide information about our adjudicated State Festival Performance for our Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band.   

Wednesday, March 7

7:00-8:30pm        Jazz Ensemble Dress Rehearsal

Thursday, March 8 (Festival Concert I)

6:15pm                Concert Band and Jazz Ensemble reports to ADHS

                            Concert Band warms up in band room; Jazz Ensemble warms up in chorus room.

7:00pm                Concert begins

                                - Concert Band

                                - Jazz Ensemble

Thursday, March 15 (Festival Concert II)

6:15pm                Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble reports to ADHS

                            Symphonic Band warms up in band room; Wind Ensemble warms up in chorus room.

7:00pm                Concert begins

                                - Symphonic Band  

                                - Wind Ensemble

***Both Festival Concerts are FREE with refreshments served at their conclusion (approx. 8:30pm).  We have cancelled the dress rehearsals previously scheduled for the concert groups.

Wednesday, March 21 (State Festival-Wind Ensemble at Apex Friendship) 

11:20am                Report to band room and change into Concert Dress

                              Gather instruments/music/equipment

                              Load equipment truck

11:50am                Group meeting; load bus

12:10pm                Depart Athens

12:40pm                Arrive AFHS

                                    - orientation

                                    - warmup

1:55pm                   Performance

3:15pm                    Load busses; receive ratings

3:30pm                    Depart AFHS

4:00pm                    Arrive ADHS

***Wind Ensemble students will be EXCUSED from their 3rd and 4th period classes, as this event is an integral part of our curriculum.

Thursday, March 22 (State Festival-Symphonic Band at Apex Friendship) 

10:00am                    Report to band room and change into concert attire

                                  Load equipment truck

10:30am                    Group meeting; load bus

10:45am                    Depart Athens

11:15am                    Arrive AFHS

                                       - orientation

                                       - warmup

12:20pm                    Performance

1:25pm                       Load busses; receive ratings

1:40pm                       Depart AFHS

2:10pm                       Arrive ADHS

***Symphonic Band students will be EXCUSED from half of their 2nd period and all of their 3rd period classes, as this event is an integral part of our curriculum.  (They have Symphonic Band 4th block.)

For our State Festival Performances, please be sure to check your calendars carefully and make the necessary adjustments.  State Festival is our single most significant performance of the year (in terms of formal accreditation) as ratings are given and distributed throughout the state.   Parents are encouraged to attend our performances at Apex Friendship!  The Festival is open to the public and is FREE!

Your continued support means a great deal to the students - and me!  We look forward to sharing some great music with you during the upcoming weeks!  


State Band Contest TIMES for Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band

posted Feb 27, 2018, 1:52 PM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 27, 2018, 1:53 PM ]

I just wanted to share with you the performance times that we were given for our State Band Festival held at Apex Friendship H.S. next month: 

Wind Ensemble
Wednesday, March 21
Performance: 1:55pm
(We will leave Athens at 12:10pm and should be back by 4:00pm.  Students involved in sporting events after school will probably be free to leave Apex Friendship by 3:15pm.  Students will be excused from 3rd and 4th block classes.)

Symphonic Band
Thursday, March 22
Performance: 12:20pm
(We will leave Athens at 10:45am and should be back by 2:00pm.  Students will be excused from 1/2 of 2nd period and all of 3rd period.  They are with me 4th period.)

State Band Festival is the only time that our concert groups are adjudicated throughout the school year.  The groups receive ratings based on the quality of their performance by a panel of 4 "judges."  Steeped in tradition, this event is almost 100 years old having begun in the 1920's after the first World War.  John Philip Sousa was one of the first “judges".

Needless to say, this event is VERY IMPORTANT, a cornerstone of our year.  Ratings are made public and distributed to music programs throughout the state.  It is a remarkably valid indicator of the quality of instrumental music in a school.  Thank you for supporting this endeavor!


A Way to Show Support for Florida High School

posted Feb 20, 2018, 12:40 PM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 20, 2018, 12:40 PM ]

From Doc: 
Scott Lang is a wonderful representative of LEADERSHIP in our band community.  He presents hundreds of leadership clinics each year across the country and maintains an active website to motivate band students and directors. Please read his message below.


There are no words to describe the horrific events of this past week. The students and staff of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School were subjected to a brutal rampage that left seventeen lives cut far too short.

Among those who lost their lives were two band members; Gina Montalto, a fourteen-year-old color guard member, and Alexander Schachter, a fourteen-year-old who played trombone and baritone.

In the aftermath, I reached out to the Director of Bands Alexander Kaminski who is a client and friend to ask how I could help. He simply said, “Tell everyone that the outpouring of love from so many friends across the country has been overwhelming. Please let everyone know how much we appreciate their support.”

And support we will.

We have set up a page where you and your students can share your thoughts with the Stoneman Douglas Performing Arts Department. We will collect all of the responses and post them on a private URL for the parents, students and staff affected by this tragedy.

Please take a minute to share a note of love and support, and consider asking your students to do the same during class on Tuesday. I would also ask that you share this note with your friends and colleagues who might not receive this email.

Let’s let them know that while they are still at home, they are not alone.


Scott Lang

Winter Chamber Concert next Thursday, Feb 22 at 7pm

posted Feb 13, 2018, 1:53 PM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Feb 13, 2018, 1:53 PM ]

I am excited to announce the addition of a WINTER CHAMBER CONCERT to our Concert Series next Thursday, February 22 at 7:00pm!  In addition to performing a variety of wonderful music, we will also be inducting 38 students into our Tri-M Music Honor Society

Similar to our Fall Chamber Concert, this performance will feature most members of our Symphonic Band & Wind Ensemble performing mainly in small ensembles (e.g., Flute Choir, Horn Choir, Woodwind Choir, etc.) as well as solos, duets, trios, etc.  Some of the pieces have even been written/arranged by the students themselves!  

Dress is “nice”, but of students’ choice.  Some of the choirs are dressing in a special manner to highlight their piece or simply their identity as a section. 

I am also extending an enthusiastic invitation to our CONCERT BAND to attend this program (with your parents) to experience what the future holds for you at Athens Drive!  You will be amazed at the quality of many of these performances and I trust will be impressed by how these upperclassmen perform - many are your section leaders in marching band!  We also need help distributing programs and working back stage as a “stage tech.”  I’ll give all Concert Band students who attend “extra credit” as well!  

I am proud to inform you that only the finest high school programs cultivate chamber music in their programs.  [The word “chamber” refers to music to be played in a small room (a chamber) and has been used for centuries.]  The educational benefit of performing in a chamber group is self-evident:  Playing in a small group requires that the students play with more confidence and musicianship, listen more carefully for rhythmic precision and intonation, and make their own musical decisions with regard to phrase shaping, tempo, attacks/releases, etc.  By strengthening individual performers, you strengthen the group. 

Students will report to the school at a time that allows them sufficient time to warm-up well and be prepared with their respective ensemble to perform.  Many will report to school around 6:30pm - some may be able to come a little later.

I look forward to seeing you Thursday evening!  It will be a delightfully fast-paced program filled with variety and outstanding performances! 


P.S.  We will not be having a dress rehearsal on Wednesday evening (as originally noted on the schedule).

Amended dates for State Band Festival for WE and SB

posted Jan 30, 2018, 1:01 PM by Athens Drive High School Band   [ updated Jan 30, 2018, 1:01 PM ]

To:        Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band students and parents
RE:        Amended dates for State Band Festival

I think I misread something earlier in the year...okay, I’m quite certain I misread something earlier in the year…

Our State Band Festival is Wednesday, March 21 through Friday, March 23 (not the 19th -21st as indicated in the schedule).

I would like our Wind Ensemble to perform on Wednesday, March 21st - most likely in the evening.
I would like our Symphonic Band to perform on Thursday, March 22 - most likely in the mid-late afternoon.

Both performances will be at Apex Friendship High School and we will transport the students to and from the event as usual.  I should receive times in about 3 weeks.  

No response to this note is necessary unless there is a significant conflict.
Sorry for the error and I appreciate your flexibility!


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