Congratulations and This Week!

Good afternoon all,

Here is email number two, as promised.

First, I wanted to send out a CONGRATULATIONS to all the Jazz Students
from BJHS and BHS!

In case you missed it, this weekend, the students from Brunswick Jazz
Programs traveled to Durham, NH to participate in the Clark Terry UNH Jazz

This non-competitive festival exists to promote jazz programs across New
England and sees pfrtiipcation from schools as far away as Rhode Island
and Connecticut. All four ensembles performed very well! The Jazz Combo, a
self-directed sextet that writes their own arrangements, came away with an
honorable mention in the Combo Room! The Thursday Night Jazz Ensemble
earned an Outstanding Ensemble award in the ³A² band room. This is the top
award you can receive at the UNH Jazz Festival. I am so proud of the 55
high school jazz musicians and the 24 Junior high musicians who
represented our community with exceptional musicianship and pride.

Now, for some quick calendar items. This is essentially the same info I
gave you last week but I wanted to be sure you all were reminded. PLEASE

First, regarding the weather – As of right now, Band-O-Rama is a go. It
will continue to be a go until the school says otherwise.

IF, for whatever reason, they say we can¹t do Band-O-Rama on Tuesday, I
will be in touch regarding plans. We are currently working on a “what if”
since a snow date was never picked.

Monday ­ 3/13
7:00 a.m ­ Morning Band

Tuesday ­ 3/14 ­ BAND ­ O ­RAMA!!!!!!
7:00 a.m ­ Morning Band

Band-O-Rama Schedule
Attached is a PDF of all the important info for Band-O-Rama. Just to clear
up some confusion, this is an event for EVERY kid in band.

3:15 Brunswick rehearses on stage
4:45 Combined bands line up in gym to line up for combined rehearsal while
stage is set up for combined rehearsal
5:00 Combined rehearsal on stage
5:30 Dinner in the Cafeteria
6:00 Change into concert dress
6:30 Warm up
7:00 Concert
– Concert order: Mt. Ararat, Morse,
Brunswick, Combined Bands

Concert Attire is required!

Wednesday­ 3/15
7:00a.m ­ Morning Band
2:30p.m ­ Tuesday Prime
4:00 p.m ­ Tuesday Jazz
6:00 p.m ­ Thursday Jazz

Thursday ­ 3/16
6:00 a.m ­ Bus Departs for New England Music Festival (selected Students

Saturday ­ 3/18
10:00 p.m ­ Bus returns for New England Music Festival (selected Students

I hope this helps in terms of Planning!

Thank you so much for all you do to support our students! I am really
looking forward to sharing our performance with you on Tuesday. They have
done an outstanding job preparing for this concert!

Have a good rest of your weekend.

~ Mike

Weekly Update – 11/30/16

Good morning,

I hope you all had a wonderful Thanksgiving week full of time with family and friends.  

There are a few important items for the next two weeks that I wanted to bring to your attention.

Calendar Events 


– 5:00 – Tuesday Prime Jazz Band (as they are calling it)

– 6:00 – Tuesday Jazz


– 6:30 – Music Boosters


– 7:00 a.m – Morning Band

– 5:00 p.m – Thursday Jazz Winds Sectional

– 6:00 p.m – Thursday Jazz


– 8:00 a.m – The BJHS Tree and Wreath Sale – we are looking for volunteers to come and play with Ms. Anderson’s “Carol Band”. If your son or daughter is interested, please let me know. Even if they can only come for an hour, it is still very much appreciated.

– 5:00 p.m – The Night of Swing and Jazz Silent Auction and Concert

Tuesday – 12/6/16

– 7:00 a.m – Morning Band

– 5:00 p.m – Tuesday Prime

– 6:00 p.m – Tuesday Jazz

Wednesday – 12/7/16

– 5:00 p.m – Thursday Jazz Rhythm Section

– 6:00 p.m – Thursday Jazz

Thursday – 12/8/16

– CONCERT DAY! Please See attached for info and exact times

Friday – 12/9/16

– 6:00 p.m – our first basketball game for the year!

Saturday – 12/10/16

– NEMFA Auditions. Please see attached for info and exact times


Students should be turning in their sold raffle tickets and concert tickets THIS WEEK! This is our largest fundraiser and has the opportunity to bring in some serious cash to offset the cost of the band trip significantly. If you need more tickets, please have your son or daughter see Mrs. Van Slyck in band today or Thursday. By Thursday, ALL TICKETS SOLD OR OTHERWISE will need to be returned so we can account for them.

Thank you to those who have already signed up to volunteer for Saturday’s event.  We are still looking for more people to help out with the event. We appreciate any assistance you can give!! Please click the link below for a list of what needs to be done

As this is the time of year when people start thinking of gifts and such, I have put together a list of “Holiday Gift Ideas night-of-swing-and-jazz-info-letter-pdf december-2016-dates-pdf” that I have attached here.  There are so many different gifts you can give (the biggest and least expensive being the gift of time!) I thought it would be helpful to compile them into one place. I have many, many more suggestions so please, feel free to contact me if you want more thoughts for your son or daughter.

December is a bit of a whirlwind. The concert next Thursday is one of the highlights of the month for not only me, but also for our kids. I am so excited to share their learning with you! I hope you are all looking forward to the performance. 

As always, if you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to get in touch with me.

Thank you so much for all you do! 

~ Mike

Weekly Update – 5/31/16

Dear Parents,

Happy almost June! Man, how quickly time has gone. It feels like just yesterday I was sending out the first weekly update.

I have several items to bring to your attention.

Today (Tuesday)

5:30 – Tuesday Jazz Brass Sectional

6:00 – Tuesday Jazz

Wednesday, June 1

7:00 p.m – Chorus concert! Come support the choirs!

Thursday, June 2nd

7:00 a.m – Morning band

6:00 p.m – Thursday Jazz

Friday, June 3rd

5:30 p.m – Thursday Jazz reports for jazz night

6:00 p.m. – Tuesday Jazz reports for jazz night

7:00 p.m. – Jazz Night @ Crooker Theater!!

Saturday, June 4th


8 – 2p.m @ 7-Eleven on Maine Street

We need a bunch of help. I have created a sign up genius below. 

This is a super fun, great way for our kids to raise some money. The weather looks stellar and it is always a good time. Please encourage your son or daughter to sign up.

*** In the event of Rain, I will publish something on with information ***

Wednesday, June 8th

7:00 p.m. – Music Awards Night @ Crooker Theater – This event is not only for seniors! Awards are presented to kids from throughout all four grade levels. It is a great way to celebrate the accomplishments of so many of our students.

Friday, June 10th


6:00 p.m – Students report to Watson Arena in concert attire

– They will need their instruments!

– There will be no bussing from BHS to Watson. Students must arrange transportation themselves.

– Plan on being a bit early, especially if you want to park. By 6:15, it is zoo

7:00 p.m. – Graduation Starts

8:30 p.m. – Graduation ends

I believe that is all that I have for today! Thank you all so much for your support last week at the concert! I hope you enjoyed the hard work put on by our kids. They truly work hard each and every day. I feel so fortunate to have such a wonderful group of musicians to work with. Thank you for encouraging them to continue with their instrumental studies. They have been fabulous.

I hope to see you all on Friday for the jazz concert and then Saturday to GET YOUR CAR WASHED!!!!

Have a great week!

~ Mike

Updates and Reminders – 5/18/16

Good evening all,

I hope this email finds you well.

I just wanted to send out a few quick reminders about upcoming events and some last minute details on tomorrow. Below, please find a calendar of events that are important for everyone:

Monday – 5/23
Thursday Night Jazz Rehearsal (due to Senior Awards night on the 27th) 6:00 – 8:00 p.m

Tuesday – 5/24
7:00 a.m – Morning Band
5:30 p.m – Tuesday Night Jazz Brass Sectional
6:00 p.m – Tuesday Night Jazz

Wednesday – 5/24
5:30 p.m – Morning band warm up
6:00 p.m – Concert Band warm up for concert
6:30 p.m – Doors open for concert
7:00 p.m – Spring Concert

Monday – 5/30
7:30 a.m – Bus Departs BHS for Memorial Day Parade
11:15 a.m – Memorial Day Parade Ends in front of Byrnes and Scarlet Begonias (this time may change if the parade runs slowly)
– Students MUST wear black dress pants, black shoes, and an orange BHS Band polo ABSOLUTELY NO LEGGINGS WILL BE ACCEPTED.
– Sunglasses will not be allowed
– The Polo will be passed out to new students on this day. Returning students should make sure theirs is washed and wrinkle free
– Students who do not adhere to the dress code will receive a 0 for the performance.

Tuesday – 5/31
6:00 p.m – Tuesday Night Jazz

Friday – 6/3
5:30 p.m – Thursday Night Jazz Warm Up for Spring Jazz Night
6:00 p.m – Tuesday Night Jazz Warm Up for Spring Jazz Night
6:30 p.m – Doors open to Crooker
7:00 p.m. – Spring Jazz Night

All State Reminders
I sent this link out a few weeks ago but it is worth re-sending:

The above website has the answers to ALL questions about All State for the students participating in the festival. I have attached the info for students involved in Jazz, Chamber, AND the All State Festival. (this does not apply to students who are just in jazz band and going up for the day tomorrow)

Some reminders for the jazz students traveling tomorrow:
7:30 a.m – Bus departs BHS
10:00 a.m – Bus Arrives @ UMaine Orono
11:00 a.m – Warm up at 101 Neville Hall
1:00 p.m – Tuesday Jazz Performance Clinic w/ Wycliffe Gordon for Music
Teachers, students, and parents
– Thursday Jazz watches clinic
2:10 p.m – Tuesday Jazz joins Chamber Choir – Bus Departs for Brunswick
– Thursday Jazz warms up in Neville
3:00 p.m – Thursday Jazz watches reading band
4:00 p.m – Thursday Jazz performance with Wycliffe Gordon
4:30 p.m – Bus Arrives at BHS for Tuesday Jazz
5:15 p.m – Bus Departs UMaine for dinner
6:45 p.m – Bus Departs Dinner headed to BHS
8:45 p.m – Bus arrives at BHS

Students need to be dressed in concert attire for the 7:30 bus. They MAY bring some clothing to change in to but it is not mandatory
They will need money for lunch and dinner (unless they are heading back at 2:10)
I believe that is all the info that your students need for the next week or so.

As always I hope that you are well and REALLY appreciate the support that you show our students. I hope you have enjoyed everything you have seen. I am very, very proud of them.

Have a great week! I hope your kids are looking forward to this weekend!!! It is going to be so exciting!!!!
~ Mike

For Tuesday Night Jazz Parents/ Students

Good afternoon all,

I just received an email from the Assistant Superintendent that ALL after school activities are cancelled today.

This, of course, means Jazz is cancelled.

Rather than lose the rehearsal, next week we are going to have rehearsal

Monday from 6 p.m – 8


Tuesday from 6 p.m – 8

This was the only place I could put it so it would not interfere with sports and other issues. I know there are a couple of games that day. We will work with it.

Thank you all for your flexibility.  With the Wycliffe concert coming up in 3 weeks, we cannot afford to lose any time.

Who knew, snow in LAAAATE April.

~ Mike

Weekly Update – 4/12/16

Happy Tuesday all,

I hope this email finds you all well and looking forward to a week spent with your kids next week!

There are only a few things of note for this week:

1) Tonight – Tuesday:

– 2:30 – Percussion Ensemble

– 5:30 – Tuesday Jazz Brass Sectional

– 6:00 – Tuesday Night Jazz

2) Tomorrow – Wednesday:

– 7:00 a.m. – Morning band. This was a reschedule from today to allow the Juniors more time to sleep due to SAT testing.

3 ) Thursday:

– 7:00 a.m. – Morning band as per usual

– 3:30 p.m – Jazz Combo 2

– 5:30 p.m. – Walkin’ and Swingin’ Horn sectional

– 6:00 p.m. – Thursday night jazz


I just wanted to remind everyone on the concert/ performance schedule for the month of May as it is a busy time for us:

5/10 – All Town Band Concert – 6:30 p.m. – BHS Gym

5/12 – Thursday Night Jazz at One Longfellow Square – 8:00 p.m. – Portland

5/19 – All Jazz Groups to Umaine for performance at All – State (more info to come)

5/25 – Spring Concert – 7:00 p.m. – Crooker

5/30 – Memorial Day Parade – 7:30 a.m – BHS

6/3 – Jazz Night (location TBA)

6/8 – Music Awards Night (not required)

6/10 – Graduation (REQUIRED)

Please remember to check the band website for calendar updates INCLUDING rescheduled rehearsals.

Performance Opportunity

Retired music educator and Brunswick resident, Bob Modr, has sent a request asking for some of our kids to perform with the Harpswell Community band. From Bob: I would love to have some BHS musicians play with our summer band.  We have begun rehearsals and we meet Monday evenings from 6:30-8:30 at the former West Harpswell Elem. School which is now the Harpswell Coastal Academy on rt. 123.  The sections that I would like to add to are:  clarinets (3-4), percussion (1), alto sax (1) Trombone (1) Tuba (1-2).  If you are interested, please let me know and I will pass along the info to Mr. Modr.

Finally, a note of congratulations!!!!

On Thursday, May 19th, the BHS Jazz program will be given a rare and VERY special opportunity to perform with Internationally known performer, educator, and composer Wycliffe Gordon. Mr. Gordon is has been named The Downbeat Critics Poll  “Best in Trombone” for the past three years (2014, 2013 & 2012) and Jazz Journalists Association named him “Trombonist of the Year” in 2013, as well as previous years 2001, 2002, 2006, 2007, 2008, 2011 and 2012. He recently received the Louis Armstrong Memorial Prize presented by the Swing Jazz Culture Foundation, and was named Artist of the Year by the Augusta Arts Council.

In addition to an extremely successful solo career, Gordon tours regularly leading the quintet known as Wycliffe Gordon and his International All-Stars, headlining at legendary jazz venues and performing arts centers throughout the world. Gordon is a former veteran member of the Wynton Marsalis Septet, Lincoln Center Jazz Orchestra and has been a featured guest artist on Billy Taylor’s “Jazz at the Kennedy Center” Series.

The BHS Thursday night jazz ensemble will perform a concert at the Maine Music Educators Association Music Conference at the University of Maine at Orono alongside Mr. Gordon. The concert will be open to all music educators from around the state of Maine as well as several visiting teachers.

Earlier in the day, the Tuesday Night Jazz Ensemble will perform a clinic with Mr. Gordon on high school jazz rehearsal techniques. They will perform along with Mr. Gordon again for all the music educators in the state to hear and see.

This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for 42 of Brunswick’s finest musicians to play with a living legend!  Congratulations to the BHS Jazz Ensembles for earning such a outstanding opportunity!

I am super pumped for them. I will be giving more information as the details of the day are made known to me.

As always, thank you so much for all you do to support our fine musicians!

Enjoy your week. Please feel free to contact me with any questions you  might have.



Weekly Update – 2/10/16

Dear parents,

I hope this email finds you well.  I wanted to bring to your attention some details for the rest of this week as well as some stuff after vacation.


6:30 p.m – Music Boosters meeting in the band room. This will cover some VERY important info on the upcoming District 3 Jazz Festival, Band-O-Rama, and the Mattress Sale. Please make every effort to attend.

5:00 – 8:00 p.m – Five Guys Dinner Fundraiser

We are very fortunate that Five Guys has agreed to once again host a dinner fundraiser to support the music program.  Here is the deal:

– Show up between 5:00 and 8:00 p.m.

– Order food.

– A percentage of your sale will be donated to the music department.

– No need to sell anything. Just eat dinner…or, just get a milkshake. It doesn’t matter.

Thursday, 2/11/16:

– 7:00 a.m – Honors Wind Ensemble

– 5:30 p.m. – Thursday Jazz Sectional

– 6:00 p.m. – Thursday Jazz

Friday 2/12/16:

– Our FINAL pep band performance (unless the basketball teams make the state game)

– The time is 7 p.m.

– The location is the Civic Center in Portland.

– The bus will depart BHS at 5:00 p.m.

– The bus will return approximately 9:30 p.m

– Students MUST wear their pep band shirt. (the MPA has a uniform policy for bands)

That is everything for this week. Vacation week is empty which brings us to the week after vacation.

Wednesday 2/24:

  • District 3 Jazz Festival
  • Please see the 2016 D3 Jazz Festival Schedule Draft 1[1] schedule for performance times for our various groups
  • We will need a host of volunteers. A Sign-up genius will be circulating by tomorrow with the various jobs we need filled.
  • PLEASE come and support our fabulous jazz musicians

Saturday 2/27:

  • MBDA Jazz Festival @ Westbrook High School.
  • Details to follow as soon as I receive them

I believe those are the only big calendar items for this week.

I wanted to take one more minute to wish the best of luck to the various athletic teams who will be involved in playoffs, tournaments, or meets over break. We are so lucky to have so many students who are involved in one of the various sports both at school and in the community! I will be wishing you all the best of luck and thinking of you this week.

I hope you all have a safe and relaxing vacation.  Enjoy some time with your son or daughter. It’s hard to believe but, when we come back, the rest of the year SCREAMS by.

As always, please let me know if you have any questions.

See you tonight at the boosters meeting!!!!

~ Mike

Weekly Update – 10/6/15

Good morning all,

I hope this email finds you well.

I had a few items for this week so I thought I would dive right in:

  1. Tonight – Tuesday Night Jazz – 6 – 8 p.m. NEXT WEEK we are asking the kids to show up at 5:15 in All Black to take their formal picture for the Silent Auction program. Rehearsal will go 5:15 – 8 on Tuesday, 10/13
  2. Tomorrow – Tomorrow was our normally scheduled Music Boosters meeting. Since the most pressing item is the upcoming Silent Auction, we will only have one meeting this week on Thursday at 6:30 in the Cafeteria to discuss this. PLEASE make every effort to be there.
  3. Thursday – 5:15 p.m. -All Thursday Jazz Students dressed in performance attire to take their formal picture. PLEASE DO NOT BE LATE!.  6:00 – Thursday Jazz

There are still some slots needed to be filled for the Silent Auction. Please visit and sign up. We would like to have everything filled up by the end of the week.

Thank you to all of you who have had your son or daughter at the various pep band games on time and ready to go. I know that moving a teenager along is no easy task and I truly appreciate all that you have done.

If any of you were interested, on Thursdays we have a private lesson instructor who has been traveling to BHS to teach some of our kids. His name is Doug Kennedy and his speciality is low brass and bass. He has been working with 4 of our students as well as a few from BJHS. He has a couple of open slots and it is a perfect opportunity to get some one-on-one time with an expert in that particular area. If you are interested, please email me ASAP and I will try and work in a time.

I believe that is all I have for this week.

Thank you so much for making the beginning of the year such a huge success. I appreciate all the time and energy you have put into our fabulous kids and the program.

Have a great Tuesday.

~ Mike

Good morning,

This is the second email from me today. I will keep it brief as I am sure you are all very busy.

First – OUTSTANDING first outing for the band last Friday! We only had 3 “no shows” which, considering our size, is exceptional. Just a reminder – if there is an emergency and your son or daughter can’t be at a game, an email is appreciated.  Also, remember that work is never an excused absence. (which is why we put out a calendar months in advance)

Here is a rundown of this weeks activities:


– 2:20 – 3 – District 3 rehearsal

– 6:00 – 8 – Tuesday Jazz


– 2:20 – 3 – District 3 rehearsal


– 2:20 – 3 – District 3 rehearsal

– 4 – 5:30 – Jazz All State Rehearsal

– 6:00 – Thursday Night Jazz

– 6:30 – Auction Meeting in Cafeteria


– 6:00 – Pep band at the football game.

We still need help for this Friday’s “Walking Taco” fundraiser.   Thank you to Mrs. Marc-Aurele for setting this up yet again! Last week was VERY successful.

Concert band started this week. If your son or daughter is looking to find recordings of the music I have selected, please have them visit:

I believe that is all I have for right now. Just a reminder to sign up for Silent Auction stuff and Walking Tacos ASAP so we can fill any holes that we see.

One of the things I am always worried about is my teaching. I find myself asking the following questions on a daily basis:

Am I fair?

Am I clear in my expectations?

Am I clear in my delivery?

Am I meeting the kids needs? If not, how can I improve?

If, for some reason, your son or daughter feels like any of these need addressing, I would be more than happy to chat about it.  They are very important to me and I always want to continue the positive forward momentum we have seen over the past few years.

Thank you all so much.

I hope you have a great week.

~ Mike