Band Update/Newsletter Summer, 2020

​7-16-2020 UPDATE:  CLICK HERE to read an important announcement regarding Marching Season.

​From the Director

​Dear BVN Band Family,

Happy Summer to All!  I hope that everyone has some wonderful rest, relaxation, and family time during the summer months!  Thanks to everyone for taking a few minutes to read all of the important info about the BVN Band’s upcoming 2020-21 year – I am very excited to get started!

To all new members of the Mustang Bands – WELCOME!  You are in for a wonderful and unique experience; one that myself, Mr. Wagoner, and all of our staff members will always work to make the best possible for YOU!

To all returning members – WELCOME BACK!  It is my distinct privilege to make music with each of you.  As always, know you have a home in the band room and support from the band office for all of your endeavors.

To all of the BVN Band Family – whatever happens in our covid-19 reality – I am very much looking forward to working with our phenomenal students.  It will be a wonderful year!

This newsletter is filled with important information to ensure a successful start of the year.  Thanks for your careful reading of all topics:

  1. Covid-19 and the BVN Band
  2. The Year Ahead
    • Fall/Spring Overview​
    • Calendar Links
    • Band Leadership and Staff
  3. Band Participation Details – for ALL band students!
    • Dues
    • Forms
    • Uniforms
    • Communication/Charms
  4. Marching Mustangs Information! (including some preliminary Covid-Band-info).
    • Summer Camp Info
    • Music Folders
    • Percussion and Color Guard Info.
  5. Parents – We Need You!
    • Get involved with our Mustang Band Boosters​
    • Letter from Band Booster President Lori VanderLeest
  6. Band Instruments
    • School owned
    • Personal instruments – maintenance?  Time for an upgrade?
    • Accessories – make sure you have the right gear!
  7. Expanding your Musical Horizons
    • The Band Letter​
    • Private Lessons
    • Honor Band Experiences
  8. BVN Band Media
    • Audio and Video Recordings
    • Pictures and Shutterfly
  9. BVN Parent Booster Club (PBC)
    • ALL Band Parents Should Join!!!!  A wonderful and supportive organization.​
  10. Remembering the 2019-2020 School Year – Since it ended early… let us not forget the awesome year it was!​

​There is a lot of information in this Summer Band Update.  We don’t expect anyone to digest all of it in one sitting.  However, all students and all parents alike should take the time to read everything prior to band camp and the start of the school year.  Thank you for your careful and thorough reading over the next month!

Musically yours,

Mr. Freeman

Covid-19 and Band

We are all living through a unique moment in time – a moment that will be looked back to as a crossroads in our shared history.  As we stand at this crossroads, we will all have unique experiences as our society collectively tears the band-aid off of deep wounds and begins a long overdue exploration of difficult and painful questions. On top of that, we are all scratching our heads (while taking care to not touch our faces), wondering what’s next in our new covid-19 reality.

In these turbulent times, I hope everyone feels the love of being a part of the wonderful community that is the BVN Band.  I know I feel it, everyday.  If you face a challenge during this time and the band can help, please let us know. I am always here to listen to and support our BVN Band Students.

As we prepare for a year that will certainly be unique, a few important details:

​1 – We are planning as if the 2020-2021 school year will be a full speed ahead/normal year for the BVN Band.  However, we are not naive, and everyone should be aware that it will definitely be a unique year in the history of our program.  It is very likely that we will be creating new routines for much of what we do.

2 – Be flexible!  As we live through an unprecedented pandemic, all we can do is absorb information as it comes, and then do the next right thing… this means that there will likely be lots of adaptations and evolutions of plans as we go through the school year.  You each have my sincere thanks for rolling with it when changes come!

​3 – Pay Attention and Respond appropriately!  New information will get released as we have it, and it will often require responses and action from band members and/or parents.  In those moments – please respond!  You can always rest assured that our Band Staff is doing exactly the same thing:  as we get new information and learn new facts of our covid reality, we will process it and figure out the next best step for our students.

The Year Ahead in the BVN Bands

There is much to be excited for in our upcoming school year. I cannot wait to hear the exceptional music making that is to come this year.  Even if it ends up looking nothing like we expect, I know that, in May, we will look back on a year of exceptional student music and growth.  Here is a quick overview of the school year, as currently planned:

Fall Semester:  7-16 UPDATE 

All students will be enrolled in one of 3 band classes and/or the Jazz Band.  Mr. Wagoner and Mr. Freeman will be working during the week of 7-20 to establish the revised fall band class structure. In November we will launch the Blue and Silver Pep Bands for Basketball Games.

Spring Semester:  All Students perform in either the Wind Ensemble (top band), Symphonic Band (2nd band), Concert Band, and/or Jazz Ensemble(s).

Placements for W. Ens/Sym Band/Concert Band are determined via a live/blind audition process in Late October/Early November.

Materials for these auditions are the same as for our All-District and All-State Honor Band auditions, and can be found on the Student Resources Page of our Band Website.  1st year band members – ask your section leaders for the password (or email Mr. Freeman or Mr. Wagoner).

Band Calendars/Schedules

Make sure to save/bookmark/put the following information in your calendars so you can keep up with all of it.

BVN Band Full Year Performance Calendar
BVN Band Calendar and Band Update Websites.  (HIGHLY RECOMMENDED that ALL STUDENTS link the Band Update on the home screens of all of their devices).

  • The Band Update is where you will find all details of immediately upcoming events.
  • The Band Calendar gets those events on your schedules/calendars, but with limited details.  If there is ever a conflict between the Calendar and Update Websites – the Band Update is more up-to-date (pun intended) and should be followed.
  • 7/16 UPDATE for Marching Mustangs: – due to the covid-related cancellation of competitive marching festivals for the fall of 2020:
    • All Scheduled summer rehearsals for the week fo 7/20-7/24 have been cancelled.
    • Rehearsals/band activities from 7/27 through the remainder of the summer are now tentative as we await guidance from the state and school district.

Band Leadership and Staff

To pull off what should be a year-to-remember for all, it takes a cast of thousands!  Please take a moment to familiarize yourself with the leadership of our Band Program!

2020-2021 BVN Band Student Leadership Team Roster
Leaders are not made by a title. 

  • “If your actions inspire others to dream more, learn more, do more, and become more, you are a leader.” – John Quincy Adams (6th U.S. President)
  • “Being a leader is like being a lady. If you have to remind people you are, you aren’t.” – Margaret Thatcher (British Prime Minister 1979-1990)

2020-2021 BVN Band Directors (CLICK HERE for Bios)

  • Mr. Daniel Freeman, Director of Bands
  • Mr. Joel Wagoner, Assistant Director of Bands
  • Mr. Charles Lovell, Director of Percussion!
  • Ms. Amanda Sipes, Color Guard Director
  • Mr. Michael Solomon, Leawood Middle School Band Director
  • Mr. Ben Gervais, Overland Trail Middle School Band Director


(For All Band Students)


The Band Dues provide the operating budget for the BVN Bands, and every penny goes to make possible a high caliber experience for all band students.  We work hard to keep our dues as low as possible.  (the BVNW band and BVN Band have the lowest dues in the district).  If you have any questions, please don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Freeman or Mr. Wagoner.  The dues are necessary to make our band experience happen, but should NEVER prevent a student from participating.

​IMPORTANT DUES INFO for 2020-2021

NEW – EXCITING NEWS!!!!  ONLINE PAYMENTS (via Paypal) are possible! You can begin making payments right now!

  1. Complete your Student Info/Dues form by CLICKING HERE or fill out the hard copy from the forms packet.  If you fill out the hard copy, you MUST submit it by either taking a picture and emailing the picture to Mr. Freeman, or turning it in at band camp/the beginning of the school year.
  2. Make Payment in Paypal
    1. Go to and login. (you will need to create a login if you do not already have one)
    2. Once Signed in, follow the links to send money.
    3. Add $10 to your total band dues/expenses to cover the paypal transaction fee (the band is charged this on the back end)
    4. Send your money to the email address:  [email protected]
    5. The payment will be automatically deposited in our Band Booster Account.

​Check payment option:  YES, you can still pay your band dues by good ol’ check or cash. The new option is a paypal payment, but check or cash work just fine. 

Marching Mustangs payments due by their uniform fittings at band camp.

All other band students payments due by the end of the first complete week of classes in August. 


As everyone is aware, over time, everything gets more expensive.  This is true for the Band, as well.  We have needed to increase dues for the past 2-3 years, but have avoided doing so thanks to a lot of effort behind the scenes by many people.  For 2020-2021, it is now unavoidable – a dues increase is now necessary if we wish to continue the same levels of service to our students.

However, we are aware that our current Covid-19 reality puts a lot of question marks on our year ahead.  This places us in a dilemma – we must plan for a full year, but also know that some normal band events may not happen.  To that end, we are planning a two stage approach to dues for this year.

Stage 1 happens between now and the start of the school year:  We are asking for band dues that do NOT reflect an increase from previous years.  In fact, it is a decrease for Marching Mustangs.

  • $250 for Marching Mustangs
  • $150 for Freshman Band, Concert Band, and Jazz Band Members
  • If a student is in more than one band class, they only pay one set of dues.  (if in marching mustangs and one other band class – please pay the $250 for Marching Mustangs.  If in two non-marching classes, please pay $150, once.)

Stage 2 happens after the school year begins, as we will know a lot more about how restricted our year might be, and will decide if any increase is necessary. If it is decided that an increase is necessary, payments will be collected in the month of September.

  • For Marching Mustangs – the increase will be at most $150 (for a maximum of $400 total)
  • For Freshman, Concert, and Jazz Bands:  the increase will be at most $50 (a maximum $200 total)



All Band Students in all band classes must turn in these forms:

  • Student Information Form – Can be completed online by CLICKING HERE or in hard copy.
  • Health Form – hard copy must be submitted
  • Media Form – hard copy must be submitted
  • Transportation Form – hard copy must be submitted
  • Substance Abuse Form
    • Hard Copy must be submitted
    • All 1st year band members should complete this form!  All returning band members do NOT need to complete the form – it is on file already and does not need to be re-submitted)
  • Parent Info Form  – please avoid filling out the hard copy by CLICKING HERE to log into Charms, and update your Student and Parent Contact information! This is MUCH preferred by our Band Staff – it’s much simpler for YOU to update all of this!).

Hard Copies of the band forms packet will be available to pick up in the band room by the start of Band Camp.

Deadline to submit band forms and dues:

MARCHING MUSTANGS:  please submit at or before your uniform fitting during band camp.

ALL OTHER BAND STUDENTS:  forms and dues are due by the end of the first week of school, Friday, August 21st.

Band Uniforms:

Marching Uniforms will be checked out to Marching Mustangs Members during Band Camp. (Color Guard Uniforms will be fit/ordered during camp).

The Marching Uniform includes:

  • Uniform Coat and Pants (pants are “bib” style overalls worn under the coat).
  • The Uniform “Shako” (fancy word for Band Hat)
  • LONG (at least mid-calf) black socks, Black Gloves, and Black Marching Shoes.
  • The GLOVES and SHOES are fit at camp and ordered by the band for any student who needs them. ALL FIRST YEAR MEMBERS should plan to order them. All returning members need to order them only if needed.
  • The Long Socks are provided by students, and they need to have them by the first full-uniform performance.

Concert Uniforms – NEW THIS YEAR!!!

We are switching to an “All-Black” concert look – no more tuxes!  This is a more modern look that many performing groups have changed to over the past 15 years. Performers feel more comfortable and still look sharp. The new concert uniform will be provided by each student!  Here are the details:


This means:  Head to Toe Black at a Semi-Formal/Formal Level with an emphasis on modesty.

TOP:  Black Dress Shirt or Blouse:

  • Girls:  At least ¾ length sleeves.  Shirts/Blouses do not need to be collared as long as they are dress shirts.  Nothing low cut, please.
  • Boys:  Plain Black button-down long-sleeve dress shirt with a collar. Shirt is to remain tucked-in at all times.

BOTTOMS:  Black Skirt or Dress Pants

  • Girls:  Black Skirt or Dress Pants.  Skirt must be floor length when seated.  No Jeans or Leggings. (leggings are not suitable dress pants)
  • Boys:  Black Slacks


  • Girls:  Black dress shoes or all-black tennis shoes.  Closed Toed Flats Preferred.  Black Hose/socks as necessary.
  • Boys:  Black dress shoes or all-black tennis shoes.  Plain black socks that extend mid-way up the calf.

Jazz Ensemble Members

  • Should have the all-black uniform described above.
  • Will also get a Black Jazz Polo, paid for by your band dues.

ALL Band Students will get the following t-shirts (paid for by your band dues):

  • BVN Band 20-21 Navy Blue T-shirt
  • BVN Band 20-21 Marching Show “The Road Not Taken” t-shirt
  • BVN Band 20-21 White Long-Sleeved T-shirt
    • These shirts will be distributed at camp and during band classes in August, and will be used heavily during the school year for informal band uniforms, as specified through Band Update Communication.
  • Members of Student Leadership will also get a Leadership T-shirt.
  • Most sections also create a section t-shirt that students purchase separately (and totally voluntary). Section t-shirts are fun and encouraged but not required and will not be an official uniform at any time.

Communication and the CHARMS System

As we all know, effective communication is key to success in nearly all of life’s adventures, and even more so in large organizations. Our BVN Band Communication plan is as follows:

The Band Website is the Hub for all information, and will be kept current.

The BVN Band Update is the most frequently updated (almost daily) page on the website, and is the location for all details regarding upcoming and ongoing events. In addition, the contents of the update will be emailed out weekly or bi-weekly throughout the school year.

It is RARE that you will not find the answer you need regarding a band event in one of those two locations.  If so – please let Mr. Freeman or Mr. Wagoner know and we are always happy to answer questions and make information readily available!

The CHARMS system is an online management program designed specifically for school music groups.  Our primary use for it is COMMUNICATION – so it is VITAL that every band member keep an up-to-date phone number and email address for the student AND at least one parent in the Charms system!  To update your info in Charms:

  • Go to
  • Login link is in the upper right corner – use “parent/student/chaperone” login.
  • School Code is “bluevalleyNHSband” – capitalization does not matter.
  • Your password is either you student ID # (lunch code) OR a password that you have created.  You can always email Mr. Wagoner or Mr. Freeman to re-set your password to your student ID #.  If you do this, please include your student ID # in the email so we can confirm it is correct in our system.
  • Once in the system, please make sure you Student and Parent contact info is fully updated and correct!  Also – put in your birthday.

PARENTS – We Need You!!


Welcome to the Mustang Band Boosters!

Parent involvement and support is absolutely critical to the success of our Band Program.  You have our heartfelt thanks in advance for all of the unrecognized help you give – car rides, reminders and encouragement to practice, providing private lessons, providing an instrument, making sure your student has all their uniform parts/doesn’t forget their instrument, and on and on and on… THANK YOU!

Beyond such hugely important mom and dad tasks, Parent volunteers make the band experience possible for our students.  There will be MANY ways to get involved and support our wonderful band program throughout the year.  Pick and choose your favorites and come out and help!

Our Band parent organization – the Mustang Band Boosters is filled with parents who (just like our students) are WONDERFUL and TALENTED and make every band event enjoyable.  You can learn all about the ways YOU can support the band and how other band parents can support YOU at the following meetings during band camp:

  • For all 1st year band parents:  Sunday Evening, July 26th (during the band camp kickoff rehearsal), 6:30 PM – outside (meet by the football field and we’ll find a location).
  • For ALL Band Parents:  Saturday, August 1st (during the final morning of Band Camp), 10 AM in the PAC (BVN Performing Arts Center – the auditorium immediately adjacent to our commons/across the hall from the band room).

IMPORTANT Covid NOTE – the information about these two meetings matches previous years practices, which work well. However, both of these meetings are TENTATIVE and SUBJECT TO CHANGE as we plan for covid realities. Pencil them on your calendars for now, and we’ll be back with you in mid-July to confirm or adjust plans.

Examples of ways for parents to get involved:

  • Help with Uniforms!
  • Chaperone our Band Events
  • Help with Fundraisers:  Band Spiritwear, the Car Wash, Trash Bag Sales, Pancake Dinner, Concert on the Lawn Dinner, etc.
  • “Feed the Band”… the title says it all.
  • Care and Concern Committee
  • Marching Band Support team – the plume crew and the muscle crew.  Parents to help us at our many marching band events!
  • Social Committee
  • Locker Decoration
    And more…

Our Band Parent Club President, Mrs. Lori VanderLeest is just an email away! <[email protected]>.  Email her anytime for more info and to let her know how you want to help.  EVERY BAND PARENT is considered a member of our Band Parent Club.  There are no dues, EVERYONE is welcome, the MORE the MERRIER!  A HUGE thanks, in advance, for your wonderful donations of time and talent.  Below is a letter from Ms. VanderLeest inviting YOU to help!

Click here for our Mustang Band Boosters Webpage (on the band website.)

Begin Letter from the Mustang Band Boosters President
– Mrs. Lori VanderLeest —

Welcome to the BVN Mustang Band Family for the 2020-2021 school year! We’re glad you’re here!

This summer has flown by, as it always does, and we are ready to jump into another great year in the band.

As Mr. Freeman has said – we are planning for a full and wonderful year of music – from the marching band to the concert bands (both Fall and Spring) to the jazz bands.  Let’s cross our fingers that our band plans don’t have to change but if they do, you can be assured that Mr. Freeman will make this a fun year for your band student.

We have a great staff to teach and support our students. Dan Freeman, Director of Bands, Joel Wagoner, Assistant Director of Bands, Charles Lovell, Percussion Instructor, & Amanda Sipes, Color Guard Coach work tirelessly year-round to make this the best possible program for your kids. You will be surprised how much the kids grow over the course of one short school year. For some marchers, they come in unable to walk & chew gum at the same time and finish the year playing and marching (at the same time).  The music that the students perform in the concert and jazz bands will bring you goosebumps by the end of the year.  And the fact that the kids learn how to do this with 150 new and old friends is an extra bonus.

The Mustang Band Booster Club is open free of charge, to all BVN Band parents & guardians. If you have a student in the band, you’re already a member. The Mustang Band Booster Club does have an executive board whom you will meet at the parent meeting at the beginning of the year but I wanted to introduce them in this letter.

Mustang Band Boosters – Exec Board
President – Lori VanderLeest
Past President – Libby Tullis
Vice President – Kim Jacobson
Secretary – Jane Burgett
Co-Treasurers – Heather Ellis/Rob VanderLeest
At Large Member – Stacy Davis
At Large Member – VACANT

As you can see – we have room for one more parent to be on the executive board.  If you want to get more involved with the Mustang Band Booster Club – please come see one of the board members and bring any questions you may have about the position.  You will find one or more of our board members at any given event, so please stop by and introduce yourself – whether you want to be on the executive board or not.  Parents like meeting new friends too right?

As you can imagine, with a program of this size that includes marching band, concert band, jazz band, & color guard, it takes more people than just the band & guard staff to make things happen. WE NEED YOU! With something for everyone, we can find you a place to help. Do you love road trips? Chaperone one of our trips to K State or Independence, KS.  Love football? Come chaperone the band to home football games and get in for free! Do you love to feed people? Join the Feed the Band Committee and serve pizza to hungry teenagers. How about event planning? We’ve got those, too! Jazz Coffee Night, Concert on the Lawn, Pancake Dinner and Silent Auction, and more. We even have a place for you if you’re not big on herding teenagers. There are plenty of behind the scenes committees, too.

Whether you sign up to volunteer one time or all the time, we are looking forward to getting to know you & your student. Most committees require multiple volunteers so reach out to the committee chair or me if you have any questions.  We have several committee chair positions open for 2020-2021, so please visit our Mustang Band Booster webpage for openings.  Also, throughout the year, check out the volunteer opportunities on the band website for more information and get involved in any way that works for you.

We are here to help – please reach out to any board member with questions or concerns. We are looking forward to a great year filled with fantastic music, new friends, and great memories.

Rock the Stable!

Lori VanderLeest, [email protected]


School-Owned Instruments:

All students who need a school-owned instrument and did not keep one for the summer:  they will be waiting for you in your band locker by the start of Band Camp!  The BVN Band provides larger instruments – Bass Clarinets, Bassoons, Tenor and Bari Saxes, Baritones/Euphoniums, Tubas, Percussion equipment – and “Rare” instruments – Oboes/Bassoons/French Horns.

All students who kept their concert instruments for the summer (per instructions during quarantine) – we will have a plan to cycle those instruments in for annual summer maintenance/cleaning once the school year re-starts.

Individual Instruments – Care/Maintenance and Upgrades?

Your personal instrument represents a sizable investment and is KEY to your success in band.  The summer is a perfect time to get your instrument into as good of condition as possible!


Consider taking your instrument to a shop for a re-pad and alignment, and professional sonic cleaning of the mouthpiece/neck.

It will likely NOT need a full re-padding, but most likely will need a few pads replaced, and the adjustments that the shop does will make it play MUCH better if you get this done!  The mouthpiece cleaning… just think about all the gunk/remnants of breakfast/etc that you blew through the instrument this last year… get it done!


A professional Sonic Cleaning (once a year) is HIGHLY recommended.  Think about all the gunk/valve oil/etc that is going to come out of that instrument…. yikes!

De-denting, a valve/slide job, and a sonic cleaning will make your horn look and play like new!  (Have this done at a shop).  These are all standard in what is called a “GPC” check-up (restores the instrument to “Good Playing Condition”)

If you need suggestions for a repair shop, please contact Mr. Freeman or Mr. Wagoner

Is it time to UPGRADE your Personal Instrument?

Please read the applicable information below and check out your equipment – do you need to upgrade?  All of the suggested upgrades will notably improve sound quality and control of playing! If you are still playing on your beginner instrument, it is probably time to consider upgrading to a “step-up” instrument.

  • Students who are wanting to perform in our top ensembles and/or honor bands and other music experiences should definitely be upgraded.
  • “Beginning” level instruments are built to be reliable and durable for beginning instrumentalists who don’t always know how to safely handle an instrument.  This is great for beginners, but as your playing matures, higher quality instruments made of materials built for resonance and tone rather than durability are highly recommended.
  • Please don’t hesitate to contact Mr. Freeman or Mr. Wagoner for questions in this process.
    “Intermediate” level instruments provide a stepping stone between your beginning instrument and pro-level instrument.

    • Most “Step-up” programs at local music stores put you on an intermediate level instrument.  These will be much higher quality instruments than your beginning instrument, but there is another level.
  • Professional level instruments are just what they sound like: the baseline instruments that pros use.
    • They will be made of the best materials for tone production and will be designed for more intricate control of playing.
    • They will “feel” better when you play them and are the ideal.
    • Note:  you can get a used professional level instrument for about the same cost as a new intermediate, and used pro-level instruments will retain their value as long as they are cared for.

If you are considering an upgrade, Mr. Freeman and Mr. Wagoner, in general, will recommend you look to a used or new professional level instrument rather than an intermediate.  You will get more from your investment.

Please note that these upgrades are suggestions and are not required for participation in the BVN Bands.

Checking your gear:

Are you in good shape to have a great year of band?!?


Clarinets and Saxophones:

  • Reeds:  High School Students should be playing on at least “3’s”, if not stronger – stronger reeds enable more control.  Recommended: Vandoren reeds.
  • Students should have at least 3 working reeds at all times: 1 older but will be replaced soon, 1 in great shape ready to perform on, and 1 new/being broken in.
  • Mouthpieces:  if you’re playing on the mouthpiece that came with the instrument, you probably need an upgrade.  A new mouthpiece can instantly improve your sound!  Contact your private teacher or Mr. Wagoner for recommendations.
  • Ligatures are also important, but mouthpieces and reeds are more important – fix the mouthpiece and reeds first!  Again, contact your private teacher or Mr. Wagoner for recommendations.
  • Upgrading from your beginner level instrument is HIGHLY Recommended.
  • Clarinets:  if you own a wooden/step-up instrument, do NOT take it outside for marching band.  Use your plastic clarinet for this, or contact Mr. Freeman/Mr. Wagoner as the school has a small supply of plastic clarinets for this purpose.


  • Make sure the flute is in good adjustment and pads are in good condition!
  • Upgrading from the “Beginner” Level flute is HIGHLY suggested.

Other Woodwinds – Contact Mr. Freeman or Mr. Wagoner for advice!


Check your Mouthpieces!  If you are playing on the mouthpiece that came with your beginner instrument, it is probably time for an upgrade.

  • Trumpets:  the “7C” you probably started on is now too small!  Most high school students will play on a Bach 5C or 3C, or equivalent.
  • Horn players:  Contact Mr. Freeman or your private teacher for advice.
  • Trombone Players:  Bach 6 ½ AL is a good standard mouthpiece, especially for pep band.
    RECOMMENDED:  try out a slightly larger mouthpiece which will expand your sound – The Bach 5G is a good standard.

    • If you are playing a 12C (which comes with many beginning instruments, much to Mr. Freeman’s chagrin), you need to get a new mouthpiece. 6 ½ AL or 5G are the first recommendations.
  • Baritone/Euphonium Players:
    • Like trombone, the Bach 6 ½ AL is a good standard, but a bigger mouthpiece will expand your sound.
    • The Shilke 51D and the Dennis Wick SM4 are pro-level standards which will be great for your sound and control as you get stronger!
    •  If you are playing a 12C (which comes in many beginning instrument cases, much to Mr. Freeman’s chagrin), you need to get a new mouthpiece.
  • Tubas:  Conn Helleberg Mouthpiece is a fantastic mouthpiece!  There are many other options to try if you want – but the Helleberg is classic/standard!

Percussionists: What do you need?!?!  What’s in your stick bag?

With SO much equipment in the percussion world – what do individual percussionists need?!? The Standard Equipment that every percussionist should have, at the bare minimum, is

  • A good quality practice pad
  • A stick bag equipped with a basic set of mallets/sticks for mallet percussion, timpani, and battery percussion.
  • Mr. Lovell will give you a list of “basic stick bag” recommendations during percussion camp.
  • Appropriate and good quality sticks/mallets/beaters are ESSENTIAL for high level achievement in the ever-expanding world of percussion.

Expanding your Musical Horizons

The Band Letter

Throughout the school year, students who want to go above and beyond earning the band grade will have ample opportunities to do so.  Lettering in Band recognizes students for going above and beyond.  Lettering points can be earned in a variety of ways – through volunteer pep bands, voluntary support of the band, extra musical opportunities such as honor bands and private lessons, and much more.  CLICK HERE to learn about the Band Letter. 

Private Lessons and Honor Bands
Private Lessons and Participation in Honor Bands are HIGHLY RECOMMENDED and are the BEST ways for a student to enhance their musical skills and enjoyment of music.  Throughout the year, there will be many such opportunities, and we will advertise all of these through the Band Update and in Band Classes.

Such experiences are not a required portion of band classes, but come with great benefits to those who try them out.  These experiences enhance musical skills and give the students wonderful life experiences and the chance to meet and make music with amazing professionals as well as other remarkable young musicians just like themselves!


There is simply no better way to improve your individual musicianship and skills on your instrument than through private lessons.  Students wishing to perform in our top Wind Ensemble, become all-state musicians, and compete for college scholarships in music should definitely be pursuing private lessons.  And, Lessons are wonderful for ALL students.  We are fortunate to be in an area with many wonderful private instructors nearby.  A strong connection between private teacher and student can enhance musicianship and life!  If you are interested, please contact Mr. Freeman or Mr. Wagoner for private instructor recommendations.


Throughout the school year, several wonderful Honor Band experiences are available for students.  The details vary by honor band – some are auditioned, some are by director recommendation, some are available only to certain grade levels, some are one day or one weekend only, and some run for longer periods of time.  We will advertise all of these in the Band Update and in Band classes.  To start the year, students should be aware of and preparing for the following:

The East Central Kansas Music Educators Association (ECKMEA) Honor Bands!

  • The ECKMEA All-District Honor Bands are open to all students grades 9-12.  Students audition for placement in Concert Bands (there are multiple concert bands) or the ECKMEA Jazz Band.  The ECKMEA honor bands are phenomenal and auditioning is definitely recommended. Be prepared for a highly competitive audition.
  • Students are selected for these groups through a live audition process held at Olathe East High School on Saturday, November 9th.
  • The Bands perform at the ECKMEA Band Convention on Saturday, December 7th at Blue Valley High School.
  • Making these groups is the first step to earning All-State Status, which is the highest honor given to individual high school musicians in the state.  In addition, the All-state Band is an unbelievable/unmatched experience and worth the effort to prepare for!
  • Earning Placement in the All-District Band is the highest honor accorded to students in this region of the state, and the All-District Band Experience in December is a wonderful day of music making!!  The ECKMEA honor bands are PHENOMENAL!
  • Earning All-State Status is the highest individual honor accorded to high school musicians in the state of Kansas (equivalent to all-state status in any sport).  In addition – the All-State Band experience (3 days of rehearsal and performance in February, in Wichita) is one of the most memorable experiences possible for a high school musician!
  • Students can find Audition materials and instructions on our Student Resources Page of the Band Website.  Ask your section leaders for the password.
  • For more information, go to

The John Philip Sousa Honor Band.

  • The JPS Honor Band is open to 9th graders only, and is one of the best honor band experiences out there!  This is the All-State Group for 7th-9th graders in the state of Kansas.
  • Students qualify for this group via a recorded Audition submitted in October.
  • Students who make the group rehearse and perform with the JPS Honor Bands on January 25-26th at the beautiful Lied Center of Kansas at KU.
  • You can find more information at the website:, including audition materials.
  • You can also download the audition materials from our Student Resources website.  Ask your section leaders for the password.

BVN Band Media

Audio and Video:

Throughout the school year, we will post audio and video recordings of our Band Performances on the Student Resources Page of our Band Website.  Get the password from an older member of the band, and download all the recordings you want!

Pictures, Pictures, Pictures!

Many pictures will be taken of the band throughout the school year!  We will have formal, in-uniform group and individual pictures taken during marching season, as well as several other more formal photos throughout the year.  We hold onto these group pictures for posterity, and encourage families to purchase them if they choose to do so.

We will also create a Band Shutterfly site for the 20-21 BVN Band.  Once created, We HIGHLY ENCOURAGE EVERYONE to join the site and share your pictures of the band!  From cell-phone pictures to high quality shots by those of you who have a photography hobby (dare I say, addiction?!?) – we want them all!  The more, the merrier, and definitely the more fun!  We will have this site created around band camp and share it at that time.

Here is a link to the last two years of Band Shutterfly Pages:


BVN PBC (Parent Booster Club)

PLEASE SUPPORT OUR BVN PBC!!  Our BVN Parent Booster Club is AMAZING – this wonderful group supports everything at BVN, and has been very generous to our band for many, many years.

For this fall of 2020:  they have already given us a grant of $9500, combined support for the Band and Color Guard!

  • The best way to support is through a PBC Membership of any level.  Click Here to find membership info.
  • EVERY Band Family should be a PBC Member at some level.  The level of support they give the band is totally reliant on two things:  1 – our level of membership in the PBC, and 2 – our support of the PBC through staffing concessions stands, providing pep bands for events, etc.
  • Our PBC is the MOST supportive school-wide booster club that I (Mr. Freeman) have ever known!

Remembering the 2019-20 School Year:

​Even cut short, this past year was AMAZING!!!   The Marching Show was AWESOME.  Our December Band Concert was outstanding.  The March 5th-12th grade concert was sooooo good!  And of course the Kaufman performance was one to remember, and we should all be quite proud of.  Here is how you can remember the year!

​All PERFORMANCE RECORDINGS can be found on our Student Resources Page (requires login).  You can also find links to recordings/pictures from our France trip.

  • CLICK HERE for our February Concert Program notes – which tells you a little about each of the pieces performed by the Wind Ensemble at Kaufman (and for a fun reminder of the great music performed by all of our bands back in February!)

PICTURES!!! There are SO MANY WONDERFUL Pictures to peruse!

CLICK HERE for the 2019-2020 Band Shutterfly Page
CLICK HERE for the 2018-2019 Band Shutterfly Page
I am missing the link for the 2017-2018 Band Shutterfly Page.  If someone has it, please share it with me!
CLICK HERE for the 2016-2017 Band Shutterfly Page
END OF YEAR AWARDS:  Our E-awards ceremony in early May was a wonderful event.  You can see the google slides presentation by CLICKING HERE.