Sprayberry Band 101

The following is a broad overview of the Sprayberry High School Band Program. We have a large program with diverse offerings for every student enrolled in Sprayberry High School. When making a decision to join the Sprayberry Band was ask that new and prospective students familiarize themselves with the program. 

 
 
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Concert Programs

These ensembles are the cornerstone of the Sprayberry High School Band Program. We offer 3 fully instrumented concert bands that meet during the school day and receive academic credit that is applied toward graduation. These ensembles are designed to systematically increase the musical ability of the individual and will perform (as a group) approximately 5 concerts each year consisting of music appropriate for High School to Collegiate Level Performers. These ensembles are:

Concert Band (Intermediate Band) – Performs Level 3 and 4 Music on the Georgia Music Educators Association Music Selection List
Symphonic II Band (Advanced Band) – Performs Level 4 and 5 Music on the Georgia Music Educators Association Music Selection List
Symphonic I Band (Mastery Band) – Performs Level 5 and 6 Music on the Georgia Music Educators Association Music Selection List

Students will be placed into the appropriate band based on an audition and a teacher recommendation.

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Marching Band

This is the most visible component of the BOG.  The Marching Band serves two important functions at Sprayberry High School. First, we represent the school at multiple functions per year, including all Varsity Football Games, Pep Rallies and several Parades.  In addition, the Marching Band prepares an 8 to 10 minute competition show that is performed approximately 15 times a year at football games, competitions and exhibitions. The Marching Band is open to all instrumentalists and students who would like to participate in the colorguard program. The Marching Band season runs from Mid-July to Early November and is an extracurricular activity. All instrumentalists (woodwinds, brass and percussion) should be enrolled in a band class in order to participate in marching band.

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Jazz Band

The Jazz Ensemble is a group that explores and performs music commonly called “Jazz”. This includes, but is not limited to, swing, big band, rock, funk and pop music. The Jazz Ensemble is primarily an extracurricular activity, although students will be able to explore the jazz idiom at times in our concert band setting. The Jazz Ensemble will be open to all students, regardless of instrument, but primarily consists of saxophones, trombones and trumpets, as well as rhythm section members who play percussion, bass, guitar or piano. This band will begin meeting before or school in the Spring Term and will be open to all Sprayberry students.


Percussion Program

In the BOG, we believe in fostering a total Percussion Education. Unlike a wind performer, the percussion section contains many different and varied instruments. We have found that percussion students generally like to gravitate to the instruments they feel most comfortable on while neglecting the others. We make every attempt to discourage this behavior by creating an environment outside of the normal band rehearsal where our percussion instructor, Mr. Alan Sears, can give the students an opportunity to perform on as many different percussion instruments as possible. This is accomplished by having Mr. Sears work with the percussionists during class in a separate room where they can get group and individualized instruction without the wind performers present. The students will work on rudimental playing, solo literature and percussion ensemble literature in an effort to increase the individual’s ability level on as many different percussion instruments as possible. As a result, percussion performers will routinely perform on multiple instruments, especially in our Percussion Ensemble Concert that is held each April.

In addition, Percussion Students will have the opportunity to participate in the Drumline or Front Ensemble. Both of these performance groups are associated with the Marching Band, thus both will follow the schedule as laid out in the Marching Band section. The Drumline consists of marching snare drums, tenor drums and bass drums that perform while marching on the field during the competitive field show and for all pep rallies and other school events. The Front Ensemble is the group that performs on the front sideline during the marching band show. Both ensembles are selected by audition only. We have currently begun our clinics, but students can still join us. These clinics are held on Tuesday Nights from 5:45 to 7:00 in the Sprayberry Bandroom and will culminate in an Audition held on the last Thursday of March.

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Fall/Winter Colorguard 

Fall Colorguard and Winterguard are extracurricular programs that fall under the umbrella of the Sprayberry Band Program. These students use dance and choreography in addition to highly specialized equipment like flags, sabres and rifles to create a visual representation of a musical selection or show.

The Fall Colorguard is a unit in the Marching Band. In the field show that the marching band presents, the colorguard is the group that presents the visual side of the show. They will often wear costumes that represent the theme of the show, and will use dance, choreography and specialized equipment (flags, sabres and rifles) to help portray the musical elements in a visual way. Since the colorguard is a unit of the marching band (much like any of the musical instruments), their season will run from Mid-July to Early November. Training Clinics and an Audition Process will be held during the months of April and May.  

The Winterguard is a specialization of the Colorguard Program that occurs from November to Early April. The Winterguard program is a competitive program that presents a 5-6 minute show (inside a basketball gym or stadium) set entirely to taped music. The program consists of the same elements as the colorguard, without the accompanying instrumentalists that can be found in the marching band. We currently have three competitive winterguards. These are the Varsity, Junior Varsity and Cadet Program. The Varsity and Junior Varsity Programs are made up of current Sprayberry Students who were selected following an audition process in November. The Cadet Program is open to all Middle School students interested in participating. The winterguards will compete 6-7 times each year, culminating in a performance at the Southern Association for Performance Arts (SAPA) Championships in Chattanooga, Tennessee.

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Student Leadership

We believe strongly in promoting student leadership within our program. In the spring, we run a leadership training program designed to give students the tools to serve in leadership roles within our marching band. Following these clinics, students are selected to serve in various leadership positions within the band, and are asked to take on greater responsibility to help us achieve at very high levels. It is our belief that students who go through this process (whether they are selected for leadership or not) are more prepared to face the difficulties that exist once they graduate from Sprayberry High School.

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Seniors Astrid Garavis and Ty Scott. Recipients of the QuestBridge Academic Scholarship. Participated in all four years of band and colorguard. 

Seniors Astrid Garavis and Ty Scott. Recipients of the QuestBridge Academic Scholarship. Participated in all four years of band and colorguard. 

Academics

Outstanding academic success in the classroom is the most important part of a student’s time in high school. Because of this, we routinely assist students who are having trouble in any of their classes. We can accomplish this by getting a student a peer tutor, or by acting as an intermediary between the student and teacher to help determine the academic issue and work to correct the problem.

Many eighth grade parents are concerned that their students need to focus solely on academics and that arts programs like band (and by extension Marching Band) will cause their student to perform poorly academically. We have found that the opposite is true…students who stay in arts programs are more likely to perform better in classes, because they must manage their time and they have the support of their fellow band members and directors! Plus, it has been proven in clinical studies that students who take arts classes routinely perform better on tests such as the SAT and ACT!


Our school class schedule

Sprayberry High School operates on a 4X4 Block schedule. This schedule type is used by the majority of high schools in Cobb County.

Under this schedule, each student will take four classes each semester of their high school career. This means that each year a student will take eight classes resulting in the possibility of receiving 32 credits at the end of their senior year. Students will have classes that they must take to graduate and a series of electives that they can choose. It is possible to take band every semester (which we strongly encourage for proper progress) and still have room for other electives, but there are two important points that students need to know to make this happen:

1. You will have an opportunity to take many different classes, but every incoming student must understand that you can’t take everything your freshman year. If you plan properly, you will have room in your junior and senior years to take electives (and stay in band). But you can’t expect to take every class that interests you the first year because you must take your core classes and get into your language classes. That doesn’t leave much room for extra classes right away!

2. If you fail classes, you will very quickly lose the opportunity to take electives during your junior or senior year. You may even have to drop band in order to make up the failed classes. It is imperative that you pass your classes and stay on track!


How do You register?

REGISTERING FOR A BAND CLASS - Toward the end of February or early March you will begin signing up for your elective classes!  You will have the option to select “Band” as one of these elective choices. Choose “Band” and you will be registered during the Fall and Spring Semester.  If you are given the choice of ranking your electives according to your desire to take the class, put Band as one of the top choices. It’s that easy!

THERE IS ONLY ONE CHOICE FOR BAND.  HOW IS IT DETERMINED WHICH OF THE 3 BAND CLASSES MY STUDENT WILL PARTICIPATE IN?  When you register, you will simply sign up for band.  Before the end of school, the Sprayberry Band Directors will begin coming to your classes and listening to each individual student.  We will ask you to play a few scales (whatever you are comfortable with) and ask you to play a piece of music that you feel comfortable playing.  This may be your LGPE music, or a piece you are working on in lessons, or just something you like playing.  We will then use this evaluation, as well as your current Band Director’s recommendation, to place you in the class that best suits your current ability level!

INFORMATION ABOUT REGISTERING FOR MARCHING BAND – On Thursday, April 20th, 2017 at 7:00, we will be holding a Marching Band Informational Meeting in the Sprayberry Band Room.  At this meeting, we will discuss the specifics of our marching program including choosing what instrument or area of marching is best for your student, reviewing the schedule for the year, and introducing the 2017 Marching Band Show. Following this meeting, we will begin registering students for participation in the marching program. We will also have several specific days following the meeting to register students, plus a “Headstart Camp” where students can come and try the band before making a final decision during the month of May. The dates for these events will be posted on the Sprayberry Band Website as we get closer to the Informational Meeting.


Band for Parents

In order to function at the highest level, the BOG needs a great deal of parental support. We have many areas where parents can donate time to help give our students the best experience possible. Everyone is welcome to participate, whether you can give 20 minutes or 2 hours a week. Most parents who become involved in the program find that it is a great way to support and encourage their child, as well as being a lot of fun.

Listed below are just a few of the areas where we can use your help!

·       Booster Board – these elected positions help support the program by organizing parental support and fundraising efforts

·       Chaperones – Assists in ensuring the students are safe and healthy at all times

·       Equipment (MIB) – Oversees the building and transportation of equipment used in all aspects of the program

·       Uniforms – Helps with the fitting, maintenance and replacement of Tuxedos and Dresses worn by concert band members, and Marching Uniforms worn by members of the Marching Band

·       Hospitality – Oversees the feeding of students at various events, as well as heading the planning and execution of our annual Band Banquet

·       Guard Parents – Assists with the planning and supervision of our guard program

·       Percussion Parents – Assists with the planning and supervision of our percussion programs

·       Middle School Liaisons – Assists with distributing information to our middle school families and recruitment of eighth graders

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Andy Esserwein                                                                                        Terrace Ellis
Director of Bands                                                                                     Associate Director of Bands
Andy.Esserwein@cobbk12.org                                                                  Terrace.Ellis@cobbk12.org
directors@sprayberryband.com                                                                 directors@sprayberryband.com
770-578-3210                                                                                           770-578-3210