Football, Band Council, Donations, and Newsletters!

The 2015-2016 school year has kicked off with lots of new initiatives, new faces, and fresh new ideas. From football to Band Council, here is your insider look at what is going on with the Charlestown Band of Pirates!

Football

The first home football game of the season is this Friday (August 21st). The Marching Band will be performing its first public performance during half time at the game and will be playing in the stand during the game. The Band Boosters will be selling sliced caramel apples ($3.00 a slice or 2 for $5.00) and cheese cake ($3.00 or 2 for $5.00), with the ability to mix and match items, as well as polo t-Shirts ($20.00 each) and marching band t-shirts ($10.00 each). The Band Boosters will have a booth set up during the game and will be selling items throughout the game while supplies last. Last year this fundraiser was very successful, and the Band Boosters are confident that this year the fundraiser will be even more popular with the new shirts available for sale.

Band Council

Students in the Charlestown High School concert band held their annual Band Council elections, where students are nominated and elected for Band Council positions. The Band Council is the student organization that represents the bands of Charlestown Middle School and Charlestown High School. Positions in the Band Council include President (Carter Parker), Vice President (Ethan Hartsfield), Treasurer (Madison Schnell), Secretary (Mariam Cymbalist), Historian (Tommy Gnadinger), Librarian (Megan Jackson), Webmaster (Lauren Gaines), sixth grade representative (Grace Sellers), tenth grade representative (Daylen Cymbalist), eleventh grade representative (Isaac Saettel), and twelfth grade representative (Amber Wilder).

The Band Council will be serving a more important role than ever before this year. Communications will be taken seriously this year, and the Band Council will be a key role in making that happen, by helping to run this website, making newsletters, making announcements, and having a bulletin board with information posted in the high school band room. The Band Council will also work on other projects, including recruitment of new band members and color guard members, fundraising, and keeping strong communications flowing between our programs and the schools. They will also be in close coordination with the Band Boosters this year to assure that information, opinions, and ideas are passed from the students to our adult leadership, assuring our programs are more inclusive and equally represented overall. There will be a lot of work ahead, but the overall goal is to get more students and parents involved in our program while also increasing overall interest and support.

Band Council meeting minutes will be posted monthly and can be found here.

Instrument Donations

After a large influx of low-income 6th graders this year, the band ran out of school-owned instruments available to loan out to students who could not afford rentals. According to the Indiana Department of Education, over 50% of the students at Charlestown Middle School are on free or reduced lunch while over 40% of students at the high school are on free or reduced lunch. Many of our students do not have the resources to rent or purchase band instruments, and it is up to the band and the Band Boosters to assure these students have the resources they need so that they may participate in our programs. The band has a limited supply of instruments available for low-income students, and this year we just did not have enough resources to compensate for the growing popularity of the band program. This is both a good and bad problem to have because it shows that the band is growing, while it also shows the large amount of low-income students there are in our schools.

Due to the increase in students, there were around 12 sixth grade students who did not have a band instrument to play this year. Because of the strong need for instruments, the Band Boosters started an instrument donation program to get more instruments for our low-income students. We started this initiative and we successfully got the number of instruments we needed to get instruments for all of our low-income students (and more!).  Amazingly, it was realized that there are a lot of graduated students have old band instruments that they have not played in years, and those instruments could give band students the same happiness they once gave them. The Band Boosters and all of the students of our band would like to an extend a big thank you for your donations and support. The Band Boosters are considering extending the program or making it an annual instrument donation drive with the primary focus of helping low-income band students. If you are interested in donating a used band instrument, please contact us at charlestownbandofpirates@gmail.com.

Newsletters

The Official Charlestown Band Newsletter has been printed and will be sent home with students at all of our schools later this week. The Band Newsletter will be printed bi-monthly and will be sent home to all students at all of our schools to give parents an inside look at band information, upcoming events, fundraisers, news, and more. Along with the newsletters, more content will also be posted on our band website, our Facebook, and our Twitter.

Band Booster Meetings

The Band Boosters voted to change meeting times from 7:00pm to 7:30pm on the first Thursday of every month. This was to compensate for various schedule conflicts with booster officers. The next Band Booster meeting will be Thursday, September 3rd, at 7:30pm. The Band Boosters will be voting on the band budget, discussing upcoming marching band competitions, discussing the upcoming fall fundraiser, and more! Please join us and support your Charlestown Band of Pirates. All parents and graduated band students are welcome to attend and vote at our public meetings.

If you are interested in reviewing the proposed 2015 Band Booster Budget, please click here.

 

Want more insider information? Like us on Facebook (http://www.facebook.com/charlestownbandofpirates) and follow us on twitter (http://www.twitter.com/charlestownband)!

Communications: We Mean Business!

There are a lot of big and exciting changes in store for the 2015-2016 band of pirates!

One exciting new thing to look out for this year is the bi-monthly Band News Letter. In an effort to further improve our communications, Ryan McCracken, Band Booster Secretary, has suggested the idea of creating a new band newsletter. In the past, it was actually a requirement for the Band Boosters (formerly the Charlestown Band Parents) to write a monthly newsletter and pass it out to both schools in order to keep students and their parents informed about current and upcoming band, marching band, and color guard events. Over time, the newsletters stopped due to various reasons.

“The newsletters stopping is something that I feel could have led to deteriorating communications and the passing of information over the years.” said McCracken.

The purpose of the newsletters was simple, to inform students and their parents about events. The newsletter included short articles and interesting bits of information on concerts and performances, on future plans, and on goals. The newsletter also included an updated calendar to keep everyone on the same page. It was more than just a small bit of information for parents and students, it was an expected part of the regular band routine.

“When the newsletters ended, all information was passed by word of mouth and by occasional letters sent home to parents.” said McCracken. “If a student forgot to tell their parents or left the occasional letter in the band room, parents never heard about it.”

The improved communication from the newsletters increased parent involvement in band booster fundraisers, student involvement in extracurricular activities related to the band and color guard, and also served as a recruiting tool for middle school students who were learning about the high school band, marching band, and color guard programs through the letters.

“When the newsletters stopped, we likely lost a valuable recruiting tool, especially for the middle school. The middle school students stopped hearing so much about what was to come. When they got into high school, they weren’t as excited or motivated to participate in marching band or color guard.” said McCracken.

One big discussion the band boosters had is the cost of printing so much paper, especially if some of the papers never made it home to parents. This is why the Band Boosters, on top of sending home physical copies with students, have decided to post the letter on the website and links to it on our social media accounts.

“If a student leaves it at school, it will be posted online too. We could also email it to students and parents to give an extra copy. There will be no way for a parent not to have access to it, whether they have access to a computer at home or not, they will be able to get the letters one way or another.” said McCracken.

A problem ran into in the past was just sending one form of communication to parents. The Band Boosters, back as far as 2008, attempted to email things to parents. Many emails never received a response or were never seen. Currently, there are also a large number of parents who still do not use computers or do not have access to a computer at their house. These are reasons why, as McCracken argues, paper copies must also be sent home, so that there are various means for information to reach parents.

“When I was in band, I always felt that a newsletter could have been a tremendous help. So many parents would say they didn’t know when things are because their kids forgot to tell them or a letter sent out never reached them.” said McCracken.

An exciting feature for the newsletters is the fact that, as with the website, Band Council members will be responsible for creating articles for the website and designing the bi-monthly newsletter with guidance from the Band Boosters.

The Band Council is an elected board of students that represent all grades, 6th through 12th, within the band program. There are also other positions including President, Vice President, Treasurer, Secretary, and Webmaster(s). All of these positions could help to make these projects move forward. On top of representing the students of our band program, the band council will work to keep them informed and to recruit new students.

“I have always felt that the Band Council can serve as an important leadership, communications, and recruitment role for our band program. This is why I want to heavily involve them in our new projects.” said McCracken. “I was once Band Council president and these are initiatives I tried to push through while I was in there.”

Keep an eye out for our upcoming bi-monthly newsletters that will be sent home with your students and online at charlestownbandofpirates.com. This year, the Band of Pirates means business when it comes to recruitment and communications.

Are you interested in helping the band boosters? Our first meeting of the 2015-2016 school year is Thursday, August 6th at 7:00pm in the Charlestown High School band room!

Marching Band Season In Full Force

School might be starting earlier this year, but that doesn’t stop our Band of Pirates!

The Charlestown Band of Pirates kicked off the marching season this year with two full weeks of Band Camp. The annual Band Camp, this year held 8:00pm-5:00pm on Monday’s, Wednesday’s, and Friday’s, and 8:00pm-8:00pm on Tuesday’s and Thursday’s, is where students in the marching band program learn the fundamentals of marching, learn drill to the performance, and where students memorize music for the entire marching show.

Surprisingly, Charlestown started earlier than some local bands, such as Floyd Central, who just started band camp this week. Students have worked diligently to perfect the show, in spite of rain, heat, and a shortened summer. The results of their hard work and practice are paying off.

“You all are looking awesome!!!!” exclaimed one community member on The Charlestown Band of Pirates Facebook like page.

“I heard a sound in there that I have ever heard– and that’s a good thing.” said Ryan McCracken, Band Booster Secretary.

“A lady from a local church told me that she pulled into the parking lot yesterday morning and listened to them practice and was very impressed at how they sounded.” said Amy Farmer, Band Booster Vice President.

The Band Boosters have also been hard at work providing food for the students and fundraising for the marching season every Tuesday and Thursday, from cheeseburgers to chicken to mac and cheese, the kids have been fed a variety of meals to help keep them energized during those long practices.

“A lot of parents have been donating items, too. The parents are being really involved this year.” said Ryan McCracken.

The Band Boosters have also been selling t-shirts, which were entirely paid for by sponsorship’s this year. Parents could pick up t-shirts right as students leave practice for $10.00 a shirt.

“We have made well over $1000 in sponsorship money this year, it’s awesome.” said Ryan McCracken. “Everything we get beyond is money for the band.”

Band Camp officially ends today at 5:00pm. It will be up to the students to perfect their work, memorize whatever they haven’t of their music, and to practice at home and after school. Marching Band rehearsals will be from 3:30pm until 6:00pm on Tuesday’s and Thursdays starting next Thursday, July 30th, which is the first day of school.

The first marching performance is at the first home football game vs. Madison on August 21st. The marching band is being led this year by Drum Major Issac Saettel. This years performance is entitled “Joy.” If the students keep doing what they are doing and practicing, who knows what is in store this year? After all, they will be competing in ISSMA, and for the first time in quite a while, Midstates.

A little surprise is in store for the students, as they have been featured on the cover of The Leader, the official Charlestown, Indiana local newspaper.

Do you have photos from band camp? Share them with us at http://www.facebook.com/charlestownbandofpirates!

Why We Need You

What Is The Charlestown Band Booster Association?

The Charlestown Band of Pirates only receives roughly one-eighth of its funding from the Greater Clark County Schools Corporation, all the rest of the funding for all of our Concert Bands, our Pep Band, our Marching Band, our Color Guard, our Winter Guard, our Music Theory classes, and our Music History classes are provided through the Band Booster Association. The primary goal for the organization is and always has been to provide financial support to the talented youth of Charlestown, Indiana so that they may participate in the Band and Color Guard programs within our community so that our Band programs never face these issues.

Without the financial support provided by the Band Booster Association, many low-income students would not be able to participate in our programs, many of our programs would face severe cuts, there would be little to no money for transportation, and the quality of our programs would drastically suffer. The Charlestown Band Booster Association is a long standing tradition in the city of Charlestown, Indiana, spanning all the way back to the Charlestown Band Parents Organization in the mid 1900’s. It is up to us, all of our community, to continue this long-standing tradition in order to assist our youth so that they may participate in our programs and receive a well-rounded, fun, and challenging music education.

Why Should You Become A Band Booster?

Membership to the Charlestown Band Booster Association is open to all current Parents and Guardians of our Band students and to all former Alumni Band students. Just because voting rights are only opened to people in those categories does not mean that a person cannot volunteer with our organization and attend meetings. All of our meetings are opened to public and all voices matter. Since we represent this community, the voice of the community is and always will be represented so that we may improve and keep our Band programs at the most proficient and equally represented level possible. Any person can come to our meetings and participate in our mission.

Our organization needs all of the help we can get. There is always room for more help. More help and community support will help us with fundraising efforts and will help to raise awareness for our cause and for our mission to support our bands. More participation will help our programs function more efficiently, will help us to travel more and do more things, will encourage others to participate in and follow our efforts, and will help us work towards our fundraising goals. Our organization is funded through fundraising and donations, not through mandatory fees or through membership dues. Membership is free and attending Band Booster administered events is not mandatory. Just being a part and being there to help is better than watching and waiting for something to get done. Community support is the best way to raise awareness for our cause and to accomplish our mission.

What Has Changed?

Since participation in our program has been lower in recent years due to various circumstances, we looked for new ways to improve the program so that more people would volunteer and participate. The very first thing we decided to do was redo our bylaws. Our organization completely revised our old Constitution and Bylaws in order to simplify them and remove things that were outdated due to our change in size and change in participation.

One of the biggest changes that we voted on was to allow Alumni, our former band students, to participate in the program. For many years former band students have followed our program, but they have been unable to participate and do the things that they love. Now, with the bylaws changed, they can participate in our Band Booster program and help our band in many ways unlike they could previously. Since changing the bylaws, participation at our meetings has been gradually increasing, which is a good sign. In other words, we have moved away from a “parent-only” approach to a more open and community-oriented approach to how we do things.

We also rewrote the bylaws in an effort to work toward a 501(c)3 federal non-profit status. A 501(c)3 non-profit organization status is regulated and administered by the US Department of Treasury through the Internal Revenue Service. Getting this level of recognition would open the doors to more donations from bigger companies, such as Disney, Apple, Home Depot, and many larger companies who only donate to 501(c)3 organizations. It also creates better controls over finances and organization procedures since the federal government closely watches organizations under the status.

Another huge thing that we have been working on in recent months is improved communications. In an effort to improve communications between our programs, parents, guardians, our community, and our students, we have created a new website and new social media accounts. The website and social media accounts will help us to quickly spread news and information to a wide audience while also allowing us to share interesting information in a unique way that will hopefully engage more people into participating in our programs. We have created and uploaded important documents online and have created a digital interactive calendar. We also share events and fundraisers to spread information about them. The work has been paying off, as many parents and community members have been sharing photographs and videos of our band online, demonstrating increased community support.

Summing It Up

So, why should you participate in our Band Booster Association? Things have changed, we are more open now and we are listening. We need more help, there’s always room for more. We have goals, and we are working hard to achieve them. The Band programs could not function as they currently do without the support of our organization. We want to raise awareness for our cause, and we need everyone to help us do that. After all, the number one priority for our program is and always will be our students. So, join us in our mission!

Online Galore: Calendar Updates, Facebook, and Twitter

Our Band Boosters have been working hard on something recently, and it may just change how our band gets its information.

In the modern age of tech-savvy students and parents who are mobile, it is often hard to get people to listen to things when they are heard vocally or just read on a paper. People forget things. At least, that is the argument of our new Band Booster Secretary, Ryan McCracken.

“I forget stuff all the time,” he said. “Usually, I will save dates on my phone or I will set a notification to remind me when something is.”

Last year, Ryan, a former Marching Band and Concert Band Trumpet and Band Council President, volunteered as our Web Master with the hope that he could improve the communication within the Band Program.

“I just wanted to help. When I see something that I know can be fixed and there’s not enough people out there working to fix it, I want to be that person,” he said.

When the Band Boosters discussed amending the Bylaws early this year, Ryan attended the meetings and suggested amending the Bylaws to allow Alumni to serve in the program. Since he already volunteered for our program, he felt that he should be allowed to serve.

So, in May of 2015, the Band Booster Bylaws were ratified. Ryan was then nominated for Vice President, but turned it down to serve as our Secretary instead.

“I try to take detailed notes, I study Computer Science at school. I could use my experience to try new ways to improve our communications,” he said.

Now, after several months of work, our website is up and running. The website includes pages for every band program, all color guard programs, pep band, and other classes that will be offered in the 2015 school year. Our website also includes a calendar, volunteer information, Bylaws and Meeting Minutes, as well as a Band Council page and a page for our Band Director, Mr. Peterson.

“I tried to think of everything people can come here for. My goal is to make this site a one-stop shop for all things related to the Charlestown Band. You will notice how I put a bunch of links to our calendar in the navigation bar, I wanted it to be as easy as possible to find out when events are and where they are,” said Ryan.

Not only has Ryan worked on our website, he has been given administrative rights to our Band of Pirates Facebook Group.

“I am one of the administrators on the page, as well as Mr. Peterson and some of our former Alumni students from over the years,” said Ryan.

One problem that Ryan noticed with the Facebook Group was the lack of parents involved and the lack of ability to outreach to the community. That is why, after meeting with our President Susan Knoebel and Vice President Amy Farmer, he asked for approval to create a Facebook Like Page and a Twitter. The intentions of our new social media accounts are to create a more open atmosphere to include our community, hopefully increasing awareness for our programs and the mission of the Band Booster Association.

“I see news stations on Facebook and Twitter, always sharing news. That’s where I get most of my news from. I also see a lot of Like Pages that raise awareness for causes,” he said.

The Facebook Like Page will be ran on a “news-and-involvement” approach, according to Ryan, while the Facebook Group will serve for internal communication and private information or question-and-answer. The Twitter will serve just like the Like Page, but it will be geared toward mobile users and youth.

“Some things are better kept between us, and some things should be shared with the world. This is why we have a Group and a Like Page,” he said.

This approach has proven to work. The Like Page, at last count, had 57 likes after being made two days prior to this posting.

“Many people who had requested to be a member of the Facebook Group and had been waiting for a while due to not being involved in our program are now able to connect with our band program,” Ryan said.

Due to the privacy settings of the Facebook Group, all members must request membership or be invited by administrators of the Group. This is so that band information is only shared among band students, our director, and parents. However, one problem that has developed is that many graduated students are still in the Group and are administrators of the group. On top of that, many people who do not regularly show up to Booster Meetings or Band Events due to other priorities have not been able to join the Group due to not being recognized.

The Like Page and Twitter will be an easy way to share news with everyone and will be a unique way to involve our community, much like other school programs such as the Charlestown High School Theatre Department, Charlestown Pirate Pride, Scaliwags, and even Charlestown Middle School and Greater Clark County Schools.

“I will be involving our Band Council this year to make News Letters and to run this website and our Facebook Group. The Band Boosters and Mr. Peterson will run the Like Page and Twitter. Hopefully no one will be able to say that they didn’t know when or where something was, because it will be posted online and will be sent home.”

Follow and Like us! http://facebook.com/charlestownbandofpirates and http://twitter.com/charlestownband.

In addition to the content posted above, our Band Calendar has been updated. The calendar can be found below or on our calendar page on this website. Marching Band performance dates have been added to the Facebook Page.

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Official Bylaw Change and New Officers!

The Charlestown Band Boosters held their annual election meeting on Thursday, May 14th, 2015 and voted to amend the Association bylaws. The new update includes many new revisions.

Among the changes are new working for membership, where Alumni are allowed to serve as Band Boosters alongside parents and guardians. In the past, only parents and guardians were allowed to be Band Boosters. Due to various factors and the interest shown by Alumni who have volunteered over the past few years, it became clear that Alumni should be incorporated into the program in order to gain more help, participation, and to maintain traditions in our program. All Alumni who wish to join the Band Boosters just simply need to show up to a Booster meeting and fill out a sign-up sheet. Those who don’t show up for an entire year are automatically removed from our roster and must sign-up again.

Most committees were removed as our size and priorities have changed over the years. In the past, committees served as a group of people appointed for a specific function in order to keep things organized. However, as our size decreased, our Boosters had less people able to join committees, so they became irrelevant as many people just did multiple jobs.

Necessary wording for 501(c)3 was added in a step toward acquiring the certification from the United States Internal Revenue Service. 501(c)3 is a nationally recognized charitable organization status that would eventually allow us to hold larger fundraisers and get donations from larger corporations. Currently, the Band Boosters are an Indiana state recognized non-profit organization. The Band Boosters are now required by the bylaws to give monthly financial reports to Greater Clark County Schools and school administration.

To read more on our huge bylaw change, please read them here.

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