ABA: How are we going to get through this?

How are we going to get through this? What are my students going to do? What about my concert? How will I recruit for next year? What about auxiliary and drum major tryouts? How will I teach my content digitally? These are all BIG questions that we have all had to answer over the past 5 weeks. None of us would have ever imagined on March 1 what April would look like for our programs, but there is one thing that I know for sure, we as band directors and music teachers ALWAYS find a path for our students and programs whatever is put before us.

In the days ahead think about the following things to help your program:

  1. Attend some PD sessions online to aid you in this time
  2. Look at your program and implement some things you’ve wanted to but haven’t had the time (I’ve revamped my student leadership application procedures and how I will train them for the Fall during this time)
  3. Spend time getting organized as you close out this year and are getting ready to tackle next year
  4. Plan for summer activities. a. Have a plan A for normal summer. b. Plan B for shorter summer. c. Plan C for what would happen if there are no summer activities – don’t be caught off guard, plan NOW! Remember, if you fail to plan you have planned to fail!!!!
  5. Start now planning Concert Band literature your band for the next academic year – order in September: a. Veterans Day, b. Christmas, c. MPA, d. March Madness – if you’ve never done this concert – DO IT, e. Spring Concert
  6. It’s not too late to recruit – put together a video of your leadership students encouraging younger students to be in band – use iMovie or the like to put this together and get this out on social media and to your school – ASSUME THAT ALL YOUR UPCOMING STUDENTS ARE GOING TO BE IN BAND AND GO AFTER THEM!!!!!!!!!
  7. Use this time to market your program in a positive way!!!
  8. Look at your finances and how you will manage them in the Fall since most of us missed a fundraiser this Spring

Upcoming ABA events

All-State – All of the clinicians from the 2020 event will be with us for the 2021 event in Mobile. All of the registration money for All-State, the Solo Festival, and the Friday lunch has been refunded to the schools.

Summer Conference – As of now, the ABA Summer Conference is still a go. The board will meet in May to make a final determination about this event, but we are hoping that we will be able to have the event as planned. Doug Farris will be sending out a room link very soon to the membership for this.

Solo and Ensemble – Our bylaws allow for Solo and Ensemble to occur anytime from October through May. Each district has been encouraged to offer two solo and ensemble events next school year for our students. This is something for each district to discuss and see what works best for your district.

AMEA 2021 – All legislation that was going to be voted on at the All-State festival (2020), will be moved to the 2021 AMEA conference so that the membership will have the opportunity to discuss the legislation before we vote on the legislation.

AMEA has a resource page at myamea.us where we can all go to find resources to help during this time. You can also place your ideas and resources here to help us build this site. Also, remember to be proactive and positive as we move forward. The future of our programs will depend upon how we handle this time with our students and their families.

Take time during all of this to invest in personal growth, time to invest and grow with your family, time for your faith, and time for your musical journey as well. I am setting aside 30 minutes a day to sit down and practice my horn. I always complain I don’t have the time, well now I have nothing but time. Remember that this will end, and we will get through this, what matters is what we did with the time we had and did we invest in the things that really matter!!

Stay strong!!

This is your association. Let us all strive to make it better so that we can serve the students and the bands in our state better. We are ABA and together we CAN do great things!!


ABA: We Are ABA and Together We Can Do Great Things!!

This year’s conference was outstanding with so many opportunities for professional development. Wednesday began with the ABA Executive planning meeting, the AMEA board and ABA board meetings to finalize the conference and planning for the future. Thank you to the bands who presented outstanding concerts: Mortimer Jordan High School – Craig Cagle, Pizitz Middle School – Kim Bain and Leah Seng, Wicksburg High School Symphonic Band, Lori Hart, Grissom High School Symphonic Band 1, Theo Vernon, James Clemens High School Percussion Ensemble, Keith Anderson, Albertville Middle School Advanced Band, Missy Lindley, and Nathan Haskew, Tuscaloosa County High School Wind Ensemble, Mike Guzman and Emily Gray, and the Troy University Symphony Band, Dr. Mark Walker. Many thanks to all the clinicians for sharing your wonderful talents. As you begin preparing for MPA consider applying to perform next year. We have great bands in this state at all levels. The deadline for this application is June 1.

As we have just finished district all-state auditions, we must learn from the process to benefit our students. For any ABA event, read the handbook on that section. The most recent edition can be found on myamea.org. I recently reread the handbook and still found things that I needed to know about how we do what we do. Make sure that you are informed so that you can be the best advocate for your student and so that you stay on top of deadlines and procedures that are in place that help us all operate in a professional manner.

MPA is our next big event for the association. Take a moment a look over the new stage and sight-reading sheets that will be utilized this year. The UIL sight-reading criteria are available on myamea.org site so that you can know what will be expected of your band in the sight-reading, we well as a guidelines page that helps guide you through the process used in the room. If you have any questions about the process, reach out to someone who has been through it and ask questions.

All-State and the All-State Solo Festival registration will begin on February 7 and close on March 1. Please make sure you read the directions. For the all-state festival please provide PARENT EMAILS for each student registered. Registration for these events is not complete until you print the invoice and mail the check to the executive secretary by the deadline.

This is your association. Let us all strive to make it better so that we can serve the students and the bands in our state better. We are ABA and together we CAN do great things!! See you at All- State!!


ABA: Take Something Back Home

As the school year has begun with 14 hour days, beginners with their new instruments, Friday night football games and preparing for all the events of the year, don’t forget to register for the AMEA Conference in Montgomery, January 16-18, 2020. The conference is a great way to network with other professionals, attend some outstanding clinics and concerts and re-energize yourself as you begin the second semester of school. We have planned clinics that cover a wide range of topics that we hope will inspire you to “take something back home” to your program.

There were twenty-six applications submitted to be considered to perform for the conference. The selection committee had some outstanding groups from which to choose, from all around the state and all different sizes and types of band programs. It is exciting to see the quality of the programs in our state continuing to improve. The groups that were selected to perform include: Troy Wind Symphony, Wicksburg High School Band, Albertville Middle School Advanced Band, Pizitiz Middle School Band, Mortimer Jordan High School Band, James Clemens High School Percussion Ensemble, Tuscaloosa County High School Wind Ensemble, and the Grissom High School Symphonic Band 1. Make your plans now to be in attendance for these concerts!!

We are currently working with Carl Hancock to develop a new version of ABAfest. After talking with him, we feel that the new site will be an improvement over the old one and will be able to offer more to the membership. The current ABA directory and cumulative list are both available on the myamea.org site. Please take a moment and check the information on the directory and make sure that it is correct. If any corrections are needed, please send those to your district chairman so that we can get as complete a directory as possible.

We are currently working on a plan to be able to register for All State and MPA if we aren’t ready to launch the new ABAfest site before those deadlines hit. Any information about how we will register will come from either me or Doug Farris and will be sent to you through email. Again, its imperative that we have your most up to date information and email to make this happen.

The legislation that was published in the last Ala Breve will be voted on at the AMEA conference. Please make sure that you have read the proposals and are ready to discuss them. Do not hesitate to contact me or any board member if you have any questions about these. We will get a link to these put on the myamea.org site soon also so that you will have access to those there.

Finally, I encourage you this Fall to be passionate in your teaching, to be purposeful in your relationships with those around you and to take pride in your profession. We have the awesome task and privilege of being able come to work every day and to teach music to a generation of kids who will be the leaders of tomorrow, so let’s make sure they see our passion for what we do and let’s help them to find their passion along the way.

Terry Ownby
ABA President

ABA: As the New Year Begins… Become Involved!

As we start this new school year, the ABA board is at the beginning stages of a 4-year evaluation cycle/review where we will be looking at the data from the past four years of MPA/All-State tryouts and see what the data reveals to us about what we are doing around the state. The committee will use the data to bring back recommendations to the board. As we continue to evaluate what we do, please help us by participating in surveys, evaluations at events and using the app for the AMEA conference in order to rate the conference and clinics you attend. Your input is very valuable. Please remember the Alabama Bandmasters is an organization that serves its members, and we can only do this with your input.

ABA Summer Conference 2019 was great and very well attended. Thank you to our clinicians Doug Farris, Jeff Fondren, Mike Guzman, Missy Lindley, David Caddell, Josh Lynch, Nathan Haskew and our Old Fogey series by Harry McAfee. This conference was filled with something for everyone. I know everyone who was able to attend came away motivated and recharged for the new year ahead. We would also like to thank the following sponsors for providing a wonderful shrimp boil that allowed our band family to come together and fellowship:

  • Southern Performances, David and Dayna Brannan
  • Group Travel Network, Justin Shuler
  • Demoulin, Jeff Thurber and Frank Godfrey
  • AWB Apparel, Wayne Broom
  • Sound Choice Recordings, Chester Bean
  • Art’s Music Shop, Paul Freehling
  • Simply Bedding, Charlie Colwell

We ended the event by presenting our outgoing Executive Secretary, Harry McAfee, a wooden, hand-made music stand in appreciation for his 9 years of service to ABA.

During the conference, the ABA Executive committee presented two names to the board for consideration for the Executive Secretary position. The board voted in Doug Farris as the new ABA Executive Secretary effective July 1, 2019. With this move, Doug relinquished his position on the board as Past President. The ABA Board of Directors reached out to Mr. John Cooper, a past ABA president, to fill this 2-year term on the ABA board. He agreed and we appointed him to this position during our conference. Also, there are several pieces of legislation that came before the board which the membership will have the opportunity to vote on at AMEA. We will publish these for you to have access to on the myamea site, the ABAfest site and in the pages of the August/September issue of Ala Breve. This will give you time to read and familiarize yourself with them before we discuss and vote at AMEA in January. The board also approved a new MPA Adjudication Sheet that we will be used beginning this year. Your district chairman will have more information at your Fall meeting in regard to this change.

Joel Henson met with the Music Selection Committee and they were able to look at the High School All- State Etudes. We will be moving back to method books for these this Fall. The list of books has been sent out. Please make sure that your student has the book with them when they register at the All-State tryout. The board also approved a new high school scale sheet format for this year.

As the new year begins, I encourage you to become involved. The AMEA and ABA provide great clinics, resources, and concerts that are meant to aid you in being the most effective educator you can be for your students. These events allow opportunities to collaborate, network, encourage and most importantly, learn from each other. Why do we have to reinvent the wheel when our neighbor band director already has the plan? Renew your NAfME membership TODAY and register for the AMEA Conference at the Renaissance Hotel in Montgomery

This summer I have spent a lot of time reflecting on my time as a husband, parent, friend and teacher. It’s healthy to look back and take stock of what has happened in our past, to learn from it, grow from it, and use it to guide us as we move towards the future. As we begin another school year, take a moment and look back at the successes and failures in your classroom. Evaluate and try to ascertain what made it a success and build upon those foundations. I believe that ABA has spent the past 6-8 years looking back at past successes and failures and we are doing our best to learn from these and allowing these experiences to help guide us forward. I believe this must happen for our association to continue to better serve our students and the bands in Alabama. I look forward to this journey with you for the next two years.

Remember the ABA board is here for you. Do not hesitate to contact your chairman or vice-chairman or anyone on the ABA Board. I hope we all have a great start to school and the best year of our careers.

Terry Ownby
ABA President