2009 Director’s Feature-Paxton-Buckley-Loda
Filed under: — Dan Balash @ 12:40 pm

This is part 2 of our director’s features for today, and quite possibly the last one of the year.  Thank you to all the directors that answered the call for this feature.  Paxton-Buckley-Loda is located in Paxton, IL, a town of about 4,500.  Buckley, IL has a population of 564, and Loda, IL has a population of 404.   Paxton is located 25 miles northeast of Champaign.  PBL High School has an enrollment of 466.  Today, we talk with Tim Hess, director of bands at Paxton-Buckley-Loda.

Illinois Marching Online: What is your prior directing experience?

Tim Hess: 2.5 Years at Atwood-Hammond High School, and 10 years at Paxton-Buckley-Loda High School

IMO: What is your 2009 show about?

TH: Phantom of the Opera – Andrew Lloyd Webber, which is from Marching Show Concepts.

IMO: How do you arrive at your show themes and musical selections?

TH: During the winter I start listening to different shows, and make my decisions from a music point of view. It is interesting to note that this is our third “phantom “ show as we did Phantom of the Piano Studio and Phantasm the previous two years. I don’t think I’ll continue with another Phantom-based show next year though.

IMO: What are some things to look for in your show?

TH: First and foremost I listen for interesting music, (I have to live with the book for a couple of months!). From there I look at the drill, (since I buy packaged shows) to see if it would be attainable given our limited rehearsal schedule. Guard choreography is of little concern as I have someone to write that.

IMO: What is the instrumentation/guard breakdown for 2009? (pit/winds/brass)

TH: 15 Percussion, 46 Winds, 16 Guard

IMO: What is your rehearsal schedule like from beginning of the season to the end of the season?

TH: We run a weekly rehearsal during the summer to focus on fundamentals and familiarize the students with the show. Last week in July we begin a two week band camp to bring the elements together, (although we do not book the entire show). Once school begins, our only full band time is during the normal band period, (50 minutes) although the guard and percussion continue a weekly evening rehearsal. As a small school program, we share our kids with all the other activities, so an evening full band practice would be out of the question due to conflicts.

IMO: What does your competition schedule look like?

TH: 4 competitions this year, and we do not compete Homecoming weekend!

IMO: Is your band volunteer or mandatory for students enrolled in concert band programs?

TH: Mandatory for all students.

IMO: Who is on your staff?

TH: Beth Nuss – Assistant Director

Jackie Evers – Student Teacher from University of Illinios

Joanna Willis – Guard

Nancy Streitmatter – Guard

Heidi Jones – Percussion

Zach Hilligoss – Percussion

IMO: What do you look for when you choose a competition for your band to attend?

TH: 1. Proximity!

2. Classification based on School size

3. Smaller comps as we are not really competitive at the state level.

IMO: About how big is the preferred size for your band? Why?

TH: Given our limited instructional time and facilities, up to 100 would be great. Past that and we would struggle to give each student a quality experience.

IMO: What are some of your favorite memories from being a director at the bands that you’ve directed?

TH: Taking the concert band to Superstate at University of Illinois and seeing the kids reaction to playing in the Great Hall.

Traveling with my Band to New Orleans and watching them learn a new culture – Mr. Hess I AM NOT GOING TO EAT THAT CRAWFISH!

Friends I have made with my band parents.

Illinois Marching Online would like to thank Mr. Hess for his time answering the questions, and would like to wish Paxton-Buckley-Loda the best of luck for the rest of this season and into 2010.

(full article)