Happy Thanksgiving 2016

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Turkey and Shopping is not what makes a good holiday weekend.

As we progress in our careers, we find ourselves spending less time with friends and family. I know that’s true for me. I don’t hang out with people. But that’s why it’s important to spend quality time together during these rate times we have off of our usually action-packed days.

Your turkey might not be perfect, or no one brought cranberry sauce. But at least we can all share that experience together¹.

Happy Thanksgiving²!

1. We all look weird in photos.
2. Thanks for not Giving me the cold.


Updating ancient bass carriers for 21st century drums.

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Today, being band director meant being a machinist. So I wasn’t actually a machinist, but boring out new holes in these bass harnesses would have been much easier with a drill press.

We made due with cobalt, countersink drill bits, and our trusty 18v cordless DeWalt. Too bad we mathed wrong. Half of 5 1/2 inches is often times not 2 1/4 inches. Lesson: measure and calculate twice, but also use a visual check to make sure things are aligned and make sense. Cobalt bits go through aluminum like a silver coin through ice, but it still takes a while to redrill so many holes.

Rebuilding this bass carrier to work with our new Tama drums from Lone Star Percussion was quite a feat.

The carrier mounts only sit 5.5 inches apart, significantly closer together than on our old Pearls. What made it more difficult is that the attachment point overlaps with the shoulder bars, requiring a countersunk screw. The easiest part was getting a 3/4 in countersink bit. Finding the hardware components proved more difficult.

After a few trips to several hardware stores, we finally found the 1/2 in. countersunk 5/16-18 hex screw and a matching coupler at a local hardware store. Unfortunately, no one carried a 2 in. J-hook, do we had to buy some eye bolts, cut out a section, and shorten it with a hack saw. But it’s finally done.

Or so we thought. In the process of redoing our 5 carriers, we misplaced a set of carriage bolts. Had to pick up a pair along with some locking nuts before the job could be finished.

Maybe it’s time to organize all of the little bits of hardware floating around our band room.


The end of our 2016 Origin Story show.

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It’s the end of another season for us. We narrowly didn’t earn a place in CSBC Finals by 0.1 points. Even though we would have liked to have performed one more time, we’re still proud of how much we all grew this past season. We’re so happy that all our hard work and progress was recognized by our Westminster High School family.

We’d like to thank our friends, families, and teachers for their support at our home games, competitions. A special shout out to La Quinta Marching Aztecs members for helping us host our 40th Annual Field Tournament last Wednesday. Blow away the audience at champs on Saturday! And we’re proud to be part of the Innovative Percussion Family.

As always, we’re looking to the future and reflecting on this past season so that we can continue to grow as we transition into all of our next groups for the rest of the year. Jazz Band & Steel Drums will be preparing for our Holiday Concert. Color Guard & Drumline are about to hold workshops and auditions for our Winter 2017 season. And for Concert Band, it’s back to basics as we continue to refine fundamentals.

That’s what’s exciting about what we do here: when one thing ends, so many more begin. The fun never ends!


#AnniesMove again so soon?

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It hasn’t even been a year, but we moved again.

But like last time, the work we needed to accomplish was done well and done quickly. We had had professional movers help with large furniture the day before, but they were no match for the Sunday crew.

Days like these remind me of why I’m proud to be able to call them my friends. I’ve worked along side many of them for many years and I’ve yet to run into a problem that I can’t count on them to resolve effectively. Their experiences dramatically vary, but their ability to get things done is unmatched.

If the world is ending, these guys will pull through.

Nerd Culture

They let us play Smash 4 at school!

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eSports is going strong and growing stronger.

Students at Westminster HS are recruiting for their Super Smash Bros. Club, which I’m fortunate enough to be club advisor to. I remember when the original came out on N64, and I was terrible at it. I’m impressed at the level of understanding that kids today bring to this game. As a gamer and teacher, I’m confident that the way that they problem solve in the game would benefit them in school. I haven’t read the research, but I know that there’s some that supports the educational benefits of gaming.

If sports can be a thing at school, if done correctly, I’d like to see eSports at the high school level. We’ll probably look to UCI and their involvement in eSports for inspiration.

Hoping we can touch more lives through Smash.