News

IHSMA State Marching Band Festival

PRESS RELEASE

RE: IHSMA State Marching Band Festival

The Executive Committee of the Iowa High School Music Association (IHSMA) has been concerned for student health and safety as it relates to the musical activities it oversees since the Covid-19 pandemic began this past spring. IHSMA has been in constant contact with other state organizations as well as leaders across the nation. 

Through the assistance of the NFHS/CBDNA aerosol study’s preliminary results and the mitigation strategies suggested, IHSMA has issued Return to Learn guidance for the Band, Choir, and Orchestra classroom.  That guidance was released Wednesday, July 15, 2020. That guidance suggests mitigation strategies that, according to IHSMA’s best understanding at this moment, significantly reduce the risk of aerosol disbursement within the music classroom setting (indoors and outdoors). It is IHSMA’s belief that with proper strategic planning, it can be safe to hold rehearsals and home performances.

Marching Band festivals pose a different challenge regarding student, teacher, and volunteer staff safety.  The health risks associated with transportation of the large number of students involved in marching band for extended periods of time, as well as the health and safety risks posed by bringing students and spectators from multiple communities to a single location are challenges IHSMA has determined cannot be overcome at this time through the mitigation strategies currently available.  To that end, the Executive Committee of the Iowa High School Music Association is canceling the traditional IHSMA State Marching Band Festival and has instructed the Executive Director to explore options for providing an online festival experience for those bands wishing to participate. 

All-State Chorus Accepted Students: Hand-sign Solfege Guidance for Teachers

Dear Director,

Below is an important message from the All-State Chorus Conductor, Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier and ICDA, Vice-President, Jill Wilson.

Iowa High School Choral Teachers,

As the Iowa High School Music Association announced in February, students selected for the 2019 All-State Chorus will learn the previously unknown piece at the Festival via hand-sign solfege, rather than by rote, as has been done in the past.  The Iowa Choral Directors Association is committed to assisting choral educators to teach music literacy skills and knowledge to all their students and, to that end, ICDA sponsored eight workshops in four locations throughout the state during June and July.  Sessions on music literacy were also offered at the July ICDA Summer Symposium.  To provide further assistance, we offer a plethora of charts and readers on the ICDA and IHSMA websites. 

Students selected for the All-State Chorus will need to demonstrate facility with each of these and with additional materials that will be made available to accepted students.  As we continue to reiterate, students will need to be able to think and hear in solfege in order to be successful in the rehearsal process of the previously unknown piece.

Please feel free to contact Dr. Aimee Beckmann-Collier, All-State conductor (aimee.beckmann-collier@drake.edu), for assistance in learning how to improve your students’ music literacy skills and knowledge.  We all want Iowa choral students to become independent musicians who will find joy in lifelong singing.  Making sure that they have the skills, knowledge, and affective experiences that guarantee success in school choral programs and beyond is the foundational way to make this happen.  We’re happy to help you in any way so please don’t hesitate to contact us for assistance.
 
Sincerely,
 
 Jill Wilson, D.M.A.
Associate Professor and Coodinator of Music Education
Luther College
Vice-President, Iowa Choral Directors Association
 
Aimee Beckmann-Collier, D.M.A.
Ellis and Nelle Levitt Distinguished Professor Emerita of Conducting
Drake University
Des Moines, IA 50311


Please understand that students struggling with the use of hand-sign solfege will not be disciplined in any way.  Those students will simply find it difficult to learn the music on site and navigate the rehearsals and sectionals planned.

Respectfully,

Alan Greiner
Executive Director, Iowa High School Music Association
Festival Director, Iowa All-State Music Festival