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    Text Box: Morris Hills High School

    Scarlet Knights Band Program 2014 - 2015




    Dear Morris Hills Freshmen and Families,


    Welcome to Morris Hills High School! The music program at Morris Hills is comprehensive and provides students with a number of programs, regardless of their skill. The purpose of this booklet is to give you an overview of the variety of opportunities available for your child.


    Concert Band

    Morris Hills has two concert bands, a Freshman Concert Band and an Advanced Concert Band. Both bands meet every other day in a concert band classroom setting. Each band member receives unlimited group band lessons during lunch and five credits toward graduation for each year they are enrolled in the class.


    Members of the freshman band are encouraged to audition and perform with the advanced band during the concert season. Each band performs at concerts in December, February, and May, as well as at the high school graduation in June. We also have the opportunity compete in the NJ Region One Concert Band festival held in March 2015.


    The concert band is the core or most important element of our band program. All the other band programs are voluntary, extra-curricular activities. To use a comparison: All students must take Phys Ed, but not all students must participate in a sport.


    Currently; MH Music Department Spring Trip 2014, ( Next planned trip is April 2016)

    Students in the Morris Hills concert bands and marching band will travel and perform in Walt Disney World, Orlando, Florida. Any student enrolled in the band are welcome to participate. This trip is above and beyond the mandates of the school curriculum and will be paid for by the individual student. This voluntary trip is only offered to the students of the Concert and Marching bands. Students who are interested will participate in fund-raising activities or pay to participate. The 2014 trip to Orlando will cost $1,250.00 per student participant. The Morris Hills Band Boosters will run fundraisers to help subsidize the cost per student for this opportunity. The Morris Hills Band Parents will set up an individual account for you.


    Morris Hills Band Boosters

    The Morris Hills Band Boosters meet every second Tuesday of the month, 7:30pm – 9:00pm, usually in the Morris Hills Band room, (next to the tennis courts). We hope you are interested and will start fund raising now. Please come to our meetings and find out what is happening regarding our current and future plans. You can email me directly: msopko@mhrd.org I also encourage you to join the MH Band Booster web site for up-to-date information concerning all our bands. To join, email n2wzb@optonline.net and say Mark, Please invite me. You will be able to see photos, download documents and ask questions.


    Other band opportunities

    From the concert band, students are invited to join one of the following after-school ensembles:

    ·       Jazz Band (Winter/Spring)

    ·       Pit Orchestra  (Winter for the Musical)

    ·       Brass/woodwind ensembles (Spring) student run

    ·       Winter Drumline (Winter/Spring)

    ·       The Morris Hills Marching Band  (Fall/ limited Spring)


    Please read the enclosed flyer for additional information on these programs. A MH band orientation meeting will take place on May 12, 2015, at 7:30pm in the Morris Hills H.S. Band Room to discuss the entire Morris Hills Band program


    Jazz Band

    The MH jazz band begins in December after the marching band season.

    The jazz band practices once a week after school during the winter and spring.

    The following instruments are needed:

    ·       Alto, Tenor and Baritone Saxes,

    ·       Trumpets,

    ·       Trombones (Baritones and Tubas),

    ·       Clarinets, Piano,

    ·       Electric guitar. Bass Guitar,

    ·       Drum Set, Traps Percussion

    ·       Flute and Clarinets


    The Jazz band performs at the Winter and Spring Morris Hills Band Concerts as well as possible Middle and Elementary school assemblies. The jazz band takes a break during February and March to prepare the MH Musical.


    Pit Band/Orchestra/Ensembles


    Pit band/orchestra rehearsal begins in February after the February Band Concert. This group performs for the school musical. Instrumentation is based on Concert and Jazz band requirements.


    Brass, and possible Woodwind Ensembles are usually student driven. Morris Hills H.S. seniors lead these groups March through May. Each group will rehearse once a week, weather permitting. Each group will also have the opportunity to perform in the spring band concert, depending on their readiness.




    Marching Band


    The marching band is an after-school activity. During the fall season, the marching band meets Tuesdays and Thursdays, (6:00pm – 9:00pm), and Saturdays, (9:00am –  ? pm for Football games and/or band competitions).

    Since the marching band is expected to perform so early in the school year, we conduct a band camp at Morris Hills High School in August. Next year, the MH Marching Band Camp will be held at Morris Hills H.S. the first full week in August, 8/3,4,5,6,7, 2015 from 8:00am until 9:00pm. Additional information, including the requirements for participation in the camp will be discussed at the band orientation meeting scheduled for May 12, 2015, 7:30pm – 9:00pm in the Morris Hills Band Room, room 370. Information concerning the entire band program will be discussed as well as a brief social for both parents and students after the meeting.


    What it means to be a Morris Hills Scarlet Knights Marching Band Member

    Tradition, pride and a standard of excellence are words that best describe our marching band. We are a nationally awarded and recognized organization. Our accolades include:  5 time New Jersey State, United States Bands Champion, 2 time National, United Stated Bands Champion, Super Bowl 48 Cast member for the Pepsi Bruno Mars Halftime Show and a MTV – Top 100 Count Down commercial. These titles are taken with us everywhere we go. Another title can and will happen again with your involvement. Please remember; Colleges love to see Marching Band as part of a high school student’s resume!


    Marching bands are grouped by a national organization according to how competitive the band is and the overall number students are in each band. Currently we are in the Open Division, the most competitive, and are classified as a Group 3 with a band membership between 55 - 75 members. As we look forward to the Class of 2018, we have a potential for 94 marching band members. This would make us eligible to compete in the Group 4, Open Division in next year’s competitive season. Please know the new Morris Hills Regional District policy allows 8th grade participation in our marching band!

    Did you know our marching band has electronic violins, violas and cellos? All string players are invited to join.

    Marching Band students and their grades

    Many parents are concerned that Marching Band members’ grades will suffer during the fall season due to the time commitment. Our experience tells us that this is not the case. Upper classmen assist marching band members by helping them organize their time during the fall season. Members do homework together during lunch periods and after school on a Tuesday and Thursday while waiting for rehearsal. The Morris Hills block schedule allows for alternating day classes giving the students more time to prepare assignments. Remember, the marching band only meets Tuesday and Thursday, 6:00pm – 9:00pm and on Saturdays. That leaves Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays and Sundays for students to complete their assignments. By comparison, any other fall sport meets Monday - Saturday.

    What you receive from Morris Hills as a marching band member

    All members will receive a uniform, (color guard members buy their own shoes and body suits as needed), transportation to and from performance events, an instrument if needed, instruction, schedules, music and equipment. Varsity letters are awarded to those students who participate for three years in the program. An awards dinner is held in late January or early February. Enclosed is an existing calendar of rehearsals, football games and competition dates for 2014. The 2015 calendar will be similar.


    Marching Band Uniforms

    The band boosters will issue uniforms during summer rehearsals and band camp. All uniforms are free of charge unless returned damaged. We expect all uniforms to be returned dry-cleaned.


    Physical Exams

    As a Morris Hills Marching Band member, you are required to have a physical prior to start of the 2014 Band Camp. All members of the MH Marching band must get their own physical by their own doctor using and filling out the given Morris Hills H.S. physical forms after July 1, 2015. Physical/Health forms will be sent to all incoming eighth graders by mail or delivered to your middle school. Veteran or new high school members should pick up the correct health forms in the band room or nurse’s office. All physicals must be completed and turned into me, MS, or the MH health office prior to band camp. Please remember, all health forms must be dated after July 1, 2015. Students will be eligible if they have had a physical post 11/15/14.



    Marching Band - Band Camp

    Band camp is an essential requirement of the MH Marching Band program. You must go to camp in order to learn the marching band’s field drill. Members of the fall season marching band rely on each other when the field drill is being learned. Sideline, Pit percussion and string playing members are needed to learn the music as early as possible and perform it while the field show is being learned.

    Band Camp will be held at Morris Hills H.S. the first week in August from 8:00am – 9:00pm. Additional staff is present to assist all band members. The cost per student is $350.00, although our on-going fundraising efforts may help lower the cost. This fee includes all instruction, lunches and dinners during camp. Members of the Band Boosters will also be present to provide the lunches and dinners.

    You can email Cliff or Kim Blewett at knotedog@optonline.net for information about “can shake” fundraising and to reserve your “can shake” spot. Shake that can for donations! Band Camp payments are due at July rehearsals.



    Marching Band - Fall Season

    Beginning September 1, 2014 we have 40 event days planned. Included are rehearsals, football games and competitions. Some competitions happen directly after a football game. Please review the enclosed existing schedule. You must attend rehearsals to perform at football games and competitions. Students must bring a bag lunch and/or dinner; or bring money for lunch and/or dinner during rehearsals and weekend events.


    Our tradition and history: The Marching “Scarlet Knight’s” have won local competitions and placed 5th in the 2014 US Bands, NJ State Championship and 5th in the  2014 USBands National Championship held at Met Life Stadium. The MH Marching Band and Concert Band students were cast members of the Super Bowl 48, Pepsi, Bruno Mars, Red Hot Chili Peppers Halftime show held in Met Life Stadium. They performed to a record sized audience on national TV.








    The Marching Band Fall Season Attendance policy

    Our attendance policy allows for three (3) absences. This is a little less than ten percent of the events planned for this fall. These may be taken for emergency purposes only and cleared by Mr. Sopko prior to taking this absence.

    Please use this attendance policy guide:

    Work, babysitting, “Aunt Edna’s” birthday and the school assignments are not emergencies. Weddings, funerals and severe injury are emergencies.


    Parental/Booster Involvement.

    Parents, we need and encourage you to join our fun!!! To join, email: n2wzb@optonline.net and say Mark, Please invite me. You will be able to see photos, download documents and ask questions.


    Pit Equipment Committee: This year’s Marching Band field show will involve many sideline instruments. Those are the instruments that cannot march due to their size or nature, (synthesizers, tympani, violins etc.). We will need help moving and loading this equipment. Please contact Mr. Cliff Blewett at knotedog@optonline.net or Mr. Sopko at msopko@mhrd.org if you are interested in assisting with this committee.


    Chaperone Committee: We need parent chaperones on busses and in the stands at football games, parades and competitions. Please contact Mrs. Liz Kelly: lizbaby4@optonline.net or Mr. Sopko at msopko@mhrd.org if you are interested in assisting with this committee.


    Band Camp Committee: We need parents to serve food and bring water during breaks at band camp. Please contact Mr. Corey Bell, kbellameme@gmail.com if you are interested in our Band Camp committee.



    This activity is a great experience for the students and parents. It is unique in the world of both music and sports. Marching band develops leadership and individual time management. It encourages a life-long friendship with other members while smoothing the journey from Freshman to Senior. It is fun. I have had the pleasure of working with marching bands for over thirty years, and I wouldn’t be doing it if wasn’t fun. I’m also proud to say that Morris Hills has over 27 alumni who are current band directors through out New Jersey and the United States.

    I also encourage you to join the MH Band Booster web site for up-to-date information concerning all our bands. To join, email morrishillsband@yahoogroups.org



    Morris Hills H.S. has a great music department.

    I hope you can join at least one, if not all the groups listed.

    Good luck with the rest of the school year. I look forward to meeting you.


    Mr. Mike Sopko, Band Director, (MS)








    New Member Sign up

    Mr. Sopko






















    Email for parents








    If allowed,




    Email of students







    Phone number




    Marching Orientation

    May 12, 2015 Meeting in the MH Band Room 7:30pm