Tuesday, November 26, 2019

Lots to be Thankful For...

Dear Parents,

We have just completed a record-breaking fundraiser.  $15,914 raised from a single event is absolutely incredible. If we count the money earned from the chili cook-off and the snack bar (these profits went to the Carson High School Band), we made a total of approximately $17,500!  Almost $8,000 of this went directly into student's spring trip accounts, with the remaining money going into our general fund.  Check out the top sellers, class participation percentages, and perhaps the most incredible part, our running total throughout the month.
 As a result of our efforts, we will not need any additional fundraisers this school year.  I am also pleased to share that I ordered new music stands yesterday. These should arrive just in time for the new year.  To our parents who spent countless hours getting donations, helping their kids sell tickets, donating items from their personal businesses, attending the event, or all of the above: thank you!

All students in all classes have a video assignment that's due on Sunday, December 1.  Here are their directions:
- Introduce yourself (name, instrument, band)
- Tell me your most challenging spot in your concert music.
- Why is it your most challenging spot?
- Play it "as is."
- Choose TWO practice strategies to use in order to fix it.
- Practice with those TWO practice strategies.
- Once you practiced the section, play it again.
- Discuss why this worked (or if it didn't, what you'll do next time).
- Finish by telling me what you need to do next so you're ready for the concert.
The practicing and their analysis will count as a practicing grade, and their playing will count as a playing test grade. If you would like to view the assignment and examples of featured student videos, click here: https://flipgrid.com/47fd45d8 

December 3 - Marching Band Rehearsal, 2:30-4:30 PM
December 4 - Advanced Band Rehearsal, 2:30-4:30 PM
December 5: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Fritsch Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM
December 6: Advanced Band Silver & Snowflakes Performance, McFadden Plaza, 7-7:30 PM
December 7: Sparks Christmas Parade, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
December 7: Empty Bowls Performance for Advanced Band, Carson Mall, 5:30-6:00 PM
December 10: Marching Band Perfect Attendance Movie Party, 2:30-4:30 PM
December 12: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Bordewich Bray Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM
December 18: CMS Band Winter Concert, Carson City Community Center, 6-8:30 PM
December 19: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Mark Twain Elementary, 8:45-9:15 AM; Fremont Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM
December 19: School Assembly performance, 2:00 PM

This has already been quite an incredible year.  Have a wonderful Thanksgiving break and I can't wait to see all our wonderful students for a December to remember!

-Mr. Jacques-

Thursday, November 21, 2019

Chili Bingo Night and More!

Dear Parents,

Friday night is the big night! We are excited to be offering a fun, family-friendly evening with delicious food, fabulous prizes, and great company, all starting at 5:00 PM.  Admission is free, and once you're in the gym, you will have an assortment of fun activities to choose from.  Here's a run-down of what we will be offering throughout the evening:

Chili Cook-Off
We will have chili tasting for only $5. We still have spots open if you'd like to enter a chili. Click the link above by Thursday evening if you are interested.

Bingo Games
We are selling bingo cards for just $1 each. With 12 games throughout the evening, you will have many chances to win amazing prizes.  Click here for this year's prize list.

Raffle Drawing
Students have sold over $10,000 presale tickets to this year's raffle, and you still have time to get in any last-minute tickets.  We will sell raffle tickets and draw winners between bingo rounds on Friday night. Tickets are just $1 each and you do not need to be present to win.

Silent Auction
We will also have a silent auction with items that will go home to the person with the highest bid.  Click here for this year's silent auction prize list.

Snack Bar
The Carson High School Band is hosting a snack bar with hot dogs, chips, candy, soda, and other delicious junk food!

Just For Kids
This year, we are also partnering up with Tiffany Rankin, our fabulous leadership teacher, and she will have board games, a movie viewing party, and other kid-friendly activities throughout the evening, so bring the whole family!

I'm looking forward to seeing you all on Friday evening for a wonderful community event that is guaranteed to be fun for the whole family, and all of it will benefit our amazing band kids!


This week, Smartmusic practice time will be due on Friday.  Students also have a video practice assignment that will double as their playing test, due on December 1.  Students will complete this at home by recording themselves. The link and all directions are in their Google Classroom pages.

November 22 - Chili Bingo Night, 5-8 PM
December 3 - Marching Band Rehearsal, 2:30-4:30 PM
December 5: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Fritsch Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM
December 6: Advanced Band Silver & Snowflakes Performance, McFadden Plaza, 7-7:30 PM
December 7: Sparks Christmas Parade, 10:00 AM-5:00 PM
December 7 (NEW EVENT): Empty Bowls Performance for Advanced Band, Carson Mall, 5:30-6:00 PM
December 10: Marching Band Perfect Attendance Movie Party, 2:30-4:30 PM
December 12: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Bordewich Bray Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM
December 18: CMS Band Winter Concert, Carson City Community Center, 6-8:30 PM
December 19: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Mark Twain Elementary, 8:45-9:15 AM; Fremont Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM

Thank you!

-Mr. Jacques-

Thursday, November 14, 2019


Dear Parents,

Chili Bingo Night began as a fundraiser that was put on by the PTA. 12 years ago, Mr. Blankenship, previous band director of CMS, needed a new marimba and partnered with the PTA to sell raffle tickets to pay for the instrument. Since then, this event has been handed exclusively to the band program and has become a massively profitable event, so much so that this year, it will be our only major fundraiser!  With how easy it is to sell tickets and how much fun the event is to attend, we should begin calling it a "fun"raiser. This year's goal is $10,000 in total profit, and we can easily exceed that with 100% class participation. Some students have sold so many raffle tickets that they've already paid off their entire spring trip!

Chili Bingo Night Meeting and Volunteer Signup
This amazing tradition would not thrive without the continued support from parents. We are looking for parent volunteers to work in shifts at the event.  Please sign up here.

We will also have a planning meeting for all parents on Tuesday, November 19, at 6:30 PM in the band room. We will go over every shift, discuss where we need additional help, and come up with a plan to make this the best Chili Bingo Night ever.

Chili Cook-off Entry Form
Do you have a delicious recipe for chili? If so, we want you to enter your tasty creation in our annual chili cook-off.  Click here to enter!  Cash prizes are available for the best taste, people's choice, and best name.

Ticket Selling Reminders
So far, we have made about $3,500 in presale ticket profits! Students have 1 more week to finish selling all their raffle tickets. Don't forget that each ticket needs to have the buyer's name, phone number, and item that they want to win. Students need to return the tickets and money to me by Thursday, November 21 and prizes are available to the top selling students in the band program.

Please share this flyer with everyone you know!

This year, I have over 50 students auditioning for Honor Band!  These students have been hard at work preparing an audition that will be recorded in my office at lunches and after school between now and the 18th. Advanced Band students are required to play the audition as a playing test (and can choose whether or not to submit their audition for a chance to be in the band). This is your student's final chance to practice (honor band music is uploaded in Smartmusic).  Honor Band results will be posted by November 27. 

Last week, all students completed another week of practicing on Smartmusic and Beginning Band members completed a playing test on #40 (Technique Builder). This Friday, students need to complete at least 30 more minutes of recorded time on Smartmusic. No playing tests will be due this week or next week due to Honor Band auditions that are taking place. 

In addition to those graded assignments, students are all hard at work on their winter concert music. As of today, all students in all classes have all their pieces and they should be bringing home their band folders with these tunes each day. Even though this time isn't part of their weekly grade, it is important that they are working on this music.  Next week, I will introduce a video-based assignment that will test their skills when they're practicing these winter concert tunes. More on that next week.

Spring Trip Meeting
Is your student in Advanced Band or Jazz Band? If so, you and your student should plan to attend our Spring Trip informational meeting on Tuesday, November 19 at 6:00 PM in the band room. We will discuss all information relating to the trip and answer all your questions.

November 19: Marching Band Rehearsal, 2:30-4:30 (percussion until 6:00)
November 22: Chili Bingo Night, CMS Gym, 5-8 PM
November 26: Marching Band Rehearsal, 2:30-4:30 PM (Cancelled)
December 3: Marching Band Rehearsal, 2:30-4:30 PM
December 5: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Fritsch Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM
December 6: Advanced Band Silver & Snowflakes Performance, McFadden Plaza, 7-7:30 PM
December 7: Sparks Christmas Parade (Times TBA)
December 10: Marching Band Perfect Attendance Movie Party, 2:30-4:30 PM
December 12: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Bordewich Bray Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM
December 18: CMS Band Winter Concert, Carson City Community Center, 6-8:30 PM
December 19: Advanced Band Assembly Tour: Mark Twain Elementary, 8:45-9:15 AM; Fremont Elementary, 10:00-10:30 AM

That is it for this week!

-Mr. Jacques-

Friday, November 1, 2019

Chili Bingo Night

Dear Families,

The 11th Annual Family Chili Bingo Night is on Friday, November 22, at CMS. This is the biggest and most profitable fundraiser at CMS; in fact, it's so successful that it will be our only major fundraiser! 100% of profits go directly back into the band program at our school. A huge thanks goes out to some incredible parents, as well as businesses, who have donated time, goods, and services to make this event a huge hit each year.  This event consists of several parts:


On Friday, November 1, each student received an envelope with a prize list and 10-20 tickets, which students will be selling over the next 3 weeks.  With over 200 participating students this year, we have the potential to raiser well over $10,000 in just presale raffle tickets. Students may also come back for as many additional tickets as they like!  Here are the important facts that students must remember about selling these tickets:
  • They MUST collect the money at the time of sale. Tickets are $1 each.
  • They need to include the following information on each ticket:
    • Buyer's name
    • Buyer's phone number
    • Item number (if the buyer wants their tickets to go towards a specific item)
  • They must bring the tickets AND the money back to Mr. Jacques.  (buyer does not keep the tickets)
This raffle is unique because you can choose which item you want to win.  This means that you only have a chance of winning items that you would want, and it increases your odds of winning. 

There are top prizes for students, and they were very excited to know what they might be able to win:
  • Sell 10 tickets: Receive 1 free ticket for the item of your choice.
  • Sell the 2nd-10th most tickets overall: Receive a gift certificate to one of these places: In N Out or Firehouse Subs.
  • Sell the most tickets overall: Receive a $30 gift card to an area business of your choice!
  • If each student in a class sells at least 10 tickets, they will all receive an in-class root beer float party on Friday, December 20
Tickets will be drawn at the event on November 22. Winners do not need to be present to win (but it's more fun when they are present).


The chili cook-off is the tastiest part of the event. If you'd like to enter a chili, it's absolutely free, and you will have a chance of winning cash prizes for your creations. We ask that you make at least a crock-pot full so everyone can get a taste and have one person serve for at least the first hour of the event.  

At the event, the cost to taste is only $5 and you will get to vote on your favorite.  Winners are announced during the event.  Will you be our next winner? If you want to enter a chili, SIGN UP HERE!


At the event, we will have bingo games for additional prizes. Bingo will take place at the event, and there are 12 rounds. Bingo cards are 1 dollar each. The Bingo winners will receive such prizes as restaurant gift certificates, hotel stays, pizza for a year, and more!


Along with delicious chili tasting, parents from Carson High School's band will have a snack bar with hot dogs, chips, candy, and sodas.  Bring the whole family and have dinner with us on November 22.

Our total fundraising goal is $14,000 to go towards student's band trips and replacement music stands.

I'll be updating the newsletter again with the usual news and updates later in the week week.  Enjoy the beginning of an amazingly fun and profitable fundraiser!

-Mr. Jacques-

Tuesday, October 29, 2019


Dear Parents,

What a week! I'm completely overjoyed, proud, and absolutely exhausted all at the same time.  Let's wrap up the events that unfolded throughout the week, in case you missed anything. We will also be resuming practice assignments and playing tests next week, passing out new music for our winter concert, and preparing for our next round of events.

Fall Concert Wrap-Up
Our annual fall concert was a huge success. All groups played well, I love how many of you came to support our students, and we even sold a few shirts.  What a great showcase for our entire band program.  Our next concert for all groups will be on December 18 at the Carson City Community Center. Save the date!

"Nevada Day" Assembly
I can't begin to describe the feeling I had on Thursday.  I spent the past couple weeks to prepare the Marching Band for a surprise performance to the student body, and all the nervousness that went with it.  Little did I know that this was actually going to be a big surprise for me and I was going to receive the Milken Educator Award. The students performed amazingly, and we settled into our seats to watch the rest of the assembly unfold. As the speakers presented, I kept thinking, "Wow, there is a lot of speaking about the quality of education. I like this!" Then, the prize was announced and we were all waiting and wondering who the amazing teacher would be.  There are so many great teachers at our school and as my students wishfully whispered, "It's gotta be Mr. Jacques," I kept saying, "no no no, it's gotta be one of our really great teachers." Well, when my name was announced, it was an indescribable feeling.  I was asked to prepare a speech with about 10 minutes to think about it, and speak to the audience. Then, I was surrounded by press as my band packed themselves up and went home. When everything finally settled down at 3:30 PM, I was left in this state of shock and euphoria, and I'm still trying to process the surprise. Here are several videos and photos. I still get tears when I see how the band reacted behind me. I love these kids!

Channel 2 News Broadcast
Channel 8 News Broadcast
Nevada Appeal Story
Carson Now Story
Pictures from the Milken Family Foundation website

Nevada Day Parade
Once again, the Nevada Day Parade did not disappoint.  The largest band in the history of Carson Middle School took to the streets and put on a performance that received many compliments.  Here are a couple of videos:
Nevada Appeal
NGBN Cason City TV Broadcast


This week, I will have a weekly citizenship and participation grade.  On Friday, we will resume Smartmusic (as a grade) and their next assignment will be due on Friday, 11/8. We will also have our first playing test of the 2nd quarter, also due on Friday, 11/8.

All interested students should be practicing honor band audition music this week. In 3 weeks, students will record themselves playing through the music and I will submit their music to a panel of fellow music educators, who will rate their performances. The top students in northern Nevada will be invited into a band that rehearses together in February with a special guest conductor. I will be uploading this music into Smartmusic so their work on the music can count towards their practice time.

This year's annual family Chili and Bingo is on November 22. We will begin the fundraiser on Friday with presale raffle tickets on Friday and I will be sending out a special update with all the specific information.

October 31 - Jazz in the Commons: 7:15 AM in the CMS Commons
November 8 - Veterans Tribute Concert (Advanced Band, Intermediate Band, Marching Band): 9:00 AM in the CMS Cafeteria
November 9 - Sierra Band Crusade (Select Marching Band members): All Day at UNR
November 11 - Reno Veterans Day Parade (Marching Band): All Day  Click here to view the informational flyer

After Veterans Day, we will have approximately 3 weeks between events as students prepare Honor Band audition and winter concert music. Keep in touch with the calendar on the band website for our future events.

What a week it has been! I will never forget the events that have unfolded, and I couldn't have done this without YOU!

-Mr. Jacques-

Tuesday, October 22, 2019

Concert Week

Dear Parents,

After 2 months of setting classroom procedures, teaching students how to practice, giving them their first playing tests, and getting to know your students, it's time for the fun part: concerts!

Grades Wrap-Up
Quarter 1 grades wrapped up on Friday. Students had several weeks of practicing, a few playing tests, weekly participation, and weekly citizenship. If their grade is an A or B, your student has achieved mastery overall with practicing, participation, and performing.  Great job!  If their grade is a C or a D, they are close, but either have low playing test scores or low practicing scores.  These students can easily earn an A or B by the end of the semester.  Students with an F have not practiced or made up playing tests. Once they make up their playing tests and improve their practice habits, they will easily earn a C or higher by the end of the semester.  Log into Infinite Campus to see your student's official quarter 1 grade in band.

Nothing is due this week, and students will have their concert on Wednesday night, which is worth 30% of their overall grade in band.

Fall Concert
Our Fall Concert is on Wednesday night! Please read this section carefully:
  • Call time is 5:45 PM for Beginning Band and Concert Band, seated in the gym.
  • Part 1 begins at 6:00 PM
  • Call time is 6:45 PM for Intermediate Band, Jazz Band, and Advanced Band, seated in the gym.
  • Part 2 begins at 7:00 PM
  • Students must either wear their blue band polo with dress pants, black socks, and black dress shoes, or their Halloween costume.  Halloween costumes must not interfere with their ability to play their instrument properly.
We will have a table with shirts for sale. If you have not yet paid your band fees, we will also collect those at this table.  Thank you to Rachel, Evelyn, and Connie for volunteering to run this table. 

This concert is mandatory for all band members and it's a major rite of passage in their music education.  It will be a rewarding and fun evening for everyone.

Nevada Day Parade
The Nevada Day Parade is on Saturday, October 26, and is mandatory for all Marching Band members.  Click here for the Nevada Day Parade letter, which has important information for all Marching Band members and their families.

Watching the parade and want to cheer us on?  We are entry #30, and I predict that we will be working our way down Carson Street between 10:30 and 11:00 AM.

Nevada Day Concert
As some of you may already know, I'm the director of the Capital City Community Band.  This band has been in existence since 1978 and was founded by a former teacher of the CMS Band program, Mr. Doede.  This band is performing on Saturday at 2:00 PM at the Legislative Mall Amphitheater. I am offering extra credit to all students who attend and check in with me at the end of the performance.  This concert is absolutely free and I invite you and your families to attend immediately following the parade.

Sierra Band Crusade
On November 9, the University of Nevada is hosting the Sierra Band Crusade, Nevada's state marching band championships.  Every year, I invite 30 Marching Band members and watch the competition with me.  I will be giving all interested marching band members a handout on Tuesday afternoon. The cost for the trip is $5 for students and $10 for chaperones. This is a fantastic opportunity for students to see what marching band at the high school is all about.

Veterans Day Parade
On Monday, November 11, the Marching Band will also be performing in the Veterans Day Parade.  We just received word that we are entry #18 and we will be marching down Virginia Street in downtown Reno around 11:30 AM.  I will have a handout with more details available to the marching band following the Nevada Day Parade.

That is "all" for this week.  I look forward to seeing you at our fall concert and other events in the next few days.  Let me know if you have any questions.

-Mr. Jacques-

Tuesday, October 8, 2019


Dear Parents,

This month is all about firsts: Beginning Band's first concert, Marching Band's first parade, and the first quarter of the grading period coming to an end.  I have important information about our fall concert, marching band schedule, grades, and more!

The CMS Band Fall Concert is on Wednesday, October 23.  This concert is mandatory for all students in all ensembles.  Here are some important details:
  • Call time for Beginning Band and Concert Band: 5:45 PM in gym with instrument and music.
  • Call time for Intermediate Band, Jazz Band, and Advanced Band: 6:45 PM in the gym with instrument and music.
  • Part 1 of the concert begins at 6:00 PM with Beginning Band and Concert Band
  • Part 2 of the concert begins at 7:00 PM with Intermediate Band, Jazz Band, and Advanced Band
  • Concert dress will be either their blue band polo with black pants, black socks, and black dress shoes, or a Halloween costume that is school-appropriate and doesn't interfere with a student's ability to play (no masks, big gloves, etc).
  • We will need parent volunteers to help monitor students in the halls/band room between groups and help sell polo shirts before/after the concert. Email Mr. Jacques if you're available. 


Students are finishing their work memorizing Tribute to America, and we will be running it through from memory at today's rehearsal.  See below for dates and times:
  • October 8 - 2:30-4:30 PM, uniform fitting until 6:00 PM for brass, flags, and percussion.
  • October 15 - 2:30-4:30 PM, percussion until 5:00 PM
  • October 19 (Saturday) - 9:00 AM-12:00 PM, parent showcase performance and barbecue at 11:30 AM.
  • October 22 - 2:30-4:30 PM, percussion until 5:00 PM
  • October 26 (Saturday) - Nevada Day Parade, times to be announced next week.
  • November 5 - 2:30-4:30 PM
  • November 11 (Monday) - Reno Veterans Day Parade
  • November 12 - 2:30-4:30 PM
  • November 19 - 2:30-4:30 PM
  • December 3 - 2:30-4:30 PM
  • December 7 (Saturday) - Sparks Christmas Parade
Everybody who has paid their band fee should now have their shirts. If your student still owes their band fee, please pay it ASAP so they have the proper concert attire on October 23. We will also be selling shirts at the fall concert.

This week, students will also be submitting assignments on the following tunes:
Concert Band: Freaky Fantasy
Advanced Band: Tribute to America, measures 25-end
Intermediate Band: Tribute to America, measures 25-end
Beginning Bands: Merrily We Roll Along
Jazz Band: Rock This Town (Friday in class)

There will also be at least 30 minutes of recorded practice time due this Friday and next Friday.  Students will receive 1 week off from completing this assignment during the week of Nevada Day.

Is your student still having a difficult time practicing? I am sending them home with practice tips and important reminders about how to use Smartmusic as a tool in their practicing. I also included a link to this handout at the top of this page.

Have a great week!

-Mr. Jacques-