Spartan Band

Memorial Day Parade!

May 26

Time: TBA
Location: St. Paul's parking lot

Come hear the Jazz Bands perform, and eat delicious pasta to support the music program!





     On Monday, May 26, 2008, the McGee Spartan Band will perform in the Berlin Memorial Day parade.   This is a required performance for all students, and is factored into each student's grade as a performance.   Parents with a scheduling conflict should contact Mr. Härtel as soon as possible so that necessary changes in parts and marching placement may be made for the remaining students.  Students who are not able to attend the parade will have an after-school make-up performance at a later date.

   In preparation for the parade, parent volunteers will be re-fitting students for uniforms in the coming weeks.   Parents are asked to check their student's closet to make sure that the McGee Spartan Band uniform has been turned in.   All uniforms and uniform  pieces should have been turned in following the Berlin Fair performance.   The more uniforms and uniform pieces that are available during fitting time, the better our band will look in the parade.

     Parents who have found uniforms in their student's closet are asked to assess the condition of uniforms before returning them to McGee, and to have soiled uniform pieces cleaned.   Spartan Band has not budgeted for uniform cleaning this year, and so your help in this matter will be greatly appreciated.  Students who have left band and students who will be participating in Honor Guard and / or Color Guard will not need their uniforms, and should turn them in immediately so as to make more uniforms available for uniform fittings.   

     In the coming weeks, your student will be working on parade music and marching skills.  Mr. Cormack will be conducting marching exercises during Period H with assistance from marching band staff and student leaders from Berlin High School.  Please encourage your student to cooperate fully, and to take this instruction seriously.   

     On the Friday before Memorial Day weekend, your student should bring his or her instrument home.   Your student is expected to meet at St. Paul's school parking lot at the specified time, in uniform, with his or her instrument and music.  Only the largest instruments can be transported due to space restrictions, and it is imperative that your student understand in advance how his or her large instrument will be transported to the parade.   New Britain Transportation has once again requested that oversize instruments not be transported on NBT buses for safety reasons.

     Pick up will be at the VFW on Masserio Drive following the after-parade performance with the BHS Band.   Members of the Berlin High School Band Parents Association will assist in hydrating all Berlin Band students after the parade, and will assist the marching staffs of McGee and BHS in monitoring student safety during the performance at the VFW.  

Parents with questions about this performance should contact Mr. Cormack at x107.



  • Jazz Band scores and recordings 

  • Rehearsal schedule 

  • Performance schedules

  • Part assignments (clarinet 1, clarinet 2, etc.)

  • Sheet music for all ensembles

  • Recordings of most of our repertoire

  • Fingering charts

  • Permission slips (when needed)



  • The username and password supplied by Mr. Härtel

  • Adobe Acrobat Reader 5.0 or later (follow the link on the DOWNLOADS page to install Adobe)

  • Windows Media Player or Real Player or Quicktime

  • The rehearsal schedule is in .DOC format

  • The part assignment lists are in .XLS format



     This website is now your one-stop source for all music, materials, and information about the instrumental music program at McGee.  Students and parents are encouraged to check this website often, as it is updated frequently.  

     Parents, please note that students have been thoroughly briefed on the proper procedures for using this website, and detailed, written instructions on how to access the resources were distributed to all band members.  It is the student's responsibility to download and print their music, and to have music, instrument, and a pencil in every class and rehearsal.  

     If a student is unable to print the music at home, there are several places in the school where this can be accomplished; the library, the computer lab, the band room, and many classrooms have computers and printers.  Any student who does not have the music at the start of each class or rehearsal will be marked unprepared, and one point will be deducted from their final grade for each incident.  The rehearsal schedules are posted on the DOWNLOADS page of this site, so please check to see what is needed for the upcoming rehearsals.  Please do not approach Mr. Härtel one minute before the start of a rehearsal to say you don't have the music! 

     BE PREPARED! Come to each class and rehearsal with your music, your instrument in working order, and a pencil.



     Daily cleaning of wind instruments is necessary; woodwinds must be swabbed out, and brass water keys must be emptied.  Adequate time is given at the end of each rehearsal for this, yet often students neglect simple daily hygiene.  Packing a warm, wet instrument in a dark case provides a breeding ground for nasty bacteria.  If you notice your child's instrument emitting a funky smell, (or if plants wilt and pets run screaming when the instrument is unpacked), you and your child should take the instrument to a shop for a cleaning. 

     With the winter concert completed, parents should get together with their children and check over their instrument.  Many instruments are showing signs of wear!

  • Do all the pads, keys and buttons on your child's instrument work freely?   Is anything loose?   

  • Can your child play a 2-octave scale for you with no squeaks or lost notes?  

  • Does your child have an adequate amount of consumable supplies such as reeds, valve oil, slide cream and cork grease? 

  • Do your child's mouthpiece and instrument look and smell clean? 

  • Does your child have a working swab/mouthpiece brush/cleaning snake?  

  • Is your child's instrument case in working order, and labeled with his/her name?

If you can't answer "yes" to these questions, you should take your child and his or her instrument to a shop for a consultation. 

     Parents renting school instruments are encouraged to conduct a similar inspection of school-owned instruments.   If your child has damaged a school owned instrument, you may be liable for repair or replacement costs, and even school instruments need consumable supplies, and no matter who owns it!  If your child's instrument is hard to play, your child won't enjoy the experience!







     Once again, students who are interested in participating in Color Guard for the Memorial Day parade will have an opportunity to do so.   Mrs. McManus - Engel will be working with students interested in being part of McGee's Color Guard in the upcoming parade.  Please contact Mrs. McManus - Engel at McGee with any questions.   



     Your middle school student should be bringing his or her instrument home on a regular basis as part of a dedicated practice program.  The success of any instrumental music program depends upon the individual efforts of all its musicians.   

     Middle School students should ideally schedule at least a half hour of uninterrupted practice time each day.   This should consist of 5-10 minutes of warm-up activities including scales, long tones, and breathing exercises.   The student should work for 15-20 minutes on specific sections of pieces being performed in band, and any exercises assigned by Mr. Härtel or a private teacher.  Before moving on to a cool down, students should attempt at least one piece from top to bottom, in tempo, without stopping.   Although less than 10% of your child's rehearsal time, it's possibly the most important part, as it's critically important that your child develop the mind set to play through a piece without stopping or going back "to fix" wrong notes.  

     A middle school student's cool-down should consist of 5-10 minutes of long tones and breathing exercises, similar to warm-up, but focusing on softer dynamics and breathing.   Parents with questions on practice should contact Mr. Cormack at x107.



     Any student interested in submitting articles for inclusion in this website or the music newsletter is asked to see Mr. Härtel or Mrs. Terlecky.   Reviews of recent McGee Music concerts, performances, trips, and festivals will be considered along with tips and thoughts on switching / learning new instruments, practicing at home, or choosing a private lesson teacher.



     Do you, your relatives, or your friends have unwanted  instruments just sitting around, or gathering dust in the attic?   Has an older child lost interest in music after middle or high school?   Would you like to help the school to save your tax dollars while you earn a tax deduction at the same time?

     The McGee Music Department is currently seeking donations of unwanted or abandoned instruments.   These may be in any condition, but playable condition is preferred.   Your donated instrument can be used by our current students, or traded with one of our suppliers towards new and much-needed instruments.   Every donation, regardless of condition can help, but we are especially in need of brass instruments.   Clean out that closet or basement NOW!   Please contact Mr. Hartel (VM 101) or Mr. Cormack (VM 107) to arrange a donation.



     Interested in learning more about Mr. Härtel, or Mrs. Terlecky?  Click HERE to find out where they went to school, how long they've been at McGee, and what they do with music when they're not at McGee!