Class Announcements

Check for announcements at least once a week

Advanced tour!

posted Apr 5, 2017, 11:01 AM by Gregory Gates   [ updated Apr 5, 2017, 11:03 AM ]

On Wednesday May 17th, I will be taking all of the advanced band and orchestra students on a tour to play a concert at all five of the elementary schools in the articulation area. The goals of the concerts are to give the students experience following a scheduled timeline and the chance to perform as a full ensemble in front of all of their peers. This is also a great way to show some of the younger students what band and orchestra is all about.

♫ Students will need to bring a sack lunch.

♫ Students will need to arrange to be dropped off at Dutch Creek at 8:15 and be picked up from Leawood at 2:50PM.

♫ Students should wear their black Columbine Area Music shirt and jeans.

♫ I need at least 4 parents to go with us. One driving separately and hauling percussion equipment.

Download and turn this permission slip in by May 5th!

Summer music camp!

posted Mar 6, 2017, 7:27 AM by Gregory Gates   [ updated Mar 6, 2017, 7:30 AM ]

Summer Instrumental Music Classes 2017


Classes begin on Tuesday June 6th--Friday June 9th,

and continue Monday June 12th --Friday, June 16th.

            It’s just about time to break out the shorts and put the coats away! We are now filling classes for this summer’s music program. Classes will be held at Ken Caryl Middle School. Classes are open to all students who will be in grades 5th through 8th next fall. The last Friday June 13th will be a concert for all the members and their families! Registration will be at Music and Arts on Bowles just west of Pierce from 10:00 – 11:00 AM on Monday June 5th. If you have already turned in the registration form below and you already have all of your supplies, you do not need to attend the first Monday.

The classes being offered and the times they will meet each day are as follows:

Beginning Band                          10:00 – 11:00 AM

Intermediate/Advanced Band          11:00 – 12:00

Beginning Orchestra                   10:00 – 11:00

Intermediate/Advanced Orchestra     11:00 – 12:00

Download the full document HERE

Concert coming up!

posted Jan 29, 2017, 8:45 PM by Gregory Gates

An opportunity has presented itself to have a concert in February! It is late notice, so if you already have plans, please let me know so I can excuse your child. 

Place: Ken Caryl MS
Date: Thursday, February 9th

Band Concert Schedule:
Beginners arrive at 5:00
Advanced students arrivea t 5:15
Concert starts at 5:30

Orchestra Concert Schedule:
Beginners arrive at 6:30
Advanced students arrive at 6:45
Concert starts at 7:00

Black music shirt (or black shirt if you don't have one)
Black pants (or as close as you can get)
Black shoes (or as close as you can get)

Folding music stand (If you have one)

November news

posted Oct 24, 2016, 7:38 AM by Gregory Gates   [ updated Oct 24, 2016, 7:40 AM ]

Parents,                                                                                                                                   October 24, 2016

            Happy Halloween! I am writing this letter to keep you informed about things that are going on soon in band/orchestra land.

Practice cards – For every month, there is a corresponding practice card. You can print them out from the practice cards tab and your child gets music money for turning them in. They are a great way to keep track of where we should be at throughout the year so you don’t fall behind.

Playing tests – On the week of Nov 9, there will be playing tests for everyone. Here is what your child is expected to know: You have a lot of time to prepare, please don’t wait until the last minute.

Beginning Band - #27 Good King Wenceslas

Beginning Orchestra – #43 Mozart Melody

Advanced Band – Already did their test

Advanced Orchestra – #124 G major study

Concerts – Our fall concerts are just around the corner! Both band and orchestra will have a concert on the 7th of November.  If your child is in beginning or advanced band, your concert is at 5:30PM. If your child is in beginning or advanced orchestra, your concert is at 7:00PM.  Both concerts are at Columbine High School in the gym.

Band Concert schedule:

Beginners arrive at 5:00

Advanced students arrive at 5:15

5:30  – Concert


Orchestra Concert schedule:

Beginners arrive at 6:30

Advanced students arrive at 6:45

7:00 – Concert


Item checklist for concert:

__Instrument / Music

__Music stand

__Band/Orchestra t-shirt (or black shirt if you don’t have one) and black pants or skirt.


I look forward to seeing you at the concert!


Gregory A Gates

Passport prize winners!

posted Sep 1, 2016, 8:45 AM by Gregory Gates

Congratulations to these three students who win a fantastic prize for trying out all the instrument families!
Romaun Tsuber - Columbine Hills
Julia Constant    - Governor's Ranch
Katy Velazquez - Leawood
I will deliver your prize to your school next week. 

Welcome 2016-2017 Band and Orchestra!

posted Aug 18, 2016, 3:23 PM by Gregory Gates

Welcome to the Band and Orchestra program in the Columbine Area!  Your student has the opportunity to begin one of the most exciting and memorable experiences of their education so far – learning how to play a musical instrument!

The Columbine Area instrumental music program includes the five elementary schools that feed into Columbine High School: Governor’s Ranch, Leawood, Normandy, Dutch Creek, and Columbine Hills.  The classes are taught during the school day by Mr. Gates.  Both Band and Orchestra meet twice a week for half an hour.  These are a “Go-To Resource Class,” which means students will leave their regular classroom for instruction on their instruments.  This different type of instruction enhances music students’ abilities to connect different skills and subjects together, and ultimately become better students.  Additionally, students who participate in music often score higher than non-music classmates in reading, writing, and math standardized tests!

Participating in band and orchestra requires very few out-of-school commitments. We have three concerts a year. Other than that, your student just needs to practice! You can see these dates here on this website (I'll have them up by August 29th) and they will be made available at the instrument rental night in our Band and Orchestra Handbook.

We are very fortunate in the Columbine Area to have incredible support at our elementary schools for the music program.  It is not uncommon for there to be 40-60% of a class involved in band and orchestra.  We would love to have an entire class playing instruments! Every destination starts with a decision to embark on a journey, and now is the time to start your child in music and the Columbine Area Music Program is the place to do it! We can’t promise that every child will be a musical prodigy, but we can promise they will learn, laugh, and grow along the way.

Getting an Instrument:

Students will need to provide their own instruments and method books to participate in band and orchestra.  We highly suggest rent-to-own programs from local music stores above purchasing an instrument. It is especially helpful in orchestra where instrument sizes vary and your student could need a new one after only a year of playing as they grow. Cost of instruments generally range from $18/mo for small instruments (flutes, clarinets, trumpets, trombones, percussion, violins and violas) to $38/mo (cellos, saxophones) to $54/mo for large instruments (horns, tubas, bass clarinets, tenor saxophones). Some of these larger band instruments can be rented from the school, and are only available to students as they gain playing experience on other instruments in band. More information here.

Please do not let cost keep your student from participating!

Contact Mr. Gates if you are in need of some assistance with procuring an instrument, as there are a limited number of instruments that the school can rent for families who qualify. It is our goal that every student is able to participate in band and orchestra – music isn’t about money, it’s about music!

Instrument Rental Night:

We have scheduled a rental night on Wednesday August 31st from 6:00 – 8:00pm at Ken Caryl Middle School.  This evening you be able to talk with several music stores to discuss instrument rental options, meet Mr. Gates, and ask any questions you may have. The music stores will be available with instruments, books, and the other supplies that you will need to get started.  Please plan on attending and meeting with Mr. Gates!  We are excited to get started!


Instrument Rental Night – Wednesday August 30th

Ken Caryl Middle School – 6509 W Ken Caryl Ave

Time: 6:00 – 8:00 PM – This is open door: come when you can

Location: Start in the cafeteria


Please make sure you return the permission slip for the Instrument Demo Day to your classroom teacher by Friday August 26th! This is a great opportunity that you won’t want to miss – even if you’re on the fence about joining band or orchestra now, it’s better to try it than to pass on the chance to find out it’s something you LOVE!


Sincerely and Musically Yours,


Gregory Gates

End of Year Events

posted Apr 12, 2016, 11:57 AM by Gregory Gates   [ updated Apr 12, 2016, 1:41 PM ]

Hi everybody!

It's time to start marking your calendars for end of year concerts. 

May 3rd (Tuesday) - Optional Rehearsal at Columbine High School (band room)
Beginning band 4:30 - 5:15
Beginning orchestra 5:15 - 6:00
Advanced Band - 6:00 - 7:00
Advanced Orchestra - 7:00 - 8:00

This is an optional rehearsal that will give students a change to rehearse together as a large ensemble to better prepare for the concerts the following week. 

May 10th (Tuesday) - Advanced band/orchestra tour through elementary schools.
On this day, the advanced band and orchestra will tour though all 5 Columbine elementary schools and play a concert for each one. The permission slip download) is due by April 29th. Students will need to bring a sack lunch and arrange for transportation to Dutch Creek and from Leawood at the end of the school day. The schedule is below.

8:45 – 9:15 Perform at Dutch Creek

9:55 – 10:25 Perform at Governor’s Ranch

11:00 – 11:30 Perform at Normandy Elementary.

11:30 – 12:00 Large group rehearsal in Normandy Gym.

12:15 – 1:00 Lunch at Weaver Park

1:15 – 1:45 Perform at Columbine Hills.

2:15 – 2:45 Perform at Leawood Elementary.

May 11th (Wednesday) - Orchestra Concert at Ken Caryl MS
Beginning orchestra students please arrive at 6:15
Advanced orchestra students please arrive at 6:30

May 12th (Thursday) - Band Concert at Ken Caryl MS
Beginning band students please arrive at 6:15
Advanced band students please arrive at 6:30

June 2nd through 17th - Summer Music Camp at Chatfield Senior High
The Columbine area is taking a year off from doing a summer music camp. However, I would like to extend an offer to the Chatfield summer music camp. For $60, you can attend as many or few classes as you would like. They offer beginning, intermediate, and advanced band, beginning and advanced orchestra, and jazz band. Here is the flier/registration slip (download). I highly recommend this camp, it is run really well and loads of fun!

Gregory Gates

Upcoming events

posted Mar 17, 2016, 9:37 AM by Gregory Gates

Thank you everyone for such a fantastic Area Festival in March! The band and orchestra both played fantastically and I hope they enjoyed listening to the middle and high school groups. The next concert is right around the corner. 

I have been hearing from kids that they would like a chance to play with the full ensemble before the actual concert. I thought that was a great idea so I would be interested in holding an extra after school rehearsal on May 3rd in the Columbine High School band room. I will send out a letter and email as the date approaches to solidify a time. 

The advanced band/orchestra tour through elementary schools will be on May 10th. Expect a permission slip to go home this month. The orchestra concert is May 11th at 7pm in the Ken Caryl gym. The band concert is on May 12th in the Ken Caryl gym at 7pm. 

After this concert, would you please consider donating your child's band/orchestra shirt for future band families. 

Area Festivals and Practice Cards, Oh My!

posted Jan 5, 2016, 9:32 AM by Gregory Gates


I hope all of you had a fantastic winter break! Now it's time to get back to work.
I have uploaded all of the practice cards for the rest of the year onto the Practice Cards page.

Our next concert (Area festival) will be on March 9th at Columbine High School. The Orchestra concert will start at 6:00 - Students, please arrive half an hour early. The Band concert will start at 7:30. Students, please arrive half an hour early.

I would be interested in holding an extra rehearsal for everybody on Monday, March 7th. Nothing is set in stone, but please save that date.

December news

posted Nov 12, 2015, 11:34 AM by Gregory Gates

Thank you everyone for such a great concert! This round of November concerts was the best so far because of you. Here are just a couple of quick reminders.

If you are a 6th grader in beginning band or orchestra, you have the opportunity to be promoted to advanced orchestra or band if you can play the following song for me by winter break with correct notes and rhythm. Band: #47. Baja Breeze; Orchestra: #73 Buckeye Salute. 

Upcoming playing tests for the week of 12/14 are: 

Beginning Band: #40
Beginning Orchestra: #64
Advanced Band: #110
Advanced Orchestra: #139

The December practice card is half as much because you only have half a month to complete it. 

Happy holidays and happy practicing!

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