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Jo Ann Champion » Mrs. Champion's Band Classes

Mrs. Champion's Band Classes

Thank you for checking into my classroom page! I will do my best to keep up-to-date copies of important handouts, etc. available here for you.
For information and announcements concerning the Hutto MS Band program, please go to our band website,, or check our band's Facebook fan page (@huttomsband). 
Students in the Hutto Middle School Band program are truly exemplary. Our bands boast a yearly passing average of over 95% and have maintained this for the past 4 years. Band members serve as leaders in numerous campus organizations and activities, including athletics, cheer, choir, student council, theatre, NJHS, robotics, and much more. Our students are scholars, leaders, musicians, and well-rounded, service-oriented members of the Hutto community. We believe that music is a critical component of a complete education, and we utilize music as a vehicle to develop leadership, self-discipline, richer academic understanding, and community awareness. 
About Mrs. Champion:
     Jo Ann Champion is the head band director at Hutto Middle School, where she directs the Wind Ensemble and Beginning Band students in flute, oboe, French horn, and bassoon. In addition, she serves on the Hutto Middle School Olweus Committee and as Department Chair for the Electives Department. Prior to coming to Hutto Middle School, Mrs. Champion was the Head Band Director at Smithville Junior High School from 2003-2007, where she conducted the Symphonic Band, and served as Assistant Band Director in Lexington ISD from 2000-2003, where she led the LMS Concert Band and assisted with the Lexington HS Band.
    Mrs. Champion holds a Bachelor of Music degree in Music Studies - Instrumental Emphasis from the University of Texas at Austin and a Master of Music degree in Music Education with a concentration in Wind Band Conducting from Stephen F. Austin State University in Nacogdoches, Texas. She is a member of the Texas Music Educators Association, the Texas Bandmasters Association, Women Band Directors International, Tau Beta Sigma International Band Service Sorority, Mu Phi Epsilon International Music Fraternity, Pi Kappa Lambda International Music Honor Society, and is also a Life Member of the Texas Exes, where she is involved in the organization's mentoring network. 
    In her free time, Mrs. Champion enjoys reading, writing, cooking, hiking, and geocaching. She also loves to run. This is Mrs. Champion's eleventh year at Hutto Middle School and her seventeenth year overall in music education. Her husband of 14 years, Brandon, and daughter, Emily, are happy and proud to call the Hippo Nation home.
Classes Taught at HMS in 2016-2017:
  • Beginning Flute
  • Beginning French Horn
  • Beginning Oboe
  • Beginning Bassoon
  • Wind Ensemble

Recent Posts

Welcome back!

Hello, HMS Band Family!
I wanted to remind all of you that you will need your instruments in class Tuesday, January 5th. Please help to spread the word to your friends. 
Thanks, and I can't wait to get back to making music with you!

Winter Concert Information

Greetings, HMS Band Family!
The month of December is upon us, and though it seems at times like we've hardly begun, this term is almost half-completed! All of our students are hard at work to prepare for their first formal performance of the year. I am writing this email to help ensure that the information we are covering in class with regard to the performance makes it home to you.
Beginning Band students have a mandatory after school rehearsal on Monday, Dec. 7th, from 4-5:30 p.m. in the band hall at HMS. This will be our only opportunity to put all of the beginning classes together to rehearse the concert before the actual performance, so attendance is crucial. We have been reminding the kids in class daily for the past 2 weeks so that they can work on resolving transportation conflicts, etc.
The annual Winter Concert is scheduled for Tuesday, December 8th at the Hutto ISD Performing Arts Center on the Hutto High School campus. The show will start at 7:00 p.m. and is free to the public. Please feel free to bring out the family to enjoy some fantastic seasonal music. We are proud of what our students are doing and love sharing that progress!
Uniform is as follows (students have a choice):
  • Pep rally uniform (band t-shirt, blue jeans, belt of any color, socks, tennis shoes)
  • School-appropriate pajamas, or pajama pants and band t-shirt. Slippers are fine with this option.
  • Santa hats, reindeer antlers, etc. are optional, but they must not distract from the performance.
Roll call times and locations are as follows:
  • Beginning Band - 6:30 p.m. on stage in the PAC.
  • Concert & Symphonic Band - 6:30 pm in the band hall 
  • Wind Ensemble - 6:50 p.m. in the back corner of the PAC (the kids know where this is)
All band students will need to leave their cases in the band hall. Please make certain your child's case is labeled with their name. Students should also have their name on their binders/music/books/tuners. 
At the end of the evening, Wind Ensemble students will need to help stack chairs and rack music stands and take them back to the band hall. 
This performance is mandatory (counts as 3 test grades), as it fulfills several of the required content standards for the course. If your child falls ill on the day of the concert, or an emergency arises, we ask that you contact one of us immediately by email or by phone (512-759-4541, x. 8016).
Thank you for all you do to support your child's music education. We know this is one of the most important and influential activities a child can be engaged in during their adolescent years, and we are grateful for the opportunity to teach all of these students. 
Have a wonderful remainder of your week.
Mrs. C.

Fundraiser Delivery!

Fundraiser items will arrive on Thursday, November 5th. If your student sold a large number of items, he/she may need a ride home from school on Thursday. Most students will only have a small bag or box to take home with their items. Please check through items at home and let us know immediately if any items are missing or damaged so that we can get those issues resolved as quickly as possible. Thank you so much for your help on our fundraiser this year!

Announcements - Week of 10/19/2015

Hello, HMS Band Family!

We've had a busy past week, and it doesn't look to let up anytime soon. First, what a fabulous turnout of help for our drive to benefit the firefighters battling the Hidden Pines fire in Smithville and Bastrop. We donated a total of almost 200 lbs. of paper and hygeine products to support the first responders in this area! Our donation went to the Heart of the Pines VFD (between Smithville and Bastrop), which was serving as a day relief site for firemen battling the blaze. Today, I'm delighted to read the news that this fire is now 70% contained and that rain should come to the area Thursday and Friday. What a help that will be! To all who sent items up to HMS, THANK YOU! Those men and women were taken aback by the generosity our kids and families showed.

The 8th grade band kids did a fine job representing HMS at the football game on Friday night, and they even had a chance to handle the fight song on their own when we scored in the second quarter (the HS band had gone down to warm-up and prepare for halftime). We hope the kids enjoyed themselves. I often tell them that HS band is their reward for the three years of hard work they put into learning to play in middle school. In fact, Friday nights in marching band were what convinced me to become a band director!


Here's what happening in the band room:

Tuners and microphones are still on sale for Concert, Symphonic, and Wind Ensemble students who need one. We will sell tuners and microphones as a set for $28 total. Checks can be made out to “Hutto MS Band” or “HMS Band.” We also accept cash and money orders. Students in Wind Ensemble, Concert, and Symphonic Band need one of these for class (percussionists do not).


We need help in the following areas, if any of you are willing to donate some time and a bit of energy to our classroom:

  • We will need band dads with cordless drills to help assemble our new Wenger Music Stands and Stand Carts. Hooray for new music stands! Please let me know if you can help by responding to this email with your name and days/times you are available.
  • We will need parents who are willing to help on December 12th for the Jazz Band’s performance at the Hutto Christmas Fair downtown. We will likely play earlier in the day (we’ve asked for the 11:00 a.m. slot) and will need help loading and unloading equipment. We may also bring a smaller volunteer group of Concert, Symphonic, and Wind Ensemble students to play as well.
We will sell band hoodies (hooded sweatshirts) as an optional spirit item at the end of October. Hoodies will be $25 each, payable to HMS Band. We will send home detailed information as that time draws nearer, including a hoodie design.

Upcoming dates and events:

October 29th - All Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble students will present a Fall Concert at 6:30 pm in the HMS Cafeteria. This is a required (graded) event, but it will also be a short one. Students involved should wear their pep rally uniform (band t-shirt, jeans, belt, tennis shoes, and socks). We will present a 30-minute concert of the music we’ve learned so far this term.


October 31st - TMEA District Band Auditions for students in Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band who have registered (there are 12 of them). We will send home a detailed itinerary as soon as we have concrete times from the contest coordinator. The contest will be at Ridgeview MS, and parents will be able to pick up their students, if desired, when they are finished competing.

November 3rd - Pep Rally #2 performance for students in Concert Band, Symphonic Band, and Wind Ensemble. Students will need their pep rally uniform, lyre, flip folder, and all music prepared for the concert on 10/29.

November 6th - Veterans Day performance for Wind Ensemble students only. Students will need their pep rally uniform and “America the Beautiful.”

November 7th - TMEA Region Band Auditions for students who qualified to advance from the TMEA District Auditions on Oct. 31st. Auditions will be held at Henry MS in Leander ISD.
November 14th - Central Texas MS Honor Band Auditions for students in Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band who have registered (there are approximately 50 of them). We will send home a detailed itinerary as soon as we have concrete times from the contest coordinator. Auditions are at Farley MS this year, so students will be able to be dropped-off prior to the contest and picked-up when they are finished (usually about 1-1:30 pm for most instrumental sections).

As you can tell, we are going to be BUSY for the next several weeks! Parents, please help by insuring your student practices 20-30 minutes 5-6 days each week. That little commitment of time yields an enormous pay-off in rehearsal!

I hope you have a great week.

Mrs. C.

Unit Organizers

The Wind Ensemble launched their first unit today in class by completing a unit organizer. Our broad focus this year is classically-inspired music in mainstream culture. We explored the history of American music education and the history of American music as an art form, drawn from necessity of the time period. 
The first unit focuses on a broad range of music in popular style and touches on elements of Modernism. We will talk about rhythmic practices unique to American "pop" music, including syncopation, and we will also discuss innovative harmonic practices as well. 
If your child is in the Wind Ensemble course, they should have their unit organizer completed and in their band binder. Feel free to look at it, ask questions, and discuss it. We want our students to own their knowledge and utilize their academic vocabulary as much as possible.

Remind App for iPhone/Android

We will use the Remind app for sending out small and urgent reminders throughout the school year. You can also receive these messages as text messages. 
To sign-up, please text the desired class code to 81010, or subscribe on the app using the desired class code:
Hutto MS Band: @huttoband
Beginning Flutes: @hmsflutes
Beginning Oboes: @hmsoboes
Beginning Bassoons: @hmsbassoon
Beginning French Horns: @hmshorns
Wind Ensemble: @hippowinds
You can sign up for more than one class, if your interests lie in more than one (parents of several children in the program, or signing up for general band announcements AND specific class announcements).

Symphonic Band - UIL Contest Schedule

This is a copy of an email that was sent out tonight regarding UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest next month:
Good evening, Symphonic Band parents and families!
We just received the schedule for our UIL Concert and Sightreading Contest at the end of March. We did end up scheduled for Saturday, March 28th, so I'm glad we were able to send that date out so early to warn that we may indeed be asked to play on Saturday (from what I understand, we may be the only music region in Texas to do this). 
Our schedule looks like this. I'll send an email next week to confirm that these times are final, or to adjust them as needed:
7:50 a.m. Meet at HMS Band Hall in uniform (black pants, black socks, black belt, black shoes, white oxford shirt). Roll call, packing, hand out cummerbunds and bow ties.
8:20 a.m. Load buses
8:30 a.m. Depart HMS for Georgetown HS PAC. Parents, please come en masse! We need you in the audience today!
8:50 a.m. Arrive at Georgetown HS. Mrs. C. will report to the contest office to check us in while Mr. Acuff will help students unload buses. Your case stays on the bus, but your binder and instrument (extra reeds, valve oil, etc.) come with you. Kids, having those zippy pencil pouches in your band binder is a must for today. You'll need them for reeds, valve oil, tuners and mics, etc.
9:20 a.m. Warm up in orchestra room. Focus, tune, make great sounds.
9:50 a.m. Move to the auditorium. It's a long walk!
10:00 a.m. Perform beautifully. You've worked so hard for this moment - time to let it show!
10:20 a.m. Crowd erupts in mad applause. The judges call for extra tissues to dry their tears. 
10:30 a.m. Sightread in the GHS Band Hall. Play with confidence! Parents, please follow us down to this room and join us. You are welcome to watch, but cell phones, cameras, and any type of recording device are strictly prohibited in this room in order to maintain the confidentiality of the sight reading piece (some bands in Texas won't compete and read this piece until May).
11:00 a.m. Wait for results on front steps of PAC. Do not play your instrument out of turn. It takes about 15 minutes to get our ratings.
11:20 a.m. Load buses to depart. 
Parents, you will be welcome to sign your kids out and take them home in your car once we are finished, but you will need to sign them out with a director. Your child will need to make certain a responsible friend returns their cummerbund and bow tie packet for them. 
I hope this helps in planning. Changing the contest to a Friday-Saturday stretch was done to avoid conflicts with UIL for MS choirs, UIL District Track for middle schools, and to stay off of STAAR testing the following week. While this is very different from what we've done before, I am glad that our students will not miss school in order to compete (hooray for no make-up work!), and that more of our parents will have the opportunity to attend.
The contest itself is really quite something to witness. I liken it to STAAR testing for band. Our kids have been preparing a program of three pieces since we returned to school in January for this event. They will perform these works for a panel of three esteemed judges, who will evaluate their performance on everything from correct notes and rhythms to their ability to transcend the music on the page and create a meaningful, communicative and aesthetically appealing product (in tune, balance, phrasing, tone quality and color, musical sensitivity, etc.). The judging rubric is very strict, and students must be truly exemplary to earn the highest rating (I). 
After this, we compete in sightreading, where our students and I will have seven minutes in which to prepare a piece of music we have never seen before for performance. As if that weren't grueling enough, there's a catch. The students cannot make a single sound on their instruments, cannot talk, and I am under very rigid rules as to what I can say or do to help them. At the end of the seven minute period, we must perform the piece for a different panel of judges, who evaluate us by the same rubric and criteria as the stage contest. It's a terrifying and humbling experience for all of us, and so we work very hard as a team (students and directors) to be successful in this part of the contest. 
To earn a first division (Superior rating) in one part of the contest is wonderful, but to earn it in both is truly remarkable. Our band was awarded a Sweepstakes Award last year (highest rating in both parts of the contest), and we would like to repeat that feat this year. 
We would love for you to join us on March 28th, parents. Please consider making plans to attend if you are able!
Mrs. C.

Tonight's Concert

Beginners: Roll call is at 6:30 p.m. on the stage at the Hutto HS PAC. Show starts at 7:00, and admission is free.
Concert Band: Roll call is 6:30 p.m. in the Hutto HS Band Hall.
Symphonic Band: Roll call is 6:45 p.m. in the Hutto HS PAC (our usual corner).
All bands may wear either school-appropriate pajamas or the "pep-rally" uniform (band t-shirt, tucked-in, with blue jeans (full-length, no holes), socks, tennis shoes, and a belt).
All students should remain until the conclusion of the evening's performances, then help with the "breaking down" of the concert set-up (i.e. chairs and music stands). 

Attention Beginning Flutes!

Please do not forget that you have written homework tonight to create your 5 flash cards for the 5 notes we currently know. You can use either note cards or notebook paper.
1) Trace 5 lines on one side of your flash card.
2) In a different color (red, orange, yellow, green, etc.), draw your note on the staff. Don't forget any flat signs, if needed (Bb and Eb).
3) On the back side, draw the fingering and write the note's letter name.
This should take you 5 minutes or less to do. I will check these at the beginning of class tomorrow for a grade, so please don't forget to bring them. I want you to start using these daily to reinforce your note reading skills.
Email me if you have questions while you're working on this tonight. I'll have my email up and running.
Mrs. C.