Blowcomotion September 2020 Newsletter

STILL  SUMMER — SEPTEMBER 2020

Welcome to the Blowcomotion Newsletter! 

Announcements and Class Updates – JOIN US!!

Well, it’s hard to believe we have not been able to practice as a band, in-person, since March.  It is the safe, right thing to do, but WE MISS YOU!! We are keeping our fingers crossed that someday soon we will be able to be playing together somewhere in Austin. 

Until then…..join us ONLINE.  Based on input from our band members, we’ve made a few changes to our online playing.  The first Tuesday of each month, the ENTIRE band is meeting via Zoom to chat and play along to our songs.  Before each song, our instructors point out a few things to help us improve our playing.  

The remaining Tuesdays of the month, we meet in our instrument sectionals.  Each of the sectionals are run a little differently.  The Low Brass sectional has been doing sight singing exercises.  If you want to work on your music reading skills, please come to the Low Brass Sectional and John will help you.  

The High Brass Sectionals meet twice a week – Tuesday and Wednesday evenings at 7 p.m.  Also Omar is discussing holding a class on music composing and arranging. 

Both the Woodwind Sectionals and the Percussion Section are still meeting on Tuesdays at 7 p.m. 

The sectionals are open to everyone – if you play the saxophone but want to come to low brass for sight singing – it’s OK.  The Zoom information for the sectional is sent out by  various Zoom hosts.  If you are interested in attending any of the sectionals, please email blowcomotion@gmail.com  and let us know which sectional you are interested in attending.  Your request will be forwarded to the appropriate host.  Look for an email about 5 minutes before the meeting is to start.

Honk!TX – How I Honk!

On August 30, Honk!TX put together a great online show   – if you haven’t seen it , you can check it out here: https://www.facebook.com/watch/?v=1007314976349501&extid=WJq0vbW7tedxJxxu).  There were a lot of amazing videos of Honk bands. One of the highlights was one of our former instructors, Lauryn Gould, who sang and played soprano, alto, tenor and baritone saxophones in her video. Another interesting submission included interviews of a number of musicians about their Honk!TX experiences. Highly Recommended.

Honk United!

Along the same lines as the online Honk!TX experience, Honk (Somerville MA) is going online on October 10 and 11.  Blowcomotion will be submitting videos of Varga Varga with Vibrass and Flashlight.  Flashlight should be fun – our members submitted videos and Thom Proctor has put it all together!   

If we can’t play together, watching Honk bands online is the next best thing.  It is fun seeing all the bands and our friends, but it really makes us long to be able to play together. Honk!TX 2021 should be lots of fun, right?

New Instruments

Thanks to everyone’s support Blowcomotion purchased more instruments for its instrument lending program. We have added a french horn, a flute and of course, another trombone.

If you find some unused band instruments in the back of your closet, please consider donating to us.

To borrow one of the Blowcomotion instruments, please email us at blowcomotion@gmail.com for instrument availability and requirements.  Because we are adding more and more instruments, we have instituted a lending policy and agreement.  

Fundraising

Our Patreon page has been really successful and we greatly appreciate those who have joined.  As we’ve mentioned before, almost all of the money we raise is used to pay our instructors (the remaining goes toward things like our website, insurance and instruments). To access our Patreon account, you can go to https://www.patreon.com/blowcomotion.  Patreon levels begin at $5 per month.

Blowcomotion is also listed as a charity on Amazon Smile.  If you use Amazon and don’t already have a designated charity, would you please consider designating Blowcomotion?  Just go to Amazon Smile, and search for Blowcomotion.  

Volunteer with Us

The group that keeps Blowcomotion moving is composed of volunteers.  We are dedicated to seeing Blowcomotion grow strong, but sometimes we can’t do it all.  We would love to have some help.  

The Board has created the following committees:  Fundraising (includes grant writing), Marketing, Community Outreach and Curriculum.  Most of these committees only have two members so if you are interested, email us blowcomotion@gmail.com

OUR INFORMATION

Reach us at blowcomotion@gmail.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/blowcomotion

On the web at www.blowcomotion.org

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Blowcomotion is a nonprofit corporation and has received a 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service.  All donations are tax-exempt. Blowcomotion greatly appreciates your financial and instrument donations.

Blowcomotion May 2020 Newsletter

SPRING–SUMMER MAY 2020

Welcome to the second Blowcomotion Newsletter! This newsletter is to keep all our band members, future band members, volunteers and supporters updated on what we have been doing and what we have planned for the future.

Announcements

Well, for a group of people who enjoy getting together to learn and play music, this time has been extremely difficult. We took social distancing very responsibly and held our last practice on March 10.  

As you may know, Honk!TX was postponed.  We can’t wait for the rescheduled date.  The Texas Community Music Festival was also postponed. The new date is the end of August and we plan on participating on August 25.

So far, none of our Blowcomotion band mates have been sick with coronavirus, but we are saddened that some of our friends and family have had the virus.  We are also saddened by the financial impact social distancing has had on our friends and family.  We hope we will be able to practice together in person at some future date. When that time comes, we’ve been practicing and we’ll be ready. We hope you will join us.

We are grateful for those who continue to make contributions to us via checks and PayPal.  And thank you to our anonymous benefactor for your generosity. 

New Teachers

Our low brass teacher, John Dinning, is taking some time off from Blowcomotion to be a new dad. We have a few people substituting for him.

Sean Harvey is our newest percussion teacher.  He started back in January and we love his instruction.

New Logo and Merchandise

We have a new logo – which is at the top of this page. And, in the future, we will be selling merchandise! T-shirts, stickers.  Email us at blowcomotion@gmail.com for updates.

New Instruments

Thanks to everyone’s support, Blowcomotion purchased more instruments for its instrument lending program. We found two cornets at the Austin ISD warehouse sale – all they needed were a little cleaning and mouthpieces. They are both ready for loaning. Recently we found a flute also ready for loaning.  

If you find some unused band instruments in the back of your closet, please consider donating to us.

To borrow one of the Blowcomotion instruments, please email us at blowcomotion@gmail.com for instrument availability and requirements.

Our January Gigs

In January, we had so much fun at the Central Texas Pig Rescue’s Pig Pageant.  The Pageant was held at Mueller and we joined our friends in Minor Mishap Marching Band in entertaining the crowds before the start of the Pageant.  

After the Pig Pageant we played at a special birthday party for our band mate and friend, David Wittie.

Our Future Gigs

August 25 – our first performance at the Texas Community Music Festival is scheduled for Central Market on N. Lamar at 7 p.m.

Fundraising

Fundraising is hard.  Right now, it is especially difficult with so many needing help to get through this economic crisis.  Our needs are small; we continue to pay our teachers for helping us learn to play our instruments – that is our only current expense.  

To help with fundraising, we’ve launched a Patreon page.  To access our Patreon account, you can go to https://www.patreon.com/blowcomotion.  For as little as $5 per month, you will be able to access our livestreams and giveaways (well, when we start playing together.)  

COME JOIN US!

Our sectionals get together online about once a week. Our teachers have also prepared helpful videos so when we return to playing as a band, we will sound awesome.  If you need contact information to join the online sectionals, email us at blowcomotion@gmail.com and we will get the sectional information to you.

SURVEY RESULTS!

In February we sent out a survey to everyone on the email list for input. “Thank You” to the 23 people who answered – we found it very helpful! 

Some interesting facts:

54% have been playing in Blowcomotion for over a year

45% have been playing in Blowcomotio for less than a year

45% are re-learners

29% are learners

16% are there for fun

87% feel the first hour sectionals are helpful

75% like the song selection as it is

79% believe the band does the right amount of gigs

NEW SONGS AND CURRICULUM

We are updating our curriculum to better serve our current and future students.

Omar Garcia is adding new songs to our repertoire.  The newest song is “Sunday Morning.”

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OUR INFORMATION

Reach us at blowcomotion@gmail.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/blowcomotion

On the web at www.blowcomotion.org

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Blowcomotion is a nonprofit corportion and has received a 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service.  All donations are tax-exempt. Blowcomotion greatly appreciates your financial and instrument donations.We are supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.

Blowcomotion February 2020 Newsletter

February 2020 — Vol 1

Welcome to the first Blowcomotion Newsletter!

This newsletter is to keep all our band members, future band members, volunteers and supporters updated on what we have been doing.

We plan on sending out a quarterly newsletter to keep all our band members, future band members, volunteers and supporters updated on what we have been doing and what we are planning.

Announcements

Thanks to everyone’s support, Blowcomotion purchased the first instrument of its instrument lending program — a sousaphone! Thank you Austin Walton for giving us a
great deal.

Special Thanks

To our financial supporters – the Cheswatyr Foundation and Minor Mishap Marching Band. We love you!

Upcoming Fundraiser

We are planning a PARTY!! We are looking at an early March date to hold a fundraiser and celebrate the launch our new Patreon community.  We will be sending invitations to all of you and hope you will come. Bring an instrument and jam with us!

Our December Gigs

We had a very busy December. Blowcomotion played at the opening of the 37th Street Lights on December 14.  We had a large and enthusiastic crowd and the Christmas lights were amazing!  We are so thrilled to have this Austin tradition back.

On December 15, we played a charity benefit for an orphanage in Africa.   

Speaking of Austin traditions, on December 20, we played at the City of Austin’s Trail of Lights.  The rain stopped long enough for our set, but as soon as we finished, there was a downpour! 

Blowcomotion had a first in January! Two gigs in one day.  We played a set for the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity on January 11.  It was a beautiful day at Mueller Amphitheater and the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity had a successful fundraiser.  That evening we played at the HonkTX! prom/fundraiser.  

On Saturday, January 25, we played at an Australia Day Benefit benefitting the Australian Red Cross.  Another successful fundraiser.

Future Gigs:

April 3 to 5 – HonkTX!! We can’t wait. We have one set Friday night at Spider House/Adams Hemphill Park, one set on Saturday at Mueller Lake, and one set Sunday at Pan Am Park.  More information to come.

April 28 – our first performance at the Texas Community Music Festival. Central Market on N. Lamar at 7 p.m.

JOIN US!

If you haven’t been to one of our performances, we would love to see you.  If you are interested in playing with us — even if you have never played an instrument — COME JOIN US!!

New Songs

Omar Garcia has been working on some new arrangements for us.  At our January 14 band practice we learned Funky Fanfare and at our January 21 practice we learned Pick Up the Pieces and Sweet Dreams Are Made of These.  Thank you Omar for keeping it challenging!

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OUR INFORMATION

Practices are held on Tuesday evenings starting at 7 p.m. with instrument sectionals.  From 8 to 9 p.m. we play together as a band.  During Winter months, we practice at the ADAPT of Texas building, 1100 S IH 35 near the intersection with Riverside Drive.  Look for the giant wheelchair on the side of the building. During Spring, Summer and Fall, we practice at Mueller, near the hanger.  

Reach us at blowcomotion@gmail.com

Facebook:  http://facebook.com/blowcomotion

On the web at www.blowcomotion.org

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Blowcomotion is a nonprofit corporation and has received a 501(c)(3) tax exemption from the Internal Revenue Service.  All donations are tax-exempt. Blowcomotion greatly appreciates your financial and instrument donations.We are supported in part by the Cultural Arts Division of the City of Austin Economic Development Department.