Band Newsletter

  • Check in regularly to stay up to date with our exciting year in music. Thank you!

    If you are not receiving regular email notifications regarding band news, please contact the Big Sky main office to update your contact information:  406-728-2401

  • News for January 21, 2022

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 1/21/2022

    Good morning, band!

    Please read below for information about the UM Concert Band Festival (all students except jazz band will do this), the Hawaii tour, and upcoming schedule information.

    I appreciate all of you!

    -Mr. Dochnahl

    Extra Hawaii Tour Rehearsals: This is for the Hawaii Wind Ensemble members.  Please mark these dates and take off work.  Monday Feb 7, Thursday Feb 17, and Monday March 14.  We will rehearse from 4:00-5:05 pm each day.

    Hawaii Tour Updates:  To significantly save costs, our flights are through Spokane, with a departure of 6AM on March 20. Therefore, we will need to depart on buses from Big Sky around 10PM on Saturday, March 19. We will have an updated itinerary available in the next few days. In addition, the final payment amount will be posted from the tour company shortly. Thanks for your patience and understanding as we wade through trip details and changes.

    Hawaii Traveler Information:  Please read the separate email I sent today. It has a required Google Form that asks for traveler information needed for me to register students with Safe Travels Hawaii. Thank you!

    UM Concert Band Festival: All of the bands (except jazz) will participate in this festival on Wednesday, Feb, 23.  I attached an itinerary so you can see performance times.  The main points are:

    • All students will need to meet me at school, dressed in concert attire at 8am.
    • Buses will leave Big Sky to go to UM at 8:30.
    • Buses will leave UM at 2:50pm and return to BSHS at 3:15. Students will put everything away and attend 7th period till the bell at 3:55.
    • I will need 6-8 parent chaperones.  If you are free to help, please email and I will add you to my list.


    Upcoming Events: Students, please take note so you can arrange work and be prepared.

    • Tue, Jan 25:Pep Band, call 6pm.
    • Saturday, Jan 29:  Blue Note Cafe' fundraiser show at BSHS, 6:30-9pm
    • Tuesday, Feb 1: Pep Band, call 6pm.
    • Monday, Feb 7:  ALL Hawaii TOUR FEES ARE DUE – exact amount TBA asap
    • Mon, Feb 7: Tour Rehearsal #1 for Hawaii Wind Ensemble, 4PM
    • Tuesday, Feb 8:  Pep Band, call 4:45pm. Double Header vs Sentinel.  This game will be at BSHS.  Be there for the crosstown fun!
    • Friday, Feb 11: Pep Band, call 6pm.
    • Thur, Feb 17: Tour Rehearsal #2 for Hawaii Wind Ensemble
    • Tuesday, Feb 22: Pep Band, call 6pm.
    • Friday, Feb 25: Final Pep Band game! Call, 6pm. THIS IS SENIOR RECOGNITION NIGHT.
    • Wed, Feb 23: UM Band Festival during the day.  Please look at the itinerary.
    • Wed, Feb 23: Jazz Concert with Hellgate and Sentinel, 7pm, at Sentinel HS auditorium.
    • Mon/Tue, March 7&8: AA band Festival for Wind Ensemble only. This is canceled.
    • Fri/Sat, March 11/12: State B-Ball Pep Band tourney in Billings
    • Mon, March 14: Tour Rehearsal #3 for Hawaii Wind Ensemble
    • Tue, March 15: Aloha Concert – Hawaii Wind Ensemble, Choir, and Orchestra
    • Thur/Fri, March 17-18: UM Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival
    • Spring Break, March 19-25: Hawaii Tour!!!  Let’s be incredible!
    Comments (-1)
  • News for November 18, 2021

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 11/17/2021

    Hello Band Family!

    New Date for Holiday Band Concert - Wednesday, December 15:  Our Holiday Band Concert needed to be changed to Wednesday, December 15, 7:00 PM, due to scheduling conflicts for a large number of our musician-athletes. Call-time is 6:30 PM (ready to tune and warmup). Thank you for your understanding and flexibility.

    Pep Band + Drumline Starts (grades 9-12) - View the Schedule and details for the season.  It is open to all band/percussion/jazz students. This exciting ensemble will perform popular music and play at basketball games and other events as needed. In order to play in this ensemble, you need to commit to performances and after-school rehearsals. It is our goal to sound strong, have fun, and represent EVERY TIME we perform. Learn more about Pep Band + Drumline and see the schedule.

    The UM Band Visits Big Sky
    On Friday, Nov 19, our Wind Ensemble has the opportunity to work with Dr. Smart and the UM Symphonic Wind Ensemble. As a part of their outreach tour, the UM will perform the hits by John Williams in our band room during 3rd period. As a part of the exchange, the BSHS Wine Ens will perform a new selection for UM. The event is open to all band students who aren't in the Wind Ens. Please ask for approval from your 3rd period teacher and get a pass from me before Friday.

    Citrus Delivery - Monday, December 6
    Please be ready to sort and deliver your fruit on Monday, December 6. 

    Tips for a successful Winter in Band!

    1. Sign up for Private Lessons - What could be a better gift for the holidays! WHY? Check the Band Handbook for a directory, or email me!
    2. Practice every day to build myelin. Complete your required Practice Journals on Google Classroom. You are expected to practice at least an hour each week as a member of your band. Help yourself improve by putting in the quality time!
    3. Practice solos and small ensembles outside of class weekly. These are enriching, independent activities that are super fun and rewarding. 
    4. Attend class, be on time. Absences and tardies have been proven to have a negative impact on learning for the WHOLE class, not just the individual. Plus, you lose significant daily points for an absence or tardy.
    5. Regularly check the Events schedule.
    6. Turn in homework (play tests, written assignments, practice journals), especially late assignments. Check Google Classroom and Infinite Campus weekly.
    7. Demonstrate exceptional Ensemble Skills ("appropriate knowledge, skills & techniques with your band") every day. 
    8. Listen to excellent music and musicians that play your instrument. We learn through listening, so be active and specific about your choices.
    • “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.” ―Winston S. Churchill
    • “Those who are happiest are those who do the most for others.” —Booker T. Washington

    Thank you everyone for helping each other through this early winter season!

    All for now,
    Mr. Dochnahl

    Comments (-1)
  • News for October 8, 2021

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 10/8/2021

    Hello Big Sky Band Students and Family,

    The concert season is quickly approaching! Please review the events calendar and news listed below.

    Upcoming Events - See our Events Page, too

    Band Parent Meetings:  The 2nd Monday of every month, 7PM, in the band room. Next meeting is Monday, October 11. Please visit with any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!

    Wednesday, November 3, Fall Band Concert @BSHS Auditorium:  All members of the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band (advanced), Concert Band (intermediate), Percussion Ensemble, and Jazz Band will perform. Call time is 6:30 pm, Big Sky band room. Concert Uniform will be checked out to all students in the next two weeks.

    Concert Checklist for Students

    • Concert uniform! See below and check the band handbook to remember what you need.
    • Music with folder, accessories (extra reeds, neckstrap, valve oil, etc)
    • Percussion:  all instruments, sticks, mallets, music, music stand, trap table, all ready to go
    • Patch cables and amps for guitar/bass
    • Water bottle


    Band Uniform Reminders (from the handbook):  All members of any band at Big Sky will be issued a uniform before our first concert.  These uniforms must be treated with respect and worn with pride by all band members. That means neatly hanging each piece up on its hanger and placing the uniform in its garment bag.  You must take your uniform home with you the same day it is issued and keep it in perfect condition. Failure to take care of your uniform will result in replacement/repair fees.

    Concert and Jazz Uniform (men)

    1. Tuxedo Jacket, Black Marching Shoes and Tuxedo Pants (checked out and sized by Band Parent volunteers)
    2. You will need to provide:
      • White “Wingtip” Tux Shirt – You can purchase this at any tux shop or Amazon
      • Black Socks
      • Black Bow Tie
    3. Any student is allowed to wear a tux instead of a dress. Just ask.


    Concert and Jazz Uniform (women)

    1. All Black Uniform Dress (checked out and sized by Band Parent volunteers)
    2. You will need to provide:
      • Black Stockings
      • Black Dress Shoes (you can wear your marching shoes if you choose to)


    Hawaii Trip 3rd Payment Due October 18:  Please turn in your payment slip by mail, or leave it in the band deposit box. Thank you!

    Earn Money! Citrus Fundraiser
    Big Sky music is selling the best citrus fruit available in Montana. Order forms will be handed out in class today (Friday).  Picked fresh only days before delivery, this is the BEST, Grade A citrus available in all of Montana. Sell as much as you can. The money you raise goes directly towards your individual student band account for trips, lessons, equipment, etc.
    • Sale ends October 29
    • ALL MONEY IS DUE at the time of the order.
    • Delivery:  sometime between December 6-10
    • Make checks payable to:  Big Sky Bands


    Get Your Band T-Shirt for 2021-2022! Your very own band T-shirt is ready for pickup at the band room. Everyone needs one for future performances, concert days, photos, and video recordings.

    • NOTE:  If you did not turn in your band supply fee by September 10, you'll need to turn in that fee when you pick up your shirt. Reminder:  this important supply fee helps our department pay for these shirts, sheet music, food at games, guest teacher fees, festival fees, band equipment, and so much more. If the fee is a financial burden, please email to let me know. Thank you!


    Band Photo Album for 2021-2022. Please feel free to add! Thanks.

    Comments (-1)
  • News for September 10, 2021

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 9/10/2021

    Hello Big Sky Band Students and Family,

    I wanted to let you know that the UM Homecoming Parade was canceled due to construction on the Higgins bridge. I'm dissappointed in this decision because our determined students--especially our amazing seniors--will not get to experience this energetic, rewarding community event. Please see below for updates to our band events. I appreciate all of you and your flexibility. Thank you for your commitment to the team and community!

    If you see a scheduling conflict, I need to know right away so that we can work out a positive compromise. Be proactive with your work schedules, too.

    Upcoming Events - See our Events Page, too

    • Monday, September 13, 7PM:  Band Parent Meeting. More details below.
    • Saturday, September 18, 1:00 – 7:00 PM (Saturday), Marching Band Camp AND performance:  Required for all.
      • We’ll prepare for Homecoming halftime show. Pizza dinner provided 5PM.
      • Performance for parents at 6:30pm, since we no longer have the homecoming parade to show off for you.
    • Wed, September 22, 7:00 PM, Jazz Band Concert at Hellgate High School Auditorium
      • The band will open for the Missoula Jazz Orchestra, and guest star Eric Pers of the US Army Blues, the premiere US military jazz band.
      • Call time 6:30pm in Hellgate band room. Uniform:  Tux and concert dress (will be distributed out next week).
    • Thur, September 23, 4-5:30 PM, our last Marching Band rehearsal. Required for all.
    • Friday, September 24, at 5:30pm, Homecoming Game, required for all.
      • Play for the whole football game vs Butte. Arrive at 5:30 pm for rehearsal and snacks in the band room. Game starts at 7PM. Bring a water bottle and be ready for whatever weather shows up. Our job as the band is to bring music, heart, soul, and energy to the game.
      • Note: If you are in an outside sport or activity, please join us when your practice is finished. Just let Mr. Dochnahl know and we will work around it. Uniform: Big Sky shirts, jeans, jacket
    • September 25, Saturday, UM Homecoming Parade is CANCELED.
    • Friday, October 1, at 6PM, Band in the stands, required for all. Play for the whole football game vs Hellgate!


    Drumline Rehearsals (for all percussionists):  Every Tuesday, 6-7PM. If you cannot attend a practice, please contact me. Thank you.

    BAND PARENT Meeting!! - Monday, September 13, 7:00 PM, BSHS AUDITORIUM
    There are lots of ways for you to get involved in the Band Program. We need volunteers to help with all kinds of aspects of the band program from distributing uniforms to helping with fund-raising. We will be discussing ways to get involved along with details regarding our Hawaii trip this year. Please come join us and get involved!!

    Please fill out this survey if you cannot attend on Monday.

    Please visit with any questions. We look forward to seeing you there!

    All-State Honors Musicians Selected for 2021:  Help me congratulate these incredible Big Sky students who were selected for 2021 All-State Honor groups!  They head to Great Falls in October to play with the best musicians in Montana. Big Sky is immensely proud of your huge achievements!

    • Graham Boris, All-State Honor Band-French Horn
    • Isaac Dosier, All-State Honor Band-Bassoon
    • Chris Dowd, All-State Honor Band-Bass Clarinet
    • Maisey Manhan, All-State Honor Orchestra-Percussion
    • Reagan Remmers, All-State Honor Band-Trumpet
    • Connor Stineford, All-State Honor Band-Trombone


    AND we need to celebrate all the dedicated students that prepared and recorded auditions last spring. Each and every one of you is an All-State human being in my book because you set the highest standards, did the work, and simply went for it.

    Music Honors Groups to Join:  Consider pursuing the following opportunities. Go for it!

    • Missoula Youth Symphony (yearlong): Auditions at Big Sky during homecoming week. Sign up in the band room for a time.
    • All-State Jazz Band:  Audition recordings due October 11
    • All-City Jazz: Online registration coming soon. All Jazz students should consider this amazing program!


    Uniform Check Out to Students:  We will check out our sweet band uniforms to all students as soon as all band fees are turned in and replacement items are shipped. Thanks to our growing band program, I’m in the process of ordering lots more uniforms. So be ready for that checkout day.

    Hawaii 2nd Payment was Due Sept 7:  If you haven't already, please turn in your payment slip by mail, or leave it in the band deposit box. Thank you!

    AND FINALLY, the band room is famous! BSHS starred in a new music video produced by the band Queenager over the summer. Check out the great tune, video work, roller skating, and my terrible "acting" below. Enjoy! -Mr. Dochnahl


    Comments (-1)
  • Welcome to the new Band year! Info for 2021-2022

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 8/19/2021

    “Music gives a soul to the universe, wings to the mind, flight to the imagination, and life to everything.” – Plato 

    Dear band family,

    Welcome to a new year with YOUR Big Sky High School Band Family. Congratulations on your decision to commit to something very special with over 140 students this year; a tradition of comprehensive musicianship, leadership, and excellence with the band.

    Please read through our Band Handbook on my school website for specific details on grading, uniforms, concerts, fees, and more. Earning an A in band is easy as long as you give your best effort every day, attend every rehearsal & performance, have a great attitude, and complete a handful of assignments. I hope all parents/legal guardians and students will participate in the band program with high expectations and dedication.

    Please make sure your contact information is up to date with the district. If you are not receiving emails from me or other teachers/administrators, that means your contact information is not up to date with the district OR your email account is blocking our emails. Please email Karen Sweeney at BSHS to ensure your information is up to date, if you are not receiving school emails.

    Paperwork for band class:  Hopefully this short guide can help your family stay on track with band stuff. Please see if you can get these done by Tuesday, September 7. Thank you!

    • Carefully read the Band Handbook with your student.
    • Complete the online questionnaire
    • Turn in Supply/Maintenance Fee - $50.00 (payable to Big Sky Bands)
      • This yearly fee ensures your band is funded and successful this year. It pays for music, uniforms, shoes, t-shirt, cleaning, repairs, coach expenses, and festival fees. Thank you!
    • Instrument Rental Fee - $75.00 for the year for students who need to rent.
      • Pick up an instrument on Monday, 8/23, 1:00 - 4:00 PM, OR Friday, 8/27, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM, at the BSHS band room.
    • Percussionists, read the MCPS Percussion Policy. Turn in percussion fee ($30) and get those sticks/mallets (you must provide your own sticks/mallets).
    • Parents, our next Band Parent meeting will be Monday, 9/13, 7PM, in the band room. Join us and learn how you can support our amazing musicians.
    • Please let me know what you and your student need to help make the Big Sky Bands even better.  My email is:


    *Note if you cannot afford any of the above fees, please email me and we will find a way to get them covered.

    Instrument rental/check out: If you need to use a school instrument, please meet me in the band room anytime on Monday, 8/23, 1:00 - 4:00 PM, or Friday, 8/27, 8:00 AM - 3:00 PM. If these times do not work, please email me. For those of you who do not know where the band room is, walk into the main entrance, go straight down the hallway past the main gym and all the way to a dead end. At the end of the hallway, take a left through the doors and head straight. The band room will be on your right after a few steps. The office staff will happily help, too.

    • Here is the MCPS rental form. I will have hard copies if you cannot print this at home.
    •  If you need to rent a flute, clarinet, alto, or trumpet – please consider renting these instruments from Music Medics, Morgenroth Music or purchase at a vendor of your choosing. Our school’s supply is very limited with smaller items. Thank you for your understanding.


    Safety: My number one priority is student safety in band class. A protocol to keep band students safe at all times while in class is being established by me, my music colleagues, and the administration. As of today, here’s how we will prevent the spread of Covid -19 in addition to MCPS protocols.

    1. Masks will be worn while speaking and singing in music rooms. Slitted performance masks are optional.
    2. The CDC guideline of 3 ft distancing will be followed while playing instruments and singing.  
    3. We will practice outside whenever possible. We will play our instruments no more than 45 minutes at a time in one space.
    4. We will use bell covers for wind instruments.
    5. No sharing instruments, mouthpieces, music, folders, stands, and drum sticks. The room and equipment will be cleaned every day. Students will use hand sanitizer and wiping down equipment.
    6. Each student who plays an instrument with a water valve (brass, bari sax) must bring a towel, cloth, or medium rag with them to class in a plastic bag. Students must drain their water valve onto the towel. Please clean your towel at home. Easy.


    Jazz Band Still Has Available Spots:  Go for it! All Jazz Bands will combine and meet during zero period, 8-8:50 AM, to accommodate the new schedule at BSHS. Therefore, it’s going to be bigger, better, and more powerful than ever! We still have a couple spots in the following sections, so talk to your counselor and join NOW (grades 9-12):  trumpet, trombone, piano, and bass. See you Tuesday, August 31, at 8AM!

    2020-21 Coaches:  I am excited to announce the return of our two instrumental coaches for this year! Nick Barr will return for a 3rd year as our brass, jazz, and composition coach. Lexi Vine returns for her 2nd year as our percussion/low brass coach and pep band leader. Lexi is a Big Sky alumna and recent music education graduate from UM. Nick and Lexi are amazingly versatile and skilled musician-teachers, and really darn good people, too. I’m also looking to hire a woodwind specialist in the next couple weeks, so keep your eyes/ears open for updates! We are so very lucky to have such amazing colleagues in Missoula willing to help coach our students! Please take full advantage of their expertise as much as you can:  weekly lessons, sectionals, and so much more.

    Thank you for reading. I know there is a lot of information here, so please feel free to ask questions.


    -Mr. Dochnahl

    Comments (-1)
  • News for June 11, 2021

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 6/11/2021

    Hey Band Family, 

    Thank YOU for being an important part of the band program. Our best efforts, time, conversations, laughter, sustained support, resilience, and MUSIC are exactly what the band family and school community needed... and will continue to need. I simply cannot wait for all of us--YOUR BIG SKY BAND--to take over the world next year--full steam ahead!

    Nacho Booth Fundraiser, Western Montana Fair
    August 10-15, 2021 – All Band Members & Parents can work shifts to earn easy money for your student band account, which helps pay for the Hawaii trip, lessons, music equipment, etc. Use the online signup form here. Please limit yourself to one shift per day. AND we will put together a Fair Pep Band to play every day. Keep an eye open for more details.

    Big Sky Summer Band Camp! August 2-4

    • 9:00am-2:00pm @ the Big Sky Band Room
    • All band/percussion students, grades 9-12, should plan to attend!
    • Get a head start on your musicianship, connecting with friends, and learning new music before school even starts. This is the year of the comeback! Your first day of school will be a breeze thanks to 3 fun days of playing music with your amazing Big Sky band. See you there!


    Give the Gift of Private Lessons this Summer!  This is the absolute best time to take lessons with an inspirational expert. You don't want to lose those skills and myelin! Please visit the handbook for a list of teachers, or send me an email. Don't wait - set up a regular, weekly lesson with me or a private teacher. You'll find yourself having more and more fun as you improve. Achieve new heights, build confidence, and maximize your potential.

    Band Tour to Hawaii:  Watch those deadlines so we can make this exciting trip happen for each and every Wind Ensemble member. Permission Contracts were due May 17. First payments were due May 24. Email with questions.

    BSHS Music Department Fundraising:  In addition the incredible work our Band Parent Org is planning for next year (by the way, we're now officially a non-profit!), a rad team of choir/band/orchestra student leaders are organizing fundraising opportunities just for you. Join the Remind contact list to stay in the loop and earn cash for Hawaii. (Remind link)

    Big Sky Events Schedule for 2021-2022:  Take a look at the exciting band events expected for next year (link).

    Thank you for all you do.  Keep playing!

    -Mr. Dochnahl

    Teacher-Conductor, Big Sky High School Bands


    (Band and Orchestra Seniors, Class of 2022!)

    class of 2022 musicians

    Comments (-1)
  • News for June 2, 2021

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 6/2/2021

    We're almost there! Please check and double check every detail to be sure we finish this year right. Check your grades on Q and Google Classroom for missing assignments, visit with questions. Keep up the great momentum and build on our tradition of excellence. I appreciate you! -Mr. D


    Wind Ensemble Finals:  All-State Recording Schedule -- First, thank you for investing your best efforts. I really believe each of you have the potential to be an All-State musician. Keep up the determination and daily drive! 

    All Wind Ensemble members will record All-State auditions next week (our "last" week of school), June 7-11. Schedule your recording time wit me if you haven't already. And keep practicing, helping each other, and visiting for lessons. Let me help you!

    Meetings to Support the Band

    Band Parent Organization Meeting, Monday, June 7, 5PM -- All band/percussion/jazz parents are invited to attend this meeting in the band room. Find out how you can help our band kids get more out of the program. We will plan for future events (Nacho Booth at the Fair, fundraising for Hawaii, summer camp, etc.), connections to make, and plenty of insight to gain from our graduating parents before they escape! Band room.

    General Fundraising Meeting for Music Department, Tuesday, June 8, 6PM - A few dedicated music students are planning new fundraising ideas for all band, choir, and orchestra students. Students (and parents), please consider attending to see how you can join the student-centered fundraising opportunities. Band room.

    Instrument returns/rentals: Rental fees or returns are due on Friday, June 4. (or return after you record your All-State audition)

    • Summer Rental:  For students who want to keep their instrument for the summer (which is awesome!), the rental cost for the summer is $30.  Please make checks payable to “Big Sky Bands” and I will have you fill out the attached rental form.
    • Returns:  Please make sure your case and mouthpiece are cleaned.  If you caused major damage to instrument due to neglect (dropping, adding dents, bent rods, etc), please repair the instrument prior to turning it in with your own funds (Music Medics or Morgenroth).  If an instrument has minor wear and tear, the district will pay to get the instrument repaired over the summer.
    Comments (-1)
  • News for May 7, 2021

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 5/10/2021

    Mark Your Calendars!

    Jazz 1 gig at Auberge Senior residence - Wednesday, May 12 during class. Bus leaves at 12:40pm.

    Pep Rally @ UM Griz Stadium - Friday, May 14th, 6:30PM!
    The Big Sky Wind Ensemble, drumline, and pep band members will join forces with Hellgate and Sentinel Bands for a collective throwdown of music on Friday, May 14th. We will meet at Griz Stadium and all perfom together. More details coming in a separate email ASAP.

    Women's Jazz Day - Monday, May 17:  9AM-3:30PM at Big Sky. Students already have the itinerary and music. Email with questions. Looking forward to it!

    Videos! Check out the 4/22 Wind Ensemble & Percussion Ensemble Concert:  Watch and share the videos here

    Virtual District Music Festival - Members of the Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble prepared ensembles/solos and video recorded them for feedback. Check your emails for helpful professional feedback in the next few days.

    Band Banquet and Awards Picnic - Monday, May 24, 6:00 PM, BSHS south soccer field:  Bring your family and your picnic dinner to help us all celebrate our band students and seniors! Lettering, awards, senior farewells, and more. All band, percussion, and jazz families should attend this celebration and awards event outside. (auditorium in the event of poor weather). Music provided by our awesome jazz bands.

    All-State Band Auditions Set B - Get your copy of the music NOW if you haven't already. Prepare and record your audition to be a member of the most prestigious group in the state. It’s a 2 day event in October. Being able to state that you “submitted an All-State audition in 2021” on your college applications will be almost as awesome as being able to say “I was an All-State band member in 2021”! Both of these are awesome resume builders and help set you apart from the crowd in the college application process.

    We will record All-State auditions during the first week of June. Start now, visit me for lessons, go slow and build the exercises accurately. Totally doable for you hard working people!

    Band Tour to Hawaii, March 20-25, 2022 - Letters and emails were sent with trip details, contracts, and payment information. Watch those deadlines and let's make this exciting trip happen! Permission Contracts are due Monday, May 17. Email with questions!

    I am very happy to let you know that UM is holding their Band Camps. Plus the *Brand New JAZZ CAMP this summer. Both of these will be great daytime experiences for local student musicians and the cost will be very affordable. We are excited to add the new Jazz Camp with daily masterclasses for every instrument, warm-up sessions, improv classes, small groups (combos) and big bands with UM Jazz Faculty as mentors and coaches. All to help your students develop more confidence and skills.

    June 20-22, 2021

    June 23-25, 2021

    Both Camps are available for students entering 8th Grade through entering College (2021 graduates). Limited spots available, so register soon!

    COST (lunch included)
    $250 for BOTH camps (What a deal!)
    $170 for each camp separately
    *Scholarships available!


    Split the Pot Success - We raised $760 and the winner received $380. Thanks for your support! Your dedication to the arts in school is greatly appreciated. Special thanks to Sid Kaste and Sid's Pool Care for sponsoring the minimum pot. The funds raised will go directly to support the needs of the Big Sky Bands programs. Big Sky Band Parents Rock! -Liesel & Tait Brink and Big Sky Band Parent Organization

    The Band Parent Organization Needs You

    • Band Parent Organization Officers - Please join the board! The Big Sky Band Parents is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the bands in every way so that they enjoy a successful year. This year was quiet for us, so let’s make a loud comeback for next year! We provide meals to students at band functions, refreshments at concerts, coordinate fundraisers, and crew volunteer opportunities. For more information, please contact the Board President at and/or Mr. Dochnahl. Thank you for supporting our musicians!


    Comments (-1)
  • News for April 15, 2021

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 4/15/2021

    Mark Your Calendars!

    April 22, Live Band Concert for Wind Ensemble & Percussion Ensemble:  Please review the letter sent last month regarding our unique, in-person concert on Thursday. It's also posted below in the Newsletter. Get those details dialed in and email me with any questions.

    Virtual District Music Festival - Members of the Wind Ensemble and Percussion Ensemble are preparing ensembles/solos and will begin video recording today. Double check your recording time with your group and/or accompanist. The judges will send us feedback by the end of the month. Thanks to everyone for your excellent independent preparations.

    Band Banquet and Awards Picnic - Monday, May 24, 6:00 PM, BSHS south soccer field:  Bring your family and a picnic dinner, sit outside, and help celebrate our band students and seniors! All band, percussion, and jazz families are encouraged to attend this celebration and awards event outside. (auditorium in the event of poor weather).

    NOW! - Split the Pot Fundraiser for the Band - Use this form to buy in, help the band program afford their basic needs. Minimum winning is $250! Share, share, SHARE to help our musicians. Thanks to Liesel, Tait, and the Band Parents for putting this together.

    All-State Band Auditions - prepare and record your audition to be a member of the most prestigious group in the state. This is required of all Wind Ensemble students because I believe everyone can make it with daily effort! Practice, take lessons, and represent the tradition of excellence for Missoula’s musicians. It’s only a 2 day event in October and a really big deal on your resume/college applications. Don’t you dare hesitate - just do the thing and give your daily best. Due June 4.

    Congratulations to Gabe Lippy and Connor Stineford for their acceptance into the 2021 All-State Jazz Band! Their recordings were selected among the best high school jazz musicians in the state. Thanks, gentleman, for striving for excellence and representing Big Sky so well!

    Band Tour to Hawaii, March 20-24, 2022 - Aloha and Mahalo because we deserve it. I am currently applying to bring the Wind Ensemble, with every single member, to the Pacific Basin Music Festival in Honolulu, along with the choir and orchestra. Check your email and mail in the next week for specific details and payment information.

    The Band Parent Organization Needs You


    • Band Parent Organization Officers - Please join the board! The Big Sky Band Parents is a 501(c)(3) nonprofit organization that supports the bands in every way so that they enjoy a successful year. This year was quiet for us, so let’s make a loud comeback for next year! We provide meals to students at band functions, refreshments at concerts, coordinate fundraisers, and crew volunteer opportunities. For more information, please contact the Board President at and/or Mr. Dochnahl. Thank you for supporting our musicians!
    • Nacho Booth Coordinator - We need a parent(s) to coordinate the band’s Nacho Booth fundraiser for the Western Montana Fair this summer. Contact Mr. Dochnahl to find out more about this fun and important role. And our past-coordinator will be there to help you along the way.
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  • Live Concert for April 22, 2021

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 3/26/2021

    Live Band Concert on April 22 for Wind Ensemble & Percussion Ensemble

    Dear Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble, and families,

    The Big Sky music department is seeking approval by the administration and Health Department to provide a safe, live concert experience for you on Thursday, April 22. We are planning to hold the concert in the brand new, spacious Big Sky auditorium. Therefore, each band member is allowed to have three family members attend the concert. These family members will sit together in designated seating in the auditorium.

    Everyone will need to adhere to the policies and schedule as summarized below.

    Concert Info

    • 6:30 PM - Musicians arrive - go to the band room.
      • Percussion Ens - prepare to perform on stage.
      • Wind Ens - sit in a designated pod on the auditorium floor to observe.
    • 6:30 PM - Families arrive and check in to the auditorium. Reminder: three family members per student.
    • 7:00 PM - Concert performance begins
      • Percussion Ensemble performs 
      • Quick set change, sanitizing protocol begins on stage.
      • Wind Ensemble performs
    • 8:00 PM - Concert Concludes and Attendees leave the auditorium through the east door. Air exchange and sanitizing protocol begins.
    • All performers, conductors, and audience members will be masked.
    • Audience will enter from the main entrance, North Auditorium doors (by food service) and exit on the opposite, southeast side.
    • There will be a video recording of this concert for family members to watch later. A youtube video link will be sent within a week or so after April 22.


    Reminders for the musicians:  Concert attire is your new blue band shirt and nice pants. Pick your shirt up immediately if you haven’t already. Please mark your calendar and communicate with whomever needs to know (family, work, etc).

    Attendance at this concert is required for a grade. Treat it like a fun and rewarding final exam. Concerts and performances are an extension of the band class and the learning that takes place every day. Music was created to be shared and not performed in isolation (or in the band room only). For this reason, we need to perform for an audience in order to share the wealth of learning that has taken place. This sharing helps the students to bring closure to the learning process and also propels them towards the next step. Student participation in concerts is vital to the success of all the students involved. If you have a good reason to miss the performance, please contact Mr. Dochnahl as soon as possible to receive an alternative assessment.

    I cannot wait for our musicians to share their progress and music with an actual audience. It will be a very special evening. Email with any questions or concerns.

    Thank you for all you do!  Keep playing! -Dochnahl

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