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

  • Blue Note Cafe Fundraiser!

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 1/27/2020

    Blue Note Cafe' Fundraiser!

    The Blue Note Cafe’ is our annual showcase and fundraiser featuring live jazz, a silent auction, and dessert. Proceeds benefit all band students at BSHS. 

    • Saturday, March 7
    • Big Sky’s Main Gym
    • Doors open 6:30 PM, Live Music 7:00-9:00 PM
    • Performances by the Big Sky Bands program
    • Silent Auction and Raffle with music and dessert
    • Proceeds benefit ALL band students
    • Share this event on Facebook
    • Sign up for tasks
    • Get donations

    blue note cafe

    1. Donations! We are currently seeking items for our silent auction and raffle. Monetary donations are also welcome. All donations are tax deductible and directly benefit student travel and/or the band program. Here’s a flyer to use and share.
      • Contact with donation information.
      • Get creative - use your connections--friends, family, and business.
      • Send letters and emails (template)
      • Auction/Raffle Examples:  Services (from auto to beauty), gift cards (ski rentals, portrait shoots), and items (art, crafts, etc).
      • A donation could be an item such as electronic equipment, sports equipment, household goods, a service (car repair, detailing, oil change, etc; window washing, painting, lawn work, house maintenance, cleaning services, tax preparation) a ticket to an event, a meal, a night’s stay, an art piece……..basically anything you can think of that would appeal to a raffle ticket buyers and would sell tickets.
      • Students, this is your gig. Get out there and work your magic with businesses!
    2. Sell Tickets:  100% of ticket money goes directly to your student band activity account. Sell sell sell!
      • Tickets will be available for sale at $10 each. All band students are responsible for selling six tickets ($60 profit!), but that's just the minimum. Sell more to earn more.
      • Ticket earnings and stubs must be given to Mr. Dochnahl. Deposit in band lock box along with deposit slip.
      • Unsold tickets must be returned by Monday, March 9
      • SPREAD THE WORD by selling tickets to everyone you know.
      • Here’s our Facebook Events link
    3. Student workers (required for all band/percussion students)


    With your help, this will be awesome! -Doc

    Comments (-1)
  • January 6, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 1/5/2020

    Hello Band Family,

    It's our first newsletter of the decade! Thank you for staying in touch, and please don't hesitate to contact me with questions. We're in this together! We can all achieve excellence through dedication.

    We have a few major changes to the Events Schedule. Even if we plan a year in advance, new activities get added to the busy district calendar, which I have no control over. So, like any great musician, we will be flexible and responsive to the changes. Thank you so much for working with the new dates, marking your calendars, and communicating well in advance with any questions. -Mr. Dochnahl
    Updates and Changes to Events Calendar
    Blue Note Cafe' - March 7, 2020
    Due to the unforseen scheduling of State Speech and Debate in Bozeman, we need to move our big annual fundraiser another date. We are tentatively planning on Saturday, March 7. More details to come once the date and location are confirmed. Thanks for your flexibiltiy!
    Wind Ensemble Fly-Up Day Concert January 14, 2020
    Due to a basketball game scheduled at the time of our concert, we will now involve the 8th grade guests with our pep band at the game. This incredible day features a Wind Ensemble rehearsal with about 100 guest 8th graders from Porter, Desmet, Target Range, and Hellgate Schools sitting side-by-side. Printed below is the schedule for the day.
    • 8:30 AM - Wind Ensemble meets in the band room. Help 8th grade get to their assigned seats.
    • 8:45 AM - Introductions, meet BSHS student leaders, discuss rehearsal expectations and plan
      • 9:00-9:45 Sectional with BSHS leaders in assigned areas (TBD)
      • 9:55 Full Rehearsal with 2019 Fly Up Mass Band
    • 11:00-11:45 am - Lunch together in cafeteria (Big Sky will provide pizza, cups for water)
    • 11:50 AM - Return to band room and prepare for concert
    • 12:00 PM - Informal Concert featuring Fly Up Mass Band. All are invited.
    • 6:00 PM - 8th graders are invited to play with the BSHS Pep Band at a basketball game vs Capital. We need every BSHS band member in attendance to play the game! Dinner will be provided.
    Jazz Colaboration Concert - Now January 29
    Due to changes in the administration's calendar for 8th grade visits at both Big Sky and Hellgate, the MCPS Jazz Programs has to move the annual Jazz Colaboration Concert to Wednesday, January 29, at Hellgate High School Auditorium. Again, I'm sorry for the change due to unforseen circumstances. Sometimes planning ahead is helpful... sometimes not.
    MCPS Outreach Tour - Now January 31

    Student Achievements:  All-State Jazz Band Selection

    Be sure to congratulate the following students for representing Big Sky at the 2nd Montana All-State Jazz Band in Billings, January 16-18. They were selected through an audition process to perform with Montana's best jazz students and the University of Oregon's Director of Jazz Studies, Steve Owen. Congratulations to these amazing students!

    • Grace Daniel, trombone
    • Connor Stineford, trombone
    • Jack Van Tine, alto saxophone
    • Gabe Lippy, baritone saxophone (alternate)
    Band Parent Meeting
    Parents, please consider joining us at our next Band Parent Organization meetings. Thank you in advance for going the extra mile to promote, support, and fund raise for all our band students. And if you haven't already, visit our Facebook page, and add pics to our Big Sky Band Photo Album.
    1. Thursday, January 9, 2020, 6:00 PM in the band room
    2. Thursday, January 23, 2020, 6:00 PM in the band room
    Comments (-1)
  • December 2, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 12/2/2019 2:00:00 PM

    Thank you so much for staying on top of all things band. As always, please check the Events page and Band Handbook for more program info.

    If you practice, you get better.

    If you get better, you play with better players.

    If you play with better players, you play better music.

    If you play better music, you have more fun.

    If you have fun, you want to practice more.

    If you practice more, you get better...

    Big Sky Band
    Pep Band Begins
    Pep Band season is upon us! Check out the pep band schedule for the winter season, which includes rehearsals, games, and general details about Pep Band. Our goal is to sound strong and represent the Big Sky Bands EVERY TIME we perform.  Plus, it’s more fun with you. Bottom line…..WE NEED YOU!!!
    Winter Bands Concert, December 11
    I can't wait to share our first full band program concert on Wednesday, December 11, 7:00PM, in the Big Sky Main Gym.  Call time for students is 6:30pm. Please review the concert expectations (uniform, etiquette, etc) in the Band Handbook.
    • Call time is 6:30 pm, Big Sky band room
    • Concert will take place in the main gym (while the auditorium is being renovated
    • Set up crew (students) needed for Wednesday immediately after school. Everyone needs to chip in to help.
    • Concert tear-down crew:  After celebrating with some post-concert treats, everyone needs to stick around after the show to put all equipment away
    • Double check uniform parts and pieces
      • Concert Uniform (men)
        • Black dress shoes and socks
        • Black dress pants
        • White dress shirt
        • Bowtie
        • Blue-black Jacket – provided
      • Concert Uniform (women):  Concert Dress already checked out, black dress shoes or flats
    • Practice daily!
    Holiday Mall Performances
    Each year the shoppers at Southgate Mall are delighted with the wonderful sounds of live holiday music presented by a variety of musical ensembles. Many of these ensembles are special to the Missoula community. All musicians, 6th grade and up, are invited to participate in their instrument specific ensemble. Information fliers regarding the rehearsals, performances and contact info for each ensemble are in the band room. Hope to see you at each show! All mall events take place near the old Herbergers entrance across from Red Robin.
    • All Clarinets and Saxophones, December 3, 7pm (practice 4:00-5:30pm at Sentinel's band room)
    • Holiday Horns, December 9, 6pm (no rehearsal, arrive at 5:45)
    • Festive Flutes, December 9, 7pm (no rehearsal, arrive at 6:30)
    • Tuba Christmas, December 13, 7pm (for all aspiring tuba and euphonium students, practice 4:00-5:30pm at the Mall)
    • Double Reeds Christmas (oboe & bassoon), December 16, 6:00pm
    • Missoula All-City Jazz Concert, Thursday, December 19, 7:00 PM, at the Downtown Dance Collective (FREE)


    Citrus Delivery sometime between December 9-13
    Our citrus orders will be delivered to Big Sky between December 9-13. I'll send an alert as soon as I learn the exact date from the citrus company. We need as many volunteers as possible to help unload and sort!
    Coffee Fundraiser Sales Due Dec 6
    Big Sky band is selling Hunter Bay Coffee. Sell as much as you can! Think of our next band adventure. The money you raise goes directly towards your individual student band account. Thank you!
    • Sale Ends December 6
    • ALL MONEY IS DUE at the time of the order.
    • Delivery:  before winter break – Makes a great holiday gift for anyone!
    • Make checks payable to:  Big Sky Bands
    • See order sheet for pricing and coffee bean info

    Please view and share photos of your band in action by sharing adding to our Big Sky Band Photo Album for 2019-2020. Thank you!

    You made it! I appreciate everything you do. -Mr. Dochnahl

    Comments (-1)
  • November 3, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 11/2/2019

    Introducing Ms. Lexi Vine, UM Teacher Candidate
    We are so pleased to have Ms. Vine from UM join us for the next 7 weeks at Big Sky! She will be developing her teaching chops with us by co-teaching all band and music tech classes. Her additional instruction will certainly help all of us improve as musicians and teammates. Please take a moment to read this introductory letter to students and parents.

    Hello, Big Sky band students and parents! My name is Lexi Vine, and I will be student teaching with Mr. Dochnahl for the remainder of the semester. I look forward to working with students in Jazz Band, Symphonic Band, Percussion Ensemble, Wind Ensemble, Pep Band, and Music Technology.
    I grew up in Missoula and attended Big Sky High School. As a student, I participated in Marching Band, Pep Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and Jazz Band. Music was my favorite activity, and I always looked forward to the next rehearsal.
    When not playing music, I enjoy drawing, painting, and graphics design.
    I’m eager to make music with students and help them develop an appreciation for it!

    Band Parent Organization Meeting
    Thursday, November 14, 7:00 PM in the band room (immediately after Parent/Teacher conferences)

    Tips for a successful 2nd Quarter

    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. Build myelin by practicing every day. Maintain a practice log/journal. On days you do not have band class, you are expected to practice! Playing twice per week in class simply won’t help you grow.
    3. Accrue Musicianship Points through diverse, enriching activities outside of class. 
    4. Attend class EVERY DAY. Absences and tardies have been proven over and over to have a negative impact on learning.
    5. Regularly check the Events schedule.
    6. Turn in homework (play tests, written assignments) on time. Check Google Classroom and Q weekly.
    7. Demonstrate exceptional Ensemble Skills (rehearsal etiquette) every day during class. Help everyone in our shared purpose!
    8. Listen to excellent music and musicians daily. Document your active-listening sessions for points.
    9. View and share photos of your band in action by sharing adding to our Big Sky Band Photo Album for 2019-2020. Thank you!


    'Tis the season of concerts all over Missoula. Be sure to check, and the Fine Arts calendar for all the live music available this month. Don't miss the valuable opportunities to listen and perform in our community!

    Student Achievements!

    Congratulations to Grace Daniel, trombone, for representing Montana at the 2019 Western International Band Clinic in Seattle, November 16-18. She was selected through an audition process to perform with students and master-conductors from all over the world, including Australia, England, and China.

    Ethan Haagenson, alto saxophone, was selected to perform with the 1st Annual Gonzaga Honor Band in Spokane, WA. He will perform at Gonzaga University on November 16, 7pm, at the Myrtle Woldson Performing Arts Center.

    Congratulations to this year's UM All-Star Band members:  Isaac Dosier, Savannah Holgate, Zadia Hughes, Paisley Ivanovitch, Ben Hirning, Grace Daniel, Jaden Tooke, and Maisey Manhan! The 2019 UM All-Star Band, a selective experience for high school students from across the Northwest US and Canada, performs with acclaimed composer, Brian Balmages, on November 10, 12:00 PM, in the Dennison Theater.

    And a huge congratulations to Jaden Tooke, tuba:  Jaden will join the “best of the best” for the National Association for Music Education (NAfME) 2019 All-National Honor Band November 7–10, 2019, in Orlando, Florida. Jaden was selected among the most elite high school musicians in the U.S to perform with the 2019 All-National Honor Ensembles. Learn more.
    Please help me congratulate these hard working students for going above and beyond. Be sure to ask them about their experiences so that you can follow in their footsteps next time!
    Veterans Day Performance Opportunity for Wind Ensemble
    Monday, November 11, Big Sky is invited, once again, to play at the Village Senior Residence for their annual Veterans Day Ceremony. We need Wind Ensemble members, especially flute, clarinet, bassoon, euphonium, and horn. It's a simple but powerful volunteer opportunity. Sign up with Dochnahl and pick up your music later this week. Here's the schedule for Monday, Nov 11.
    • Lunchtime, rehearsal of music (mandatory)
    • 1:30pm, depart Big Sky on bus for Village Senior Residence
    • 2:00pm, perform anthem, marches of the armed forces, and taps (trumpet solo)
    • 2:40pm, return to Big Sky via bu
    • Please dress nicely for the event. Nice collared shirts, slacks, skirts/dresses, etc.


    Sousa Clinic for Wind Ensemble
    On Tuesday, Nov 5, the Wind Ensemble has the opportunity to work with Sousa expert Keith Brion. Mr. Brion is the conductor of the New Sousa Band that performs Sousa classics in the original style of the John Philip Sousa Band. He will be the guest conductor for the Missoula Community Concert Band big show on Monday, Nov 4, 7:30pm, at the Missoula Community Theater.

    Remember:  You are part of this family. This group is special. We have high standards here. I believe all of you can reach those standards.

    Thank you everyone for helping each other through this early winter season! Better people make better bands.

    All for now,
    Mr. Dochnahl

    Comments (-1)
  • October 15, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 10/15/2019

    Hey Band Family!

    As always, please check the Events page and Band Handbook for more program info. 

    Reminders and Notes

    • Students, document your Musicianship Points through diverse, enriching activities outside of class. Turn them in, along with all practice sheets, etc, each grading period (first one is due November 1).
    • Band Parents, our next Band Parent Orgination meeting: Thursday, November 14, 2019, 7:00 PM in the band room. To learn more about the organization and how you can help, please visit their page.
    • View and share photos of your band in action by sharing adding to our Big Sky Band Photo Album for 2019-2020. Thank you!
    Citrus Fundraiser
    Big Sky music is selling the best citrus fruit available in Montana. Order forms will be handed out in class (more are available).  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, etc.
    • Sale October 14 - October 29

    • ALL MONEY IS DUE at the time of the order.

    • Delivery:  between December 9-13

    • Make checks payable to:  Big Sky Bands

    Upcoming Events

    Jazz Bands Concert -- Wednesday, October 23, 7:00 PM
    Come support and celebrate Jazz 1 and Jazz 2 students as they perform alongside jazz bands from Hellgate and Sentinel.
    • Concert is at Hellgate High School Auditorium
    • Call time is 6:15 pm, Hellgate band room
    • Concert attire (tux with white shirt, all black for ladies)
    Jazz Concert Checklist for Students
    • Uniform! Check the band handbook
    • Music with folder, accessories (extra reeds, neckstrap, valve oil, etc)
    • Drummers:  sticks, mallets, music
    • Bassists:  Instrument, patch cables, amp
    • Water bottle
    Concert featuring Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Percussion Ensemble -- Wednesday, October 30 at Big Sky
    Concert Band Season begins! All member of the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band (band advanced), and Percussion Ensemble will perform music that they've rehearsed since marching season wrapped up.
    • Call time is 6:30 pm, Big Sky band room
    • Concert will take place in the main gym (while the auditorium is being renovated)
    • Concert Uniform will be checked out to all students prior to the concert (please see band handbook for reference)
    • Set up crew (students) needed for Wednesday immediately after school. Everyone needs to chip in to help.
    • Concert tear-down crew:  After celebrating with some post-concert treats, everyone needs to stick around after the show to put all equipment away.
    Concert Checklist for Students
    • Uniform! Check the band handbook
    • 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
    • Black dress shoes with black socks, plus the official concert uniform checked out to you for the year
    • Water bottle


    Marching Uniforms Returned
    All marching band uniforms should have been checked in by now. As soon as the jackets get back from the cleaners--next week sometime--we will distribute concert uniforms to everyone. Thank you to everyone for taking great care of your important, valuable uniform.
    Comments (-1)
  • September 19, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 9/19/2019
    Hello Amazing Band Family!
    Here it comes -- the next three weeks are going to be awesome for band preparations and performances. Don't sweat it - with hard work and calm focus, we will rock this as a team. You should have already checked the Events page and Band Handbook for program info. Printed below are a few more specifics to help us all out. If you see a scheduling conflict, please contact me right away, and we will work out a positive compromise. Be proactive with your work schedules, too.
    Band Camp, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM, at Big Sky
    Required for all band/percussion students. This is our only chance as a full crew to prepare for the UM Parade and BSHS Homecoming week.
    Remember your instrument, music (memorized, right!), a pencil, black marching shoes (issued this week), warm clothes, water bottle, and a lunch. We will have several guest coaches to help us out, too. Camp Schedule.
    Pizza lunch provided at 12:00 PM.
    Marching Uniforms Checked Out to Students
    We will check out band uniforms to all students this week. All band members and families need get their newly issued uniform home on the day it is issued to them. The band room is not to be used as a storage area for uniforms--please take great care. The marching uniform will be needed on September 27 and October 5, and will be returned immediately after the parade.
    Drumline Rehearsal (for all percussionists)
    Monday night, 6:00-7:30 PM, Sept 23rd and 30th
    We will be doing this rehearsal each week through Sept 30. This is a very young group this year, and I can't wait to hear their collective growth! They've already made huge strides. The drummers are the core of our Marching Band, so it's critical we all get together before the big performances. Our Monday night rehearsals are required of all band percussionists. Thanks for making adjustments to your schedules and making this the priority for the two Monday nights.
    BSHS Homecoming Week Schedule
    • Monday, September 23, Drumline practice (required), 6:00-7:30 PM
    • Thursday, September 26, 2:00 - 3:30 PM, Dress rehearsal for our halftime field show. All band/percussion.
    • Friday, September 27, Assembly:  Band will be meet at 11:40 AM to set up. Grab your horn, music, a stand.
    • Friday, September 27, Football game and halftime performance: 
      • 5:30 pm - report to band room in full marching uniform
      • 5:40 pm - final uniform and instrument check (hats checked out)
      • 6:00 pm - warmup and final rehearsal
      • 6:30 pm - begin pregame music in the stands
      • 8:00 pm - Halftime performance on the field
      • 9:00 pm - We did it! Congratulations, and enjoy your well deserved weekend!
    Discount Tickets to the Missoula Symphony Concert
    The awesome MSO still has tickets available for their upcoming Missoula Symphony concert weekend with Julia Tai conducting (September 28th 29th).  They will offer students a Saturday, Section 4 seat or a Sunday, General Admission seat for $8! To purchase, visit their website: or call at (406)721-3194. It will be an exciting event!
    UM Homecoming Parade - Saturday, October 5
    All band/percussion members meet at BSHS in full uniform at 8:00 AM.
    Students will be bused to and from the parade route from Big Sky and are expected to use the school provided transportation. Any special travel situations need to be taken care of in advance of the parade.
    Schedule for October 5
    8:00 am - Arrive at the Big Sky band room by 8:00 am sharp with issued uniform and marching shoes.
    8:15 - Band photo at Big Sky
    8:30 - Load the bus, depart for parade route.
    9:15 - Perform in band circle (north Higgins) with UM Griz Band and other high school marching bands.
    10:00 - Rock the parade!
    11:00 - Parade ends near Bonner Park. Load bus.
    11:30 am or thereabouts - Return to Big Sky
    Band Parent Organization Meeting
    Wednesday, October 9, 6:00 PM in the band room
    Deadlines for Registration
    1. Friendly reminder that registration for the 2019-2020 All-City Jazz Program is online and ready! Deadline is Friday, September 20.
    2. All-State Jazz Band (January 17-18), Auditions due October 21 (new date) (Audition Sheet Music)
    3. Western International Band (Seattle, Nov 22-25): Audition Recordings Due Oct 12
    4. UM All Star Band, November 8-10: Interested students must self-nominate here in order to be considered. Due September 27. More info about the event.
    Thank you everyone for helping each other through this busy season!
    All for now,
    Mr. Dochnahl
    Comments (-1)
  • September 5, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 9/5/2019 8:00:00 AM

    Hello Big Sky Band Family,

    First, thank you to everyone who attended the Band Parent meeting (and pizza) on Wednesday. If you missed it, we still need you! Any little bit of help is immensely appreciated. Send this volunteer form to or send a copy to me. Thank you! -Doc

    Our next Band Parent Organization meeting will be Wednesday, October 9, 6:00 PM (band room) for ALL parents interested in getting involved. See you then.

    Upcoming Events - See our Events Page, too
    • Friday, September 13, at 5:30 pm, all band members play in the stands for the football game vs Hellgate. No uniform will be needed - simply wear all the blue/gold you have. Arrive at 5:30 pm for rehearsal and snacks in the band room. 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. You are important!
    • NEW! September 18, 8:45 AM, all band members perform for an assembly.
    • September 21, 10:00 AM - 3:00 PM (Saturday), Marching Band Camp:  All band members prepare for Homecoming gigs. Lunch provided.
    • September 27, 5:30 PM, BSHS Homecoming Football game, All Band Members, Field Show Halftime Performance
    • October 5, 8:00 AM (Saturday), UM Homecoming Parade (transportation provided), All Band Members, meet at Big Sky.
    • Thank you to everyone in advance for being flexible with the construction project at Big Sky. This impacts our concerts beginning in October. I will keep you posted should any locations and dates change.
    Drumline Rehearsals (for all percussionists)
    Monday, Wednesday, and Friday 11:15-11:45am (lunch break).
    In order to help the entire band to sound great and march effectively, the drum line needs to be polished!
    If you cannot meet at lunch, please let me know and arrange another practice/lesson time outside of class. Thank you.
    Big Sky All-State Honors Musicians for 2019
    Congratulations to the following band students for their acceptance into the 2019 All-State Honors ensembles. They were chosen for this prestigious honor through a competitive audition process held across the state. These All-State students participate in two days of rehearsals directed by nationally-recognized conductors during the MMEA Convention in Billings, October 16-18.
    • Zadia Hughes - clarinet - Orchestra
    • Gianna Migliaccio - flute - Orchestra
    • Connor Stineford - trombone - Orchestra
    • Jaden Tooke - tuba - Orchestra
    • Freya Jones - flute - Band
    • Jack Van Tine - alto sax - Band
    • Savannah Holgate - clarinet - Band
    • Grace Daniel - trombone - Band
    • Ethan Haagenson - alto sax - Band (alternate #1)
    Future Honors and Community Groups to Join
    Consider pursuing the following opportunities. Go for it!
    • Missoula Youth Symphony (yearlong): Auditions at Big Sky. Sign up in the band room for a time.

    • All-State Jazz Band Auditions:  Auditions due October 7 (Audition Sheet Music)
    • All-City Jazz:  register and learn more today!
    • Western International Band (Seattle, Nov 22-25): Audition Recordings Due Oct 12

    • UM All Star Band, November 8-10: admission through self-nominations, due September 27. More info about the event.

      • Nominations are NOW OPEN for the 2019 UM High School All-Star Wind Ensembles weekend on November 8-10, 2019. In just five years the event attracted quality participants from over 100 different high schools in ID, MT, OR, WA, WY plus Canada. This year features guest composer/conductor Brian Balmages (Maroon Wind Ensemble), myself (Silver Wind Ensemble), and the faculty of the University of Montana School of Music. Selected students will rehearse and perform in one of two 75-piece ensembles in the 1,100-seat Dennison Theatre, work with Mr. Balmages in rehearsal, perform with the Grizzly Marching Band during pregame ceremonies against Univ. of Idaho, have sectionals and master classes with UM faculty, and hear the UM Symphonic Wind Ensemble, Symphony Orchestra and Percussion Ensemble.

    Comments (-1)
  • June 3, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 6/3/2019

    Hi Big Sky Band Family,
    Congratulations to everyone, especially our seniors, for your successful final concert. I hope it was rewarding for all to share and observe so much growth and success. Thank you to everyone that could celebrate the students at the Band Banquet, too. Your time, conversation, laughter, sustained support, and delicious food are immensely appreciated.

    Please review below the schedule, item returns, final assessments, and expectations as we near the end of the school year. Let's have a productive and focused home stretch before summer.
    I can't thank you enough! -Mr. Dochnahl

    Events at a glance

    • June 3, 1:30-3:00pm - Jazz vinyl listening field trip downtown
    • June 5 - Senior project (advocacy or composition) and all band items due. We will miss you, Class of 2019!
    • June 5, 9:30-11:10am - Wind Ensemble tour of the Kettlehouse Amphitheater backstage
    • June 6 - Last Jazz 2 class (zero hour). Final Project due (ear tune)
    • June 7 - All State Audition recordings due (grade 9-11)
      • Schedule a recording session if you haven't already.
    • June 8, 11:20 am - BSHS Graduation Ceremony at Adams Center (all band members grade 9-11). Details below.
    • June 12 - Musicianship Points, Final Exam/Evaluation due
    • June 23-29 - UM Summer Band Camp
    • July 29-31 - Jazz Workshop with Rob Tapper, 9am - 12pm, at Hellgate High School
    • August 1-2, 9:00am-4:00pm - Big Sky Summer Band Camp
    • August 6-12 - Work the Band's Nacho Booth at the Western MT Fair


    Graduation Band - Saturday, June 8
    We need all Band members in attendance at this important performance. It is our largest stage (it takes a lot of sound to fill up the Adams Center) and our largest audience. It is a required and honorable event for our band program. Please dress your best (think job interview or "Sunday Best," no jeans nor shorts). Percussionists, I will select 6 for this great opportunity.

    • 11:20 AM – arrive early (parking is always an issue)
    • 11:30 AM – seating and warm-up
    • 12:00 PM – Graduation ceremony begins
    • 1:15 PM – estimated ceremony complete


    Return Your Band Stuff
    Return the following; avoid fines or unnesseccary fees! Parents, please help with follow thru.

    • Return school instrument. Complete a summer rental contract by June 7 if you’d like to play over the summer (and I expect nothing less from you). Or return school instrument at your final exam time.
    • All sheet music, books, and music folders
    • Uniform. PLEASE make sure you have all parts of your uniform, your uniform hanger and your uniform bag with you. We will then carefully check each number to make sure that our inventory is correct and you are clear to check out of school (Seniors, this should already be done).

    Grade Reminders: Final Project, Final Exam, and Musicianship Points
    Final Project (All-State audition) is due June 7. Final Exam/Evaluation and Musicianship Points are due June 12. Just as we've done all year long, turn in your signed score card, along with all assignment sheets, practice journals, etc. Visit Musicianship Points and Resources. Document your individual practice time by turning in a practice record.

    All-State Honors Band Auditions - Do the thing!
    Acceptance into the All-State Band is one every state's most prestigious accomplishment. Audition tracks are due June 7. Students already have the audition music. Practice daily--and wisely--with a solid plan for improvement (lessons, regular practice, etc). Help sessions will be every day after school. Parents, please encourage your musician to get after this opportunity. Our main objective is to achieve collective excellence so that Big Sky music improves overall AND is better represented at All-State next October in Billings.

    Nacho Booth Fundraiser, Western Montana Fair
    August 6-12, 2019 – All Band Members & Parents can work shifts to earn money for your student account, help pay for future trips, lessons, etc. Online sign-up will be emailed to you soon.

    Big Sky Summer Band Camp: August 1 and 2, 9am-4pm, at Big Sky. What better way to catch up with friends, welcome the new freshmen class, learn new music, refresh your marching steps, and hang aftwards at a BBQ?!

    Comments (-1)
  • May 5, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 5/3/2019

    Hey Band Family,
    Thank you, everyone, for the opportunity to teach and make music with you. Together we have accomplished so much this year. With only a few weeks left, let's all give our best--together--to successfully wrap up this very special year.

    Upcoming Events at a glance

    • May 8, 7:00 pm - Kaleidoscope Concert (Wind Ensemble and Jazz 1)
      • Our annual showcase for Big Sky's top musicians from choir, band, and orchestra. This year we perform music of the Beatles!
      • Band, wear a colorful top and dark bottoms for this concert
    • May 9, Seniors return entire band uniform
    • May 16, Seniors turn in Senior Story and pics (more info below)
    • May 21, 1st period - Percussion Ensemble excused for dress rehearsal with Symphonic Band.
    • May 21, 4th period - Wind Ensemble and Jazz 1 excused for Dress Rehearsal with orchestra (Snarky Puppy project)
    • May 21, 6:00 pm - Band Banquet, BSHS cafetorium - A celebration for ALL band students and families. More details below.
    • May 21, 7:30 pm - Final Band Concert (full concert uniform except for seniors)
    • May 22 - Return entire band uniform
    • May 24 - Tryouts for Wind Ensemble and Jazz 1 finished (everyone should be trying out!)
    • June 7 - All State Audition recordings due (grade 9-11)
    • June 8, 11:20 am - BSHS Graduation Ceremony at Adams Center (all band members grade 9-11)
    • June 12 - Musicianship Points and Final Project Due


    Band Banquet and Final Concert, May 21, 6:00 PM

    Our Annual Band Banquet and Final Band Concert is Tuesday, May 21, starting at 6:00 pm in the Big Sky Cafetorium. The entire Big Sky Band Family will gather to eat and celebrate an incredible year. We will hand out awards for Lettering, honors groups, District and State Festival, Pep Band, leadership, Most Valuable Performers, and more. We take time to honor our senior class who will be performing in their final concert at Big Sky High School. It's always a joyful evening of memories and music. ALL Big Sky Band members and family members should be in attendance.

    Here's how the banquet works:

    • Families with last name A-N: please bring a main dish to share (large enough to feed a hungry family), and necessary service utensils.
    • Families with last names P-S: please bring a salad, side dish, or vegetarian dish to share, with necessary service utensils.
    • Families with last names T-Z: please bring a dessert to share, with necessary service utensils.
    • As with all Potlucks - MORE IS BETTA!!
    • The Band Parent Organization will provide the plates, silverware, and drinks.
    • We need all food to be at the school by 5:45 pm so we can start the service lines promptly at 6:00 pm.
    • Seniors and their families will start the service lines; everyone else join in after.
    • We will do our awards during dessert and plan to be done in time for the concert to start at 7:30 PM.


    SENIOR PHOTO and baby pic for the concert's slide show should be emailed to ASAP. Turn in your Senior Story to Dochnahl by May 16. Parents, please help with follow-thru on this one!

    Senior Uniform Returns
    Seniors, it is time to return your band uniform items for a final time! Since District Festival and/or Washington, DC, our Seniors have used their band uniforms for the last time. Seniors, please bring your uniforms to school with you May 9 or 10 so we can get everything in and ready for your school check-out!

    Band Uniform Returns for grades 9-11
    Please bring all uniform parts and garment bag to school with you May 22 and 24 for official check-in. Remember, everything must be turned in or you will be charged fees for missing items.

    All-State Honors Band Auditions - Let's All Do This Together!
    Acceptance into the All-State Band is one every state's most prestigious accomplishment. Audition tracks are due June 7. Students already have the audition music. Practice daily--and wisely--with a solid plan for improvement (lessons, regular practice, etc). Help sessions will be every day after school. Parents, please encourage your musician to get after this opportunity. Our main objective is to achieve collective excellence so that Big Sky music improves overall AND is better represented at All-State next October in Billings.

    Graduation Band - Saturday, June 8
    We need all Band members in attendance at this important performance. It is our largest stage (it takes a lot of sound to fill up the Adams Center) and our largest audience. It is a required and honorable event for our band program. Please dress your best (think job interview or "Sunday Best," no jeans nor shorts). Percussionists, I will select 5 for this great opportunity.

    • 11:20 AM – arrive early (parking is always an issue)
    • 11:30 AM – seating and warm-up
    • 12:00 PM – Graduation ceremony begins
    • 1:15 PM – estimated ceremony complete


    Washington, DC Trip - Thank you!
    View and share your photos and videos in our shared Google Album. I will let you know as soon as I get the official photos and recordings.

    It was a absolute pleasure and an honor to take you to our nation's capitol and the Kennedy Center Concert Hall to learn alongside you. Everyone should be immensely proud of how kind, courteous, enthusiastic, open minded, self-directed, smart, safe, funny, and curious our band students were on this big trip.  I consistently heard expressions of gratitude and congratulations for the BSHS band members from our tour managers, bus drivers, rehearsal partners from Australia, dinner/dance cruise buddies from El Cerrito, DC Central Kitchen managers, Carl Wittrock, and clinicians (including Mark Camphouse). Thank you for sharing in this incredible experience.

    Please help me in extending a special thanks to our chaperones for their tireless care and support during the entire tour. We couldn't have done it without them. Thank you so much Cheri, Jodi, Sara, Seth, Tom, Tracylee.

    District Music Festival Review
    A special congratulations to each student that took the initiative to perform at District Solo and Ensemble Festival on April 6. Please give a huge high five to everyone that represented Big Sky so beautifully. We will celebrate them at the banquet. Thank you to the great work crew that helped setup and teardown.  And thanks to every family that helped with the bake sale. All of western Montana appreciates you, Big Sky, as the Festival host. By the way, it's your job to quadruple Big Sky's participation and success at Festival next year. Start planning NOW. Private lessons for the summer!

    Comments (-1)
  • March 16, 2019

    Posted by Jesse Dochnahl on 3/16/2019

    Hey Band Family!

    Big Sky has so much to celebrate from the past month! There's much more to come, so please read the following news carefully so that everyone can continue growing as musicians and people. I appreciate you!


    (UPDATE March 19)
    Beatboxing Saxophonist Derek Brown visits Big Sky, April 2, 2:00 PM
    Thanks to help from the UM Saxophone Studio, the beatboxing sensation Derek Brown (30+ million views on social media) will be giving a saxophone masterclass at Big Sky. Tuesday, April 2, 2:00 - 3:00 PM, in the band room. BE THERE! Watch Derek do his unique thing first and be amazed!
    Band Photo Album
    View and share photos of our band students in action by sharing to our Big Sky Band Photo Album. Thank you!


    Wind Ensemble's AA Festival Success
    Congratulations to the Big Sky Wind Ensemble for their powerful performances in Bozeman for the AA Band Festival. There were so many successes--too many to list here. You should be immensely proud of both concert performances. A big thanks to chaperone Joy Mogensen for taking care of us on the trip.

    Awards at the UM Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival
    Congratulations to both Big Sky Jazz Bands for their award winning performances at the UM Buddy DeFranco Jazz Festival.

    • Best Soloist Awards: Nick Mogensen, Sean Stineford
    • Best Saxophone Section Award
    • Best Trombone Section Award


    DesMet and Target Range Schools Outreach Concerts
    The Symphonic Band traveled to Target Range on March 13 and performed our festival program for the students. It was a positive substitute for the canceled UM Band Festival (snow day). Jazz 1 toured last week to DesMet and shared about 45 minutes with their school. Connecting the students with their broader community through music is one of our main objectives at Big Sky, so it's been a rewarding week.

    Upcoming Events:  Check your calendars!

    Fundraisers - Eat Out - INVITE YOUR FRIENDS & FAMILY with this flyer

      • Students go at lunch! Take a friend! Must show flyer attached, either digitally or printed.
    • MOD PIZZA, SUNDAY, APRIL 7th 10:30AM-9PM
    • CHIPOTLE, SUNDAY, MAY 12th 4-8PM
      • Tell Mom you will “cook” this Mother’s Day!

    District Music Festival, 2019

    District Music Festival is rapidly approaching! Band students that participate each year embody the drive for excellence that makes Big Sky so much better. Parents, please encourage your musician to work outside of class to truly prepare for the week of MHSA-judged performances.

    District Music Festival week at a glance

    Wednesday, April 3, 7:00 pm - Pre-District Band Concert at Big Sky

    • This is our chance to perform our District Festival music for our favorite audience - parents!
    • All Bands:  Jazz Bands, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Percussion Ensemble and small chamber groups.
    • Standard concert uniform
    • Set-Up Crew at 3:10 pm on Tuesday, April 2. We need everyone to help set up the auditorium (use sign-up link). 


    Thursday, April 4 - District Festival Large Group Performances at Big Sky

    • Symphonic Band and Wind Ensemble will perform for judges during the school day
    • Symphonic Band (with Percussion Ensemble) Performance
      • 12:15 pm - Warm up/tune/prepare/focus on stage
      • 1:00-1:45 pm - Official performance for judges on stage
    • Wind Ensemble Performance
      • 1:00 pm - Be in band room for warm-up/tuning/focus exercises
      • 1:45-2:30 pm - Official performance for judges on stage
    • All parents are welcome to join us for these performances.
    • Bring your concert uniform to school.  Change into your uniform during lunch break.
    • 2:30 pm - Tear down crew needed to return everything from Auditorium to the band room.


    Friday, April 5, 11:00 am - Set-up Crew for Solo/Ensemble District Festival at Big Sky

    • Big Sky is hosting Instrumental/Vocal Solo & Ensemble Festival on Sat, April 6.
    • We NEED 15 dedicated workers to set up about 20 rooms. Sign Up
    • We NEED 15 dedicated workers to tear down Saturday night at 5:00pm. Sign Up
    • Sign up to help at


    Saturday, April 6 - PERFORMANCES! Solos and Ensemble District Festival at Big Sky

    • Make sure you have an original for your judge. You and your accompanist can use copies.
    • Dress nicely, like you would for a job interview.
    • Introduce yourself, your school, your piece and composer, and your accompanist.
    • Good luck and thank you for performing! You ROCK!
    • Performance Schedule TBA.


    Solo and Ensemble Music Festival Guidelines and Reminders

    All students are encouraged to participate in solo and ensemble District Festival, April 6. Students should have already registered their solo and ensemble for the contest. Check the timeline and guidelines from the Band Handbook, page 12, for tips, and email me with any questions (as always).

    Washington, DC Trip Reminders

    We are planning our mandatory DC Trip PARENT/STUDENT meeting for Sunday, April 7, at 5:00 PM.  Please let me know as soon as possible if you have an unavoidable conflict with that date.  We will be distributing packing lists, final itinerary, flight group assignments, gathering final paperwork and meeting our Chaperones.
    Mandatory Rehearsals for the DC Wind Ensemble
    Sunday, April 7, 3:00 - 5:00 pm
    Sunday, April 14, 10:00 am - 12:00 pm (updated 4/1/19)
    While in DC, we will be representing Montana at the Washington DC International Band Festival.  We will take part in several concerts and workshops. Plus, we have an exciting rehearsal exchange with the North Sydney (Australia) Girls High School Band! One concert will be as a featured performer of the Commission Project piece written specifically for Big Sky Wind Ensemble, entitled Corpus Callosum by Carl Wittrock!
    We will, of course, be doing lots of DC activities as well, a service project at a soup kitchen and attending a National Symphony Orchestra concert at the Kennedy Center, plus so much more.  We have also attempted to leave blocks of open time so we can enjoy the rich history and diversity of the city in small groups. This is going to be an amazing trip!


    Comments (-1)