Spring 2019

Volume 33, No. 2

In this issue:

  • Fifth grade year-end information
  • Middle School Band updates
  • High School Band updates
Ames 5th Bands - Spring 2019

Fifth grade band members combine for year-end concerts

As we begin to wrap up a successful year, it’s time to make arrangements for our year-end fifth grade concerts. As we have done in the past, the five elementary school bands will combine into two larger groups. The two combined bands will perform in the Ames Middle School Auditorium. Each band will have two combined rehearsals before their performance.

The combined rehearsals are vital to the success of our concert performance. Attendance at our combined rehearsals is mandatory if students want to perform in the combined concert. Please view rehearsal and concert information below, including drop-off, start, and end times. Please drop off your students at the main entrance of the middle school before the combined rehearsals and concert. Drop-off times have been set to allow band students plenty of time to assemble instruments and find their seats in the combined setup. If students are getting a ride from their elementary school, they need to be at their elementary building by 7:15am. At the first combined rehearsal a designated parent will be present in the hallway at Ames Middle School, directing students to the auditorium. After rehearsal, students will be bussed back to their respective elementary school buildings.

Students should wear nice clothes for the concert. Clothes that are appropriate for a wedding or religious service would be good for the concert. Please avoid jeans, shorts, and tennis shoes. Since we’ll be up on a stage, we suggest dress pants, long skirts or long dresses for ladies.

Fifth grade: Combined Rehearsals and Concert Schedule - Edwards, Mitchell, Sawyer

Fifth grade: Combined Rehearsals and Concert Schedule - Fellows & Meeker

Fifth grade: Final Rehearsals, matinee performances and final lesson dates for each school

We will have a matinee performance at each school in the gym as listed below. On the day of the matinee, our rehearsal will be in the gym. Students can wear normal school clothes for the matinee. The matinee is free and open to all to attend.

Students will continue to have weekly lessons until the date listed for the final lesson. We appreciate your support this year with getting students to rehearsals on time and encouraging them to practice!

Middle school students collaborate for Ensemble Festival

AMS Ensemble Festival 2019

Nearly 330 student musicians performed in the Ames Middle School Band Ensemble Festival on March 12, 2019. Students performed with their lesson groups. Each lesson group had been preparing their music since January.

Small ensembles require individual preparation as well as a high level of collaboration within the group. Each ensemble was challenged with not only performing the music accurately, but expressively. Performances were judged based on categories such as tone quality, phrasing, dynamics, and presentation.

Judges for the event were all veteran band instructors: John Gosnell and Arkay Brown of Ankeny, and Steve McCombs of Pella. In addition to verbal and written comments, judges also rated each group with a I+ (Superior), I, (Excellent), I- (Good), and II (Fair). Of the fifty-six performing ensembles, thirty-two earned I+ ratings, twenty earned I ratings, and four groups earned a I- rating. No II ratings were earned.

Special thanks to all parent volunteers and audience members; and congratulations to all our student performers!

Thank you, Mrs. Fritcher!

This May, we will say goodbye and thank you to a beloved teacher and colleague. Mrs. Deb Fritcher will retire after a twenty-nine-year band teaching career, with the last thirteen years as seventh grade band director at Ames Middle School.

After studying at the University of Iowa with legendary clarinet instructor, Himie Voxman, Mrs. Fritcher began her teaching career in the Grand Community school district. She also taught at St. Edmond Catholic School and Prairie Valley High School before joining the AMS staff. While at AMS, she earned National Board Certification in recognition of her teaching accomplishments.

Mrs. Fritcher’s devotion to her students has always shown through in her students’ performances. She has a knack for selecting high quality music literature that fits her ensembles. She also works tirelessly to bring out the best in her concert band and to get seventh graders off to a successful start in jazz band.

We will be sad to see her go, but we are grateful for the time we’ve had to work with and learn from her. She leaves a legacy of excellence. We wish her all the best in retirement. Congratulations, Mrs. Fritcher!

Middle School jazz recap

AMS Jazz Bands have wrapped up another successful year. Jazz band is an opportunity to not only learn a different style of music, but to play with instruments not in concert band, and to learn to play improvised music!

Their performance season kicked off with a jazz clinic in January. Both bands performed informally in the auditorium, then worked with AMS alum Louis Dupuis (pictured above left). Mr. Dupuis is now serving as an assistant band director at Urbandale High School. In addition to the full group session, each section of the band also worked separately with ISU jazz students.

The bands next performed on a February concert, then concluded their year with a concert on April 8.

Finishing the year for middle school band

Please mark your calendars for the final middle school band performance of the year on Tuesday, May 7 at 7pm in the middle school auditorium. The concert will feature the concert bands from 6th grade, 7th grade, and 8th grade.

Each grade will continue through the rest of the year with rehearsals and lessons. Eighth graders will work on high school marching band music, seventh grade students will work on “Canon” projects, and sixth graders will get a taste of marching band.

Really? A mattress fundraiser?

The Ames High Band hosted a one-day mattress sale on Saturday, February 9. With a showroom set up in the cafeteria, anyone could buy one of over twenty-five name brand models in all sizes, made to order, with factory warranties. Students will use referral money towards the spring 2021 band trip, with the remainder of the money being used for capital outlay (new instruments). Band director Chris Ewan said, “Going into the sale, we did not have any idea of what this fundraiser would yield, so we did not have a specific goal.” But he was pleasantly surprised. At the fundraiser's conclusion, Custom Fundraising Solutions cut a check for over $11,000 that was placed in the band’s activity account.

Professor to share his expertise with AHS Bands

Ames High Bands will host Dr. James Patrick Miller, Director of Bands at Gustavus Adolphus College, on Thursday April 18. Each band will have a ninety-minute clinic with him on their spring concert music. This is a unique opportunity for our students to learn from a highly respected teacher, and we thank the high school staff and administration for their support. Plan to attend the concert on Thursday April 25, when the bands will show the results of their work with Dr. Miller. For more about Dr. Miller click here.

AHS musicians earn selection to SCIBA Honor Bands

Eighteen AHS band students successfully auditioned for positions in the 2018-19 South Central Iowa Bandmasters Association Honor Band. Auditions were held Thursday, November 29 at Des Moines Roosevelt High School. The selected students rehearsed at Ankeny High School on Saturday, January 5, with a festival concert that evening. The guest directors for the honor band were Dr. Danny Galyen of UNI and Dr. Mark Whitlock of University of Minnesota Duluth. The following Ames High students were selected:

9-10 Band

Sophia Cordoba – Flute – 9th Chair

Ben Kim – Flute – 10th Chair

Jerry Han – Clarinet – 1st Chair

Emily Peters – Clarinet – 3rd Chair

Oscar Lenkaitis – Bassoon – 3rd Chair

Ling Bai – Horn – 2nd Chair

Kailyn Thompson – Horn – 7th Chair

Madelyn Timmermans – Trumpet – 2nd Chair

Mario Napolitano – Trombone – 1st Chair

Carter Peterson – Trombone – 4th Chair

11-12 Band

Andres Cordoba – Clarinet – 15th Chair

Jasper Shogren-Knaak - Trumpet – 7th Chair

Ryan Lin – Trombone – 2nd Chair

William Brumm – Trombone – 3rd Chair

Connor Schroeder – Euphonium – 3rd Chair

Evan Uhlmeyer - Tuba – 4th Chair

Aidan Diggins-Kennedy – Percussion – 2nd Chair

Taka Furukawa – Percussion – 6th Chair

Students work to improve their musical skills through Solo and Ensemble Contest

The Ames High School Music Department participated in the Ames Solo and Ensemble Contest on Saturday, March 9 at Ames High School. A special commendation to each student who prepared music for contest and who improved their own personal performance skills. The following students/groups received Division I (Superior) and Division II (Excellent). No Division III, IV or V ratings were earned.

Division I (Superior) Ratings

Piccolo Solo: Corinne Colburn

Flute Solo: Arunadee Fernando, Lyd Grawe, Ben Kim, Caleb Kong

Bb Clarinet Solo: Carl Balvanz , Moriah Conner, Andres Cordoba, Kayley Helmer, Kai Johnson, Lillian Montabon, Sofiya Palasyuk, Sarah Song, Jacob Xing

Bass Clarinet Solo: Carl Balvanz

Alto Sax Solo: Daniel Yakobson

Bari Sax Solo: Zac Mueterthies

Trumpet Solo: Arthur Lubberstedt, Loretta Ostermeier, Jasper Shogren-Knaack, Avery Suza, Madelyn Timmermans, Emma Todey

Horn Solo: Isabelle Anderson, Ling Bai, Anna Cullinan, Kailyn Thompson

Trombone Solo: William Brumm, Alex Buttermore, Adam Eichhorn, Ryan Lin, Mario Napolitano, Alex Read

Tuba Solo: Nitzan Friedberg, Peter Jaynes, Evan Uhlmeyer

Marimba Solo: Rachel Bennett, Ezekiel DeBoest, Quinn Harbison, Dominik McDonald

Snare Solo: Ava Chopskie, Carter White

Tenor Solo: Ella Chopskie, Taka Furukawa, Nick Sulzberger

Clarinet Duet: Lillian Montabon & Moriah Conner

Tuba Duet: Peter Jaynes & Nitzan Friedberg

Flute/Tuba Duet: Caleb Kong & Nitzan Friedberg

Clarinet/Violin Duet: Lillian Montabon & Kira Davis

Tenor Duet: Nick Grandgenett & Ella Chopskie

Snare Duet: Ava Chopskie and Elizabeth Orth

Flute Trio: Kylie Edwardson, Payton Gallt, Mackenzie Grim

Trombone Quartet: William Brumm, Adam Eichhorn, Ryan Lin, Madeline Taylor

Percussion Quartet: Eric Paskach, Dominik McDonald, Aidan Diggins-Kennedy, Nick Sulzberger

Division II (Excellent) Ratings

Flute Solo: Corinne Colburn, Sarah Rundall, Alanna Schroeder

Clarinet Solo: Andrew Sullivan

Baritone Solo: Daniel Brumm, Connor Schroeder

Snare Solo: Emma Dorhout

Pep Band Cheers on AHS and ISU teams

The 2018-2019 AHS Pep Band had a full schedule with appearances at several home basketball games, an ISU women’s basketball game and the Boys State Tournament. A wide variety of up-tempo, spirited music makes this a popular organization at Ames High. Thanks to the students for their efforts!

2018-2019 Pep Band personnel:


Corinne Colburn

Lydia Grawe

Johanna Krier

Paige McKenna

Sarah Rundall


Moriah Conner

Alasandra Drake

Helen Hu

Aubree Litster

Lillian Montabon

Sofiya Palasyuk

Kaysia Santiago

Callie Server

Kira Simmons

Pearry Thim


Oliver Chen

Laura Kerton

Evan Lewis

Lydia Linch

Zachary Mueterthies

Owen Riker


Andrew Debner

Steven Frana

Kartsen Holm

Arthur Lubberstedt

Tate Meinhard

Ian Nelson

Joel Neppel

Loretta Ostermeier

Andrew Sailer

Drew Schinedel

Avery Suza

Sam Taylor

Emma Todey

Taylor Xu


Kira Davis

Owen Murphy

Preksha Sarda

Jonathan Watt


Rob Arbuckle

Katie Barnes

William Brumm

Alex Buttermore

Adam Eichhorn

Andrew Kovar

Hana Lee

Ryan Lin

Avery Mosher

Mario Napolitano

Madeline Taylor


Daniel Brumm

Zach Grewell

Connor Schroeder


Rowan Daniel

Nitzan Friedberg

Peter Jaynes

Evan Uhlmeyer


Taka Furukawa

Nicholas Grandgenett

Carter White


Ella Chopskie

Outstanding Winter Season for AHS Jazz Bands

The jazz bands at AHS have had a successful schedule this winter competing in several festivals. Jazz I placed 9th in their class and Jazz II placed 2nd in their class in December at the South Central Iowa Bandmasters Association Jazz Festival. Both bands also participated in the Urbandale Jazz Colloquium in early February. These festivals provide students an opportunity to receive verbal critiques by professional jazz educators, to participate in clinics following their performance, and to hear bands from other schools. Locally, both bands performed several times in Ames, including at our home jazz concert "Jazz Encounters" in February. Sawyer and Meeker elementary schools had the opportunity to hear Jazz II. Spring Jazz Band has also now formed and will perform at the Spring Concert on April 25.

AHS Jazz 2018-2019

Jazz I

Alto Saxophone: Lydia Linch *, Cassidy Peterson *

Tenor Saxophone: Evan Lewis *, Laura Kerton

Bari Saxophone: Zac Mueterthies *

Trumpet: Arthur Lubberstedt *, Andrew Sailer * Emma Todey *, Sam Taylor

Trombone: Adam Eichhorn *, Ryan Lin, William Brumm *, Madeline Taylor

Guitar: Evan Uhlmeyer *

Piano: Aubree Litster *

Bass: Brennan Seymour

Drums: Dominick McDonald *

*Spring Jazz Band Member

Jazz II

Alto Saxophone: Daniel Yakobson, Ethan Schneider, Hailey Sibbel

Tenor Saxophone: Sofiya Palasyuk *, Sarah Rundall, Owen Riker

Bari Saxophone: Erik Nelson

Trumpet: Avery Suza *, Luke Grandgenett, Andrew Debner, Karsten Holm

Trombone: Mario Napolitano *, Rob Arbuckle, Avery Mosher, Alex Buttermore *

Guitar: Ava Chopskie

Piano: McKenzie Flemming

Bass: Ella Chopskie *

Drums: Carter White

Dallas Brass performs at AHS

Dallas Brass at AHS

The AHS band hosted the Dallas Brass for a concert on Tuesday, February 12. As a part of the program, The Dallas Brass performed with the Freshman Band and the Wind Symphony. In addition, the group presented a clinic to all the high school band students during the school day. Since its founding in 1983 by Michael Levine, the Dallas Brass has become one of America’s foremost musical ensembles. The group has a unique blend of traditional brass instruments with a full complement of drums and percussion, which creates a performing entity of extraordinary range and musical challenges. The Dallas Brass repertoire includes classical masterpieces, Dixieland, swing, Broadway, Hollywood and patriotic music. According to Mr. Levine, "a Dallas Brass concert is intended for the entire family. Our ideal audience has a range in ages from 5 to 95. Our goal is to entertain and enrich by playing great music, while showing our audience how much we enjoy what we do."

Students, continue your musical growth this summer!

Click here for a list of summer music camp opportunities.


All incoming 9th-12th grade students are required to attend the marching band workshop to learn and review the fundamentals of marching band. It is scheduled for August 15-16, 19-21.

August 15-16, 19-21 | TIMES TBA – due to field availability |

AHS Band Room | Grades 9-12

AHS Band Calendar

For the full calendar, click here.

Ames Band Staff

Andrew Buttermore, Ames High School

Chris Ewan, Ames High School

Ron Ferneau, Ames Middle School, 8th grade

Deb Fritcher, Ames Middle School, 7th grade

Tascha Hauber, Ames Elementary

Paul Tallman, Ames Elementary

Peter Thompson, 6th grade and Ames High School