Mr. Olin's Page

Tri-M Inductees

posted Apr 6, 2017, 12:06 PM by Towson High Music

Nicholas Anderson

Amanda Barton

Alex Blanpied

Audrey Bowman

Nate Bowman

Jason Chen

Nathan Collahuazo

Sam Denoncourt

Katie Egan

Amaya Greenberg

Madeline Howard-Frank

Shalis  Hunt

Maverick Irwin

Sydney  Martin

Ben McLaughlin

Harrison Menkes

Jessica Mohammadi

Geoff Parsons

Kyla Perkinson

Sarah Prem

Alyssa Sabellano

Juliana Salehi

Nick Scholl

Braeden Seymour

Ian Shors

Isaiah Smith

Owen Thompson

Ben Wallace

David Wittenberg

Noah Zipin


THS Broadway Email #2

posted Mar 31, 2017, 2:25 PM by Towson High Music

Greetings Parents and Students,


Great news...our NYC Broadway trip scheduled for April 5th is SOLD OUT! Demand was high and all 100 tickets have been sold.

Attached you will find the FINAL bus seating charts. Please refrain from requesting seat changes unless it is absolutely necessary. 

A couple of reminders as we approach Wednesday, April 5th...

1. Read "THS Broadway Email #1" (a copy of the email and supporting documents are attached to this email).

2. Bring food (for the bus ride) and money (at least $50 for lunch, dinner, and shopping in NYC).

3. Bring a cell phone and charger (make sure you are getting my remind texts). Remind texts are required for trip participants. Optional for parents. 

4. Students should organize into groups of approximately 10 students for every 1 adult chaperone for our "free time" before the show. Busses will drop us at Rockefeller Center, which is about half a mile from the theater. We will have about 2 hours for sightseeing and lunch. Very important to eat lunch before the show.

6. Everyone should plan to arrive at the Imperial Theater (249 W 45th St New York, NY 10036, between 7th and 8th Avenues) no later than 1:30 pm for bathroom, finding seats, and mental preparedness for an awesome show! I am personally VERY EXCITED to see this show. Hopefully everyone has been doing some research so you are not "going in cold."

7. Dinner will be at City Kitchen (700 8th Ave, at 44th Street, New York City, NY 10036), which is right around the corner from the theater (2 minute walk).

Workshop Refund: Students who paid $126 for this trip will receive a refund for the canceled workshops. We are expecting a $25 refund per person. This will take time and I ask for your patience. End of April/early May is our goal for getting the checks mailed out. Please do not email me at this time about refunds. I will contact you after spring break with details. 

I think that's about it! Please let me know if you have questions or concerns.


Mr. Olin

THS Broadway Email #1

posted Mar 27, 2017, 12:30 PM by Towson High Music   [ updated Mar 31, 2017, 12:54 PM ]

THS Broadway Email #1

March 27, 2017


Dear Students and Parents,


You are receiving this message because you (or your son/daughter) will be attending the Towson High School NYC Broadway Trip on Wednesday, April 5, 2017. This email contains important information for trip participants and parents.


I have taken over as the trip planner and "sponsoring teacher in charge" due to the recent March 15th resignation of Mr. Weber. This will be the 6th out of state travel experience that I have coordinated with Towson High School students and I am excited to succeed once again with this group! My past trips include four biennial 5-day music performance trips to DisneyWorld in Orlando Florida (2016, 2014, 2012, 2010) and a music trip to Atlanta, GA (2007). For those who don't know me, I teach music at Towson High and I have been teaching at this school for the past 12 years.


Please note that the priority goals for this trip will be to 1) have a save and healthy trip, 2) watch the Broadway show "Natasha, Pierre & The Great Comet of 1812," and 3) have fun!


Students responsibility: read this entire email message, follow directions from teachers and adult chaperones, join the "THS Broadway" Remind and Facebook groups, understand that all BCPS rules apply in addition to specific field trip policy and procedures, demonstrate appropriate civility and audience etiquette, and ask questions if anything is unclear. These are things that I take seriously. I want to be upfront about expectations so that we can all return home safely, have an enjoyable experience, and continue to plan trips like this for the future.


Adult chaperones responsibility: read this entire email message, follow directions from myself and other Towson High teachers (Mr. Rhen, Ms. Flynn, and Ms. Fluharty) while on the trip, direct and monitor individual students and groups of students with at 10:1 ratio, join the "THS Broadway" Remind and Facebook groups, understand field trip policy and procedures, demonstrate appropriate civility and audience etiquette, and remain drug and alcohol free. 


Parents (not going on the trip) responsibility: take some time to understand the nature of what we are about to do, discuss with students the expectations and guidelines, assist with trip preparation (what to bring), ensure that students arrive on time and are picked up on time (reference itinerary below), return the attached medical form (signed by the healthcare provider) if your son/daughter will require prescription or non-prescription medication while on the trip, and be kind and supportive to all parties involved so that we may all have a great time and return with the potential for future trips of this nature to happen!


At this time, with the eminent nature of this trip, we are not going to have our typical mandatory meeting with all students and a parent. Thus, it is even more crucial that everyone read this email, understand what we are doing, and ask questions as necessary. If appropriate, please ask questions to the group through Facebook, rather than emailing me directly. If you have questions of a sensitive nature or personal medical questions, you may email me directly. You may also contact our school nurse directly (more details below in under "Medical").


Attach to this email are the "Student Expectations" and "Audience Etiquette for Students" documents. These two documents must be signed by every student and returned to me as soon as possible. You may print and put them in my mail box or take a picture and email to Please do not text these documents.



·       The originally scheduled "workshops" were released (canceled) because payment was not made by March 15th.

·       Currently we have 78 students and 10 adult chaperones participation in the trip. Ideally, we would like to sell all 100 tickets. Please encourage your friends and parents to participate in the trip.

·       The deadline for receipt of payment and permission slip is Friday, March 31st. No exceptions!

·       The cost of the trip is $126 for students and $50 for adult chaperones age 21 and older. Parents are encouraged to attend!

·       Due to the trip taking place on SAT Day, “Juniors” (those in 11th grade) may not participate in the trip because they will be at school taking the SAT. Full refunds will be mailed home for Juniors. I believe most checks were mailed out Friday, March 24th. If you do not receive a refund by March 31, please email me and I will submit the paperwork.

·       Financial Aid: theater boosters has donated $300 for student financial aid. Students who wish to request financial aid should return the attached form no later than Tuesday, March 28th at 11:59 pm. Awards will be processed Wednesday by the theater booster parent organization and decisions announced by Thursday evening. This will allow for any final payments to be made by the deadline for Friday, March 31st. Forms should be read carefully, filled out and email to theater boosters. Details are on the attached form.



·       Remind text message group (required for trip participants, optional for parent non-chaperones). To join, send a text message to the number 81010. The message of the text should be @thsbw or follow this link: 

·       Facebook Group "Towson Broadway Field Trip 2017" (optional but recommended):

·       Emails: sent as needed


Bus Seating and Travel:

·       Students and Adults will have assigned seating on the bus for attendance purposes. You will select your own seat. No one is allowed to change to another bus at any time for any reason. Students may select their bus seat beginning Tuesday on the music office bulletin board near room 253. Students who do not select a seat by Friday will have their seat selected for them. 

·       Adults get 2 seats towards the front, students get 1 seat. Two teachers and 3 adults per bus. Adult chaperones should email back if they want to request a specific bus. You can request bus 1 or bus 2. Adult chaperones will ride the same bus as their son/daughter.

·       One parent per bus will be the official bus captain. Bus captain responsibilities include taking attendance (head count is fine) prior to every departure (including rest stops). Please let me know if you would like to volunteer to be one of our bus captains.

·       3.5 hours of travel one way. Driver rest stops as needed.


Important: once we arrive in NYC, our busses will drop us in Manhattan and we won't see them again until after dinner. Make sure to bring everything that you will need for the entire day with you. Once you get off the bus, you will not be allowed back on.



Is any adult chaperone a registered nurse, nurse practitioner, doctor, or licensed medical professional? Please let me know!


Please think carefully about any medications that students may need for this trip. It is against policy for students to self-administer medication while on BCPS sponsored field trips. Adult chaperones, however, may administer medication to their own children while on the trip. If your child will need at be administered any medication (prescription or over-the-counter) the attached “BCPS Medical Form” must be returned with the actual medication in the original pharmacy bottle.. The forms can be faxed to Towson High School c/o Nurse Russo. The school fax number is 410-583-1375. Medication and completed forms should be returned directly to our school nurse this week (return by Monday, April 3rd at the absolute latest).


The important thing for parents to understand is that the medical form must be completed by a healthcare provider (prescriber specifically – MD, DO, NP, or PA), and must be completed for any prescription and/or over-the-counter medications.


Parents may email the school nurse, Ms. Russo, at with further questions.



Wednesday, April 5th

6:45 AM                     Arrive to THS Aigburth Bus Lot

7:00 AM                     Depart

11:00 AM                   NYC shopping and sightseeing and Lunch* with chaperone groups

2:00 PM                      Show (Imperial Theater, 249 W. 45th Street, between 7th and 8th Ave)

5:00 PM                      Dinner* (City Kitchen, 700 8Th Avenue)

6:30 PM                      Depart for Home

10:00 PM                    Arrive to THS Aigburth Bus Lot


*Bring money to purchase lunch and dinner in NYC.



Bring at least $50 to purchase food and souvenirs on this trip.

Breakfast: bring food for the bus ride. Lunch: purchase in NYC. Dinner: purchase in NYC. Snacks: bring snacks for the bus ride. Note: ALL BUSES ARE NUT AND PEANUT FREE! Please do not consume nuts or peanut products on the bus.


Missing school:

Students are responsible for making up missed school work. An email with trip participant’s names will be sent to the faculty on Wednesday. It will be updated with any additions on Monday, April 3rd. It is the students’ responsibility to check in with their A-Day teachers regarding missed work. Optional Tip: see your teacher and complete make up work prior to the trip.


Show information:

Some advice…get to know the show. Listen to the music, read reviews, and try to get to know the plot. Going in cold to a Broadway show can be tough. The more you know the better. Check out clips or preview scenes on YouTube. A good place to start is the official website:



What to bring:

·       Cell Phone (required for all trip participants) with charger and external battery (busses have outlets and wifi).

·       Money to purchase lunch, dinner and souvenirs (at least $50 is recommended). Bring cash and credit/debit. This is a good time to learn to use a card. Pre-paid Visa cards are a good option. Everything is more expensive in the Big Apple.

·       Comfortable walking shoes and acceptable theater patron clothes (refer to #9 form the "Broadway Show and Theatre Etiquette" attachment; generally long pants or jeans and something nicer than a t-shirt is preferred).

·       Rain gear, small travel umbrella, jacket, hat, etc. (assume it will rain at some point during the day...if you get wet you will get cold). Check the weather forecast the day before. Right now it is 60% chance for rain and a high of 60 degrees.

·       DVD movies for the bus ride rated G, PG, or PG-13 (label clearly with your name and phone number.

·       Pillow and blanket for the bus ride (it can be cold).

·       Additional personal items (including but not limited to hat, sunglasses, wallet secured in zip or snap pocket, purse with cross body strap).

·       Snacks and 2-4 water bottles for the bus ride (any drinks MUST be in re-sealable bottles).

·       Possibly a small backpack (but keep in mind that you will be carrying it all day and sitting with it at the theater). Pack light, but bring the essentials.

·       The most seasoned travelers will arrive with two separate bags. 1) Backpack or small duffel bag on the bus; 2) an additional smaller bag for their rain gear while we tour the city. Please note the use of the word small.

·       If you can think of any additional pertinent items please post on the Facebook Group.



Safety and NYC caution:

Most of the popular tourist destinations are well populated and safe. During the daytime, almost all areas of Manhattan are safe. Times Square and the Theater District is a great place to visit at night and it stays very populated all day.


Safety Tips for Travelers

·       Be aware of your surroundings.

·       On crowded streets and subways, keep your wallet in your front pocket, rather than the rear, and keep your purse closed and held in front of you or on the side (cross-body).

·       Don't flaunt jewelry, cameras, your smart phone or cash in public. Organize your wallet before you arrive.


To do list for Students:

1.     Print, sign and return two documents: "Rules and Regulations" and "Broadway Show and Theatre Etiquette" (PRINT the actual papers, PRINT your name on the papers, and SIGN your name confirming that you have READ and UNDERSTAND the documents)

2.     Turn in any outstanding money due by Friday, March 31 at 2:15 pm. I will be collecting money on this day in room 253 "Music Office." Money can be turned in earlier than Friday.


To do list for Parents:

1.     Determine if your child will need to be administered medication while on the trip. If so, please returned the attached “BCPS_MEDICAL_FORM” with the medication in the original prescription bottle. The bottle should state child’s name and prescribed dosage.

2.     Complete the financial aid form if necessary. Aid will not be awarded unless you turn in this form.


It’s going to be a great trip and a great show!! Please let me know if you have any questions or concerns.



John Olin

Towson High School

Music Teacher

The NEW NYC Broadway Trip Planner



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Wynton Marsalis Easy Jazz Solo on Bb Blues

posted May 19, 2013, 9:39 AM by Towson High Music   [ updated May 19, 2013, 9:41 AM ]

This clip demonstrates how easy it is to play an effective jazz solo using only a handful of pre-rehearsed licks (one per chorus transposed into the three blues chords I-IV-V). Begin listening at 7:30.

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