Western High School Bands

  • Good morning, all!   Mrs. Prater and I are excited to see everyone next week to kick off the 2019-2020 Western High School marching band! 

    Here are three new sections of information for everyone, followed by the original email sent before school ended, so that it’s all in one place. 


    1. We still need a few parent volunteers to assist with lunches. Please click here to volunteer:



    1. We provide main courses from the band deposits for five lunches, but we also ask each student to bring one item to help round out their lunch choices.   It’s only needed once, unless we email later in the week if we’re running low on anything.   


    What to bring to band camp to cafeteria on Monday morning, July 22nd, to help with meals 

    (divided by section)*


    Flutes/Trumpets:                                 a large bag of chips, any kind (potato,Doritos, etc.)

    Clarinets:                                         2 package of cookies, or 4 dozen, if homemade

    Percussion/Color Guard:                      Case of water.16 oz bottles, buy the store brand, *nothing expensive*.


    Saxophones/Mellophones:                 Fruit (a couple bags of grapes, apples) or veggies

    Trombones/Baritones/Tubas:          case of water.16 oz bottles, buy the store brand, *nothing expensive*.


    1. The drumline has been having themed days for band camp for years.  Amber Griswold (brass), and 

    Mia Cunningham and Faith Christoff (woodwinds), came up with themes for your sections,too! Color Guard will decide theirs as well (Hanna and Ayla?).  Please dress appropriately for the weather, but do your best to dress in the theme provided for your section for daily spirit tallies and pictures:

    Themes for band camp days


    Woodwinds---Grandparents day (dress old)

    Brass---Disney/disney bounding day



    Woodwinds--Tourist day 

    Brass---Beach day



    Woodwinds---Duo or Twins day

    Brass----Crop top day



    Woodwinds---Meme/TikTok day or character day

    Brass---Christmas in July



    Woodwinds---Western bands day

    Brass---Western bands day

    Thanks, all!  Below is the original email.  

    Dear Western High School Band Student and Parents:


    Greetings!  Hope you all have a great summer!  Here’s the scoop on band camp.


    We hold marching band camp in the last full week of July due to make sure students who are in the County Fair or on any sports teams are able to participate.  We also hold the camp at the school to accommodate the driver’s education session (who report at 11 a.m.) and to those with football events. To those not involved in these events, we like to look at it as having two summer vacations…one “before Band week” and one “after Band week”, with a little Monday night touch-up (5:30-8:00 p.m. on August 5, 12, and 19 before school starts, and Mondays through the Fall except Labor Day)!  These rehearsals add up to nearly 11 weeks of school, and our first performance is the first week of school, so it is important that we have you/your student there to learn and be prepared with pregame, halftime, and stand cheers.


    Also important to note: band camp is required for two years to earn Phys Ed credit.


    The 2019 Band Week will be held from Monday, July 22nd through Friday, July 26th . The rehearsals run from 8:30 a.m. until 5:00 p.m. from Monday through Friday, with a closing "for the fans" performance on Friday evening at 5:00 p.m. 


    If you need to have your student dropped off earlier than 8:15 a.m., just let us know so we can have a place for them to be in the building.


    Our theme is Escapades: By Land, Air and Sea! The selections are “Raiders of the Lost Ark”, “Africa”, “Danger Zone”, and “Pirates of the Caribbean”.



    The marching show we prepare includes everyone signed up for marching band,including varsity football players, as it is one we perform at the annual Vandercook Lake Marching Invitational in late September. 


    The staff will include Mr. Bickel and Mrs. Prater (directors), Mr. Bill Cryderman (brass, marching instructor), Kevin Krieger (woodwinds),  Katti Chivington (color guard instructor), WHS science teacher Ruth Bocka (marching and music), Jack Tallman and Pete Alderman (drumline instructors).  A few more graduates (Brian Collins, Parker Vancalbergh) will be helping out, as well!


    We provide students with a lunch every day, and they are dismissed before dinner.





    1. INSTRUMENT, LYRE, AND FLIP FOLDER WITH MUSIC HANDED OUT IN CLASS (9th Graders paid for flip folders---other students need to find theirs or buy one at Playford Music before the week of band camp).
















    Thanks, everyone!  Please email your questions.



    Paul Bickel and Christina Prater

    Western High School Marching Band


    Comments (-1)
  • Western Drumline 2019-20
    **Section Leader
    *Assistant Section Leader
    Bass (drum in parentheses)
    Zippy Memon (1)
    Alyssa Ladd** (2)
    Aiden Rogers (3)
    Logan Neill (4)
    Noah Sheppard (5)
    Abby Bolenbaugh** (6)
    Ash Groshong
    Ashlyn Hoffman
    Mackenzie Lester**
    Clara Lupo
    Teagan Robertson
    Stella Sponsler
    Lily Alderman
    Owen Fremeau
    Micah Hall
    Hezekiah Lewis***
    Hannah Lowden*
    Rylie Bruton***
    Evie Buckland
    Garrie Stiles
    Pit Percussion
    Will Kilmer
    Spencer Pardee
    Comments (-1)
  • Band Event Calendar 2019-20 and Confirmation Form---click on link below (identical to what was handed out to all students in high school band next year in class). Please print and return page one, signed by student and parent. Please keep page two, so that you have the events to add to your calendars.

    2019-20 WHS Bands Event Calendar and Confirmation Form

    Comments (-1)
  • Upcoming Western High School Bands events


    Sunday, May 19th---Spring Extra-va-BANDS-a Concert, 2:00 p.m.


    **NOTE: The 2019 Spring Arbor Memorial Day Parade has been cancelled due to construction


    Friday, May 24th--Commencement, Symphonic Band performs, 7:00 p.m.


    Monday through Friday, July 22nd-26th---Band Camp at Western, 9:00 a.m.-5:00 p.m. daily


    Mondays after that unless otherwise notified---Marching Band practices, 5:30-8 p.m.

    Comments (-1)
  • The following students qualified as soloists or in groups to perform at the STATE Solo/Ensemble Festival in February (to compare to sports, think of them having had an in-school parade last Friday).  They did so by earning a blue medal, first division rating at the District Solo/Ensemble, and then signing up for this top level evaluation.


    They performed at Okemos High School on Saturday, March 16th.


    Here are the students and their results:


    Mary Long and Shane Gollakner performed a clarinet duet. They earned a first division (blue medal) rating at the State level, with four "A"s and one "A-"s for an overall "A".  


    Emily Buratovich, McKenna Jones, Shane Gollakner, Aaron Miller, and Mary Long performed as a woodwind quintet. They earned a first division (blue medal) rating at the State level, with four "A"s and one "A-"s for an overall "A".  

    Garrett Hovanec performed his 10th Grade Trombone solo, earned a first division (blue medal) rating on State Proficiency 3 (highest level), with 25/25 on his scales exam, 23/25 on his sight-reading exam, and 43/50 on his solo, earning him 91/100. This is one of the higher trombone Proficiency 2 scores Western has ever had.


    Alyssa Ladd performed her 11th Grade clarinet solo, earned another first division rating,  with 24/25 on her scales exam, 24/25 on her sight-reading exam, and 43/50 on her solo, earning her 92/100.


    Congratulations to these WHS students on earning 9 medals at the MSBOA State Solo/Ensemble Festival!

    Comments (-1)
  • The Western School District hosted an MSBOA District 8 Band Festival site. 21 bands attended and performed in the auditorium from Friday, March 8th through Saturday, March 9th. 
    The band festival format is having a group perform three prepared pieces (a march, a piece from a required list, and a selected piece). The level of difficulty increases based on the age of the group members. 
    Three judges listen and score the bands on their three selections over five categories: tone, intonation (playing in tune), rhythm, technique, and interpretation (dynamics, phrasing, balance).  Their scores are then averaged for a concert rating.
    The second part of the festival is a sight-reading examination.  The band and director, based on their classification, are given five minutes to look over a new piece of music, and perform it for a fourth judge.  This score is averaged with the concert rating, with a "I" being the highest to a "V" being the lowest.
    The Western Middle School 7th Grade Band (68 members) (earned one "II" and two "I's in concert performance and a "I" in sight-reading for an overall "I".
    The Western Middle School 8th Grade Band  (57 members) earned straight "I's in concert performance and a "I" in sight-reading for an overall "I".

    Mrs. Christina Prater conducted the Western Middle School 7th Grade Band and Western Middle School 8th Grade Band. 
    The Western High School Concert Band (104 underclassmen) earned one "II" and two "I's in concert performance and a "I" in sight-reading for an overall "I".
    The Western High School Symphonic Band (66 upperclassmen) earned straight "I's in concert performance and a "I" in sight-reading for an overall "I".
    Mr. Paul Bickel conducted the Western High School Concert Band and Western High School Symphonic Band. 
    All 295 band students in grades 7-12 at Western Schools earned the top rating this year. 
    Congratulations to the Western Bands on representing their district at the highest level! 
    Comments (-1)
    *All new Spring Concert selections should be in the hands of all students in grades 9-12.  Please contact Mr Bickel if you are missing any of the pieces.
    *All festival concert selections have reference recordings in Schoology so that students can practice along at home.
    Comments (-1)

2018-19 Western High Marching Band

This is a picture of the 2018-19 Western High Marching Band
  • Welcome to the Western Band page!  We have a long tradition of musical excellence and opportunities. This page has a few details, including a "Calendar of Events" and the Western High School Band Handbook.  For even more information, be sure to join our Western High School Bands Facebook page, and subscribe to our YouTube channel.  Please email Mr. Bickel at paul.bickel@wsdpanthers.org if you would like more information about the band.

  • 2018-19 Western High School Band Calendar

    Note: all events mandatory unless marked “optional”



     23-27 WHS Marching Band Camp 


     30 WHS Marching Band at Home Football Game and Picture Night-HS


    14  WHS Marching Band at Home Football Game

    22 WHS Marching Band at Parma Day Parade, 11:00 a.m.

    24  WHS Marching Band at Jackson County Marching Band Invitational

    28 WHS Marching Band at Home Football Game (Homecoming) 


    12 WHS Marching Band at Home Football Game

    16 Fall Band Concerts (ALL - 6, 6:45, 7:30 p.m.)


    8 Band Department Small Group Day (during class)


    5  HS Holiday Band Concerts 7:00

    6  MS Holiday Band Concerts (6, 6:45)


    17 Music Department Picture Day (During school. Wear concert uniforms)

    19 HS Band Solo/Ensemble at Onsted High School (optional)

    28 ”Chilly” Jazz Dinner (Jazz Band only)

    30 NW/Western HS Masterworks Concert at Western 7:00 p.m.

    • (NW Band & Vocal Dimension, Western Symphonic Band & Select Choir) 


    28 Band Concerts - HS @ 5:30 , 6th Gr. @ 6:15, and 7th & 8th Gr. @ 6:45


    8-9 Host MS/HS Band Festival here

    16  Band State Solo/Ensemble (optional) 


    26-27 Thornapple Jazz Festival - Hastings (Jazz Band only)


     19 HS Band Concert: 2:00 p.m. - HS Bands

    20 MS Band Concert: 6:00 p.m. - 6th Gr. & 8th Gr. Jazz / 6:45 - 7th & 8th Gr.

    24 Graduation (Symphonic Band Performs)

    27 HS Marching Band (grades 9-12) at Spring Arbor Memorial Day Parade



    22-26 Band Camp at Western



  • Meet the Western High School Band Director!


    Mr. Paul Bickel

    Mr. Bickel started his teaching career in 1992 at Vandercook Lake, where he taught all bands in grades 5-12 (marching, concert, and MS and HS jazz), 9th and 10th Grade English, and restarted both the choir and jazz band programs at Vandercook Lake until 2002.  He teaches band at Western with middle school band director Christina Prater. Mr. Bickel teaches 6th Grade Beginning Brass, HS Concert Band, HS Symphonic Band, the WHS Marching Band, and HS Jazz Band. He also assists the 7th Grade Band and 8th Grade Band. Mr. Bickel is an active trumpet performer in the Jackson French Quarter Dixieland Band (run by father Philip Bickel), piano and vocal performer as a dueling piano player for "Piano Wars!".  He loves teaching because he loves to inspire students to perform and continue through and after high school. He is married to Bethany Bickel, Western Middle School's choir director, and they have two daughters, Julia and Laura.