What a fantastic day we had yesterday!

Let me begin by congratulating our Wind Ensemble students on all of their accomplishments this year which culminated in a 3rd place win at festival with a rating of “Excellent”! Proud does not even begin to describe the feeling we all must have about this incredible achievement, especially since this group has established a standard of excellence for our school by being the first to go to a festival!

To put this into perspective:

The competition was fierce. 12 fantastic middle school bands competed from across the states of California and Nevada. For many of these schools, this was just another festival stop (maybe their 3rd or 4th of the year). But for us, this was history in the making- something we felt so passionate about that the energy was palpable to anyone we came across. Our performance brought many in the audience to tears and prompted the announcer (holding back tears) to say “that was incredible” and “that was one of the most beautiful things I have ever seen”. The greatest joy of all was not in competing, nor in ratings; it was in the joy, pride and sheer beauty of what we had accomplished that will never be forgotten.

A few major thank yous:

  1. To all the chaperones without whom literally none of this could have happened.
  2. To our bus driver, who was flexible and supportive the entire time (however long the day got).
  3. To the judges, announcers and festival staff, whose positive energy and encouragement helped us to feel safe and eased our nerves.
  4. To our administrators, who have supported this program from Day 1 and continue to do so in great fashion.
  5. To all of the parents who have supported their children in this endeavor- you are truly “Excellent”!

As they say in show business, the show must go on! Now to prepare for our final concert on Thursday night! See you then!

                                                                                                                                                ~Mr. F

End of the Year Schedule

Hi y’all,


Can you believe we’re already approaching the end of the year? What a wild one it has been! Here is a look at what is yet to come:

  1. Wind Ensemble goes to festival on May 20th! We are still in need of Chaperones, so please be sure to fill out the chaperone interest form and get fingerprints done as soon as possible!
  2. Our final concert is at BCHS on May 25th. Concert Band goes on at 5:00 and Wind Ensemble goes on at 7:00. It’s going to be a massive concert, so come early to secure a seat and parking!
  3. Seventh Graders returning to the program next year will be welcome to perform at Promotion. We will be playing Pomp and Circumstance as processional music, and the orchestra will be playing recessional music.

Let’s finish the year off with some incredible music making and memories to last a lifetime! ~Mr. F

CMMS Bands Update

Good morning Christa McAuliffe Band Community!

We are almost to the end of the third quarter, and as such we are a-twitter with activity! Here are the performances we have coming down the road:

Spring Concert Dress Rehearsal- March 7th

Our previous concerts never required much in the ways of a dress rehearsal, but we are planning something special which will require the joint effort of everyone in the program to be there for a dress rehearsal. This is mandatory and part of each students concert grade.

It will happen after school Tuesday and we will be concluded no later than 4:30 PM assuming we work through things smoothly.

Spring Concert- March 9th

Our movie and video game themed concert is sure to delight and entertain! Students have been really challenged this quarter with music that requires dedication and commitment outside of class time in order to be successful. I believe we will all be amazed by the maturity of the performances of both our ensembles and the investment it takes to make those once in a lifetime performances come together.

We will be doing a 50-50 raffle at the concert! Buy a raffle ticket for one dollar for your chance to win half of the jackpot!

National Anthem at a Stockton Heat Game- March 12th

Our big fundraiser this quarter has been selling tickets to perform the national anthem at a Stockton Heat game. These tickets are due this coming Friday (March 3rd). Students must report to the Stockton Arena no later than 3:30 so we can perform at 4:00!

REMINDER: All students wishing to perform must buy their own ticket! I have to buy mine as well! All proceeds go toward sending Wind Ensemble to festival for the first time in school history!

Wind Ensemble Tour- April 14th

We are going to a few elementary schools to put on a recruitment program! We may be in need of a volunteer or two to assist with transporting percussion equipment. Please contact me ASAP if you may be able/ willing!

Summer Prism Concert- May 18th

A “prism” concert is one where the music is continuous throughout the concert. There are no breaks for any reason (except to occasionally switch music or for a conductor to walk to the next ensemble as needed). What makes this experience so unique and immersive is that it draws the listener into the music for music’s sake, allowing listeners to relax and make their own unique associations to each piece as it flows over you continuously.

The prism concert will tentatively feature:

  1. Concert Band
  2. Wind Ensemble
  3. Jazz Band
  4. Intermediate Orchestra
  5. Advanced Orchestra
  6. Flute Choir
  7. Clarinet Choir
  8. Saxophone Quartet
  9. Brass Band
  10. Percussion Ensemble
  11. Chamber Strings (the number of groups is undetermined)
  12. Soloists/ Duets (the number of groups is undetermined)

Music in the Parks Festival– May 20th

With enough funding and hard work by all, we may be able to send our wind ensemble to festival for the first time in school history. This event will see our wind ensemble competing for ratings against many middle school bands across California and Nevada, and our hope would be to come home with the first ever “Superior” rating trophy in this schools history. Help us make this a possibility by supporting our fundraising efforts and considering donating!


We have much work ahead of us, but as I tell the students: the fun is in the work!

~Mr. F


Quarter Three Newsletter: My Resolutions and More!

Happy New Year and welcome back to another exciting quarter of band! There is a lot going on this quarter, so without further prelude, here’s what you’ll need to know:


My resolutions for our program this year are:

  1. To establish an official non-profit Band Booster Club and begin fundraising for next year.
  2. To have our Wind Ensemble perform the Star Spangled Banner at a Stockton Heat game.
  3. To start an extracurricular jazz band after school, offered fourth quarter.
  4. To have a successful recruitment season in February (when Manlio Silva and Bear Creek will come to CMMS) and April (when WE will go on tour to elementary schools).
  5. To continue building the band family culture here at CMMS, where band is a place of love, support, learning and positive energy. Once our students understand that they CAN do anything they dedicate themselves to, there will be NO limits to what they can accomplish!


There are a few primary concepts we will  be emphasizing this quarter, but the most important one is the implementation of consistent, goal-oriented practice routines. I stand by the ardent belief that success is systematic. Learning to play an instrument is a process which requires constant, diligent practice to master concepts presented in class and no great musician ever made it there without carefully planned practice sessions and goals. As such, weekly practice logs will be expected the first day of every week.

These practice logs should contain the following:

  1. Time practiced (ex: 1:00-1:30 AM)
  2. Goal (ex: going over break smoothly in m. 16-32 of Pirates)
  3. Accomplishments and/or summary (ex: got A to C in m. 16-20 smooth; need to smooth out m. 20-24 next time)

Students will total the amount of time they practiced, circle it and have their practice log signed by a parent or guardian. This goal-oriented approach has been proven effective time and time again throughout the history of music for the following reasons:

a. Students become self teachers and self diagnosticians.

b. A focus on conceptual learning rather than “point A to point B” learning teaches logic and reasoning, which in turn leads to the ability to make educated decisions in all facets of life independently.

c. Students take ownership over their own progress, which leads to boosted self-confidence and accountability.

It may be worthwhile to discuss a weekly practice schedule with your child to begin working toward a system for success. If you and/or your child would like any assistance with that, feel free to contact me anytime!


Here is a breakdown of how grades will be formed this quarter:

Concerts- These are worth 40% of each student’s grade. We learn  more from performing than through any other experience as musicians and, ultimately, we practice so much so we CAN perform. Each student begins with 100 points, and here are some ways students could potentially lose points:

  1. Absent from the concert without an authorized note- all points deducted.
  2. Late arrival- 10 points deducted
  3. Forgotten instrument- 40 points deducted
  4. Forgotten music- 30 points deducted
  5. Minor attire infraction- 20 points deducted
  6. Major attire infraction- 50 points deducted
  7. Inappropriate attire- all points deducted; student will not perform
  8. Inappropriate conduct (minor)- 50 points deducted (students are representing our program, school and community at large and are expected to behave as such)
  9. Inappropriate conduct (major)- all points deducted; student removed from concert

Practice Logs– Due every week, these add up to 30% of each student’s grade. Remember: hard work beats talent when talent refuses to work hard!

Performance Assessments– These will be recordings taken in class in which students perform assigned material in a recording studio-style setting. These will count for 20% of each student’s grade.

Rehearsals– Worth 10% of each student’s grade, this is a crucial time where students will be introduced to new concepts and challenged to reach new heights musically. It is also the time where their practicing at home gets put together with the ensemble. It is expected that students have practiced their parts and come prepared for rehearsals every day. Students begin each day with 5 points, and here is how a student may potentially lose points:

  1. Receiving a reminder to focus- 1 point deducted
  2. Having their name written on the board for disrupting class twice- 2 points deducted
  3. Disrupting class a third time- 3 points deducted (at this point the student puts their instrument away and is removed from the ensemble to complete an alternate assignment)
  4. Disrupting class a fourth time- all points deducted; student removed from class and sent to the office
  5. Eating in Class- 4 points deducted; instrument away and student completes a written assignment.
  6. Forgotten instrument; lack of participation- all points deducted
  7. Forgotten instrument; active participation- 3 points deducted
  8. Forgotten music- 2 points deducted
  9. Forgotten materials (pencil, folder, etc)- 1 point deducted
  10. Lack of active effort and participation- 1-3 points deducted (ex: student is not playing when they are supposed to throughout the rehearsal- 3 points; student is slumped in chair and playing without much effort- 2 points; student is constantly tinkering with instrument unnecessarily to avoid playing- 1 point; etc.)


     Wind Ensemble is now an audition-based ensemble intended for the serious musician who is ready for a truly advanced curriculum. This ensemble is the pride of our band program here at CMMS; we have a lot of fun and work very hard to produce the excellence in performance which is increasingly becoming the expectation for our band program. Through hard work and determined practice, these students learn the merit of their efforts in the form of more opportunities, memorable performances, invaluable “forever” friendships and the deep joy that only comes through great accomplishment.

     The reasons for these auditions are such:

  1. To create incentive throughout the program to achieve higher standards of excellence in performance.
  2. To ensure all students are placed properly in the program based on their needs as developing musicians (ex: one is not placed in calculus without knowing algebra first; if they were, the student in question would likely be set up for failure)
  3. To establish a culture of healthy competition (which parallels the job market) and supportive cooperation.

Audition materials are available via the “For Students” tab.

NOTE: If a student does NOT audition, he/she will NOT be in Wind Ensemble, even if they were this school year.


  1. Join us on Thursday, January 19th at 6:30 PM as we continue to work toward our goal of a fully functional Band Booster program! We are very near completing non-profit registration and we have many exciting plans in the works!
  2. Consider donating! We are looking for any and all instruments, music, accessories or concert clothing you would be willing to donate. All donations will go directly toward improving our program for your child and generations to come!
  3. Subscribe to this page to receive notifications whenever something new is posted. The more “in the loop” you are, the better!


February 8th, 2017– Manlio Silva Band Tour

     Manlio Silva and Bear Creek High School band students will be visiting Christa McAuliffe for their annual band tour! Each band will perform for each other during regularly scheduled band times, concluding with a rousing rendition of “Let’s Go Band!” led by our incredible Manlio Silva band teacher, Mrs. Kathy Evans.

February 15, 2017- BLC Potluck Social: 1:30-3:30

     Our Band Leadership Council is organizing a potluck social to occur after school in the park directly next to the school! All parents and students are invited to join us and bring snacks, beverages, plastic plates, napkins, utensils, etc. This will be a great time to relax with friends and get to know each other a little better!

March 8th, 2017- Spring Concert Dress Rehearsal: 1:30-3:30 at CMMS

This time, we WILL have a dress rehearsal! Our spring concert program is a bit more extensive and demanding than any of our previous programs, so all students will be required to attend the dress rehearsal to ensure the concert goes smoothly.

March 9th, 2017- Spring Concert: 7:00 PM at CMMS

Join us for a night of leisure and entertainment as our bands perform famous literature from the world of digital entertainment. Featuring music from blockbuster hits (like “Titanic”, “Star Wars: The Force Awakens”, and “The Lego Movie”) alongside some of the most memorable video game and television theme music of the modern era (like the “Super Mario Brothers” theme and the “Pokemon Theme”), this program is sure to be remembered for years to come!


As always, I am available anytime after school if you’d like to drop in and ask a few questions. Otherwise, the room is open for students to practice, ask questions, etc. in the morning, most lunch times and after school. Feel free to email me if there is anything I can help you with!

Yours in music and merriment,

Aaron Fonzi

Director of Bands

Christa McAuliffe Middle School


Caroling at Camlu Cancelled

Hey all,

Due to unfortunate circumstances, personal and otherwise, I regret to inform you that “Caroling at Camlu” will be cancelled this year. I am hoping next year may be a great one to begin this holiday tradition.

I will be looking for opportunities to serve our community more frequently in the future. I believe it is essential that music serves the community, and that young folks learn that music is a gift which can be given to those in need.

Thank you to everyone who expressed interest in this event. Happy holidays!

~Mr. F

Concert Picture/ Video Request


We are all very proud of our students for all of their hard work culminating in the performance we witnessed this past Thursday! I hope it was as memorable an experience for you as it was for me!

Speaking of memorable, if you have any photos or videos of the concert, I’d love to put them up on this website. Please e-mail me at afonzi@lodiusd.org.

Ten memorable moments:

  1. Principal Kirby’s inspirational appearance back stage for the Concert Band
  2. Brooke Greene’s clarinet solo
  3. Grace Waewthaisong and Calin Tunquist’s flute duet
  4. Finishing Suite for Winds with Percussion knowing we nailed it
  5. Let’s Go Band!
  6. Our backstage selfie with Wind Ensemble
  7. Jingle Bells Around the World and having the audience participate with us
  8. Being the coolest people on the planet during Santa Does Dixie
  9. The crowd going wild during the last note of Santa Does Dixie
  10. Carol of the Bells being a magical moment of unity among HS and JH students alike

Eleven Thank Yous:

  1. To the students- without your hard work and dedication, none of the success we’ve experienced together would happen in the first place.
  2. To the parents- your support goes a long way, and without it we would have half the program we have.
  3. To Pierre Kirby- I couldn’t ask for a better administrator; he has been supportive from day one and his appearance at our concert gave the kids renewed confidence in themselves going on stage.
  4. To Don Howard- His consistent support and positive energy has made a lasting impact on me and my students; our school wouldn’t be the same without him!
  5. To our counselors- Mary Jo Andrada and Sue Atterberry understand the underlying needs of our students and always put them first. Without their steadfast support for music, life would be much more difficult for our music programs at CMMS.
  6. To Suzanne Morgan- Sometimes given the nickname “Suzie Sunshine”, I think Sunshine is an appropriate term to describe her! She has been a rock to anchor to this year and her guidance has been invaluable.
  7. To our young band booster program- we are still just coming to be, but with every meeting we have, we validate and support this program just a little bit more. I can’t wait to see the incredible opportunities we may create for our students in the future!
  8. To Laura Christensen- Laura was a true hero on concert night. Her willingness to assist however she could for last minute needs was truly remarkable and all of us in the band are supremely grateful!
  9. To our masterclass clinicians- our students have found inspiration in what you have given them and I hope to continue our partnerships in the future.
  10. To Kathy Evans- Kathy’s work is nothing short of remarkable, and without her we would never be able to accomplish the things we do at CMMS. Thank you for all your hard work preparing students to enter our program.
  11. To Joe Sandoval- for being an incredible host and inviting us to come together for a wonderful night of music making. Joe’s teaching is inspirational, and our students here at CMMS were amazed and excited by what they witnessed of the BCHS Jazz Band. I’m very lucky to get to work under such an incredible HS band director and hope we can continue to collaborate for years to come!

Feel free to leave some comments (memorable moments, photos, videos, you name it), and as they say in showbiz, “the show must go on”! More updates coming soon!


~Mr. F


Donation and Picture/ Video Request

Good evening,

We are in search of a few things which will greatly help us as we go forward into concert time!

  1. Any donations of concert wear will be very graciously accepted. Feel free to send them to school with your children or drop them off in the band room anytime. These will go to great use for families with financial concerns.
  2. We are looking for photos/ videos of band members doing band related things. This could be practicing, performing, individual pictures, group pictures, etc. These will be used on our social media sites and on this website. Please e-mail these to afonzi@lodiusd.org.

We are all a flurry of excitement as we prepare for our December 8th concert! We look forward to seeing you there!

~Mr. F