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Franklin band members

Band is a class that is made up of two parts: large group rehearsal, which meets two-three times a week where all the instruments mix together, and small group lessons, which meet once a week for 15 minutes with similar instruments. Lessons are where you will learn instrument specific information. Large group is where we work on the material for our concerts.

Most of band happens during the school day. We have three concerts each year which are in the evenings. This is where we are able to show off to our families all of the things we have learned in our lessons and in the large group rehearsal.

If you do these five things you will be successful in band:

  1. Try.
  2. Take care of all equipment. Treat musical equipment like it is fragile and expensive, because it is!
  3. Show up with all the materials you need. If you lose your book, you need to get a new one. If your reed breaks, you need to get a new one. If you need help, ask!
  4. Show up to concerts. No excuses, no exceptions, just show up.
  5. Show up to lessons. Learn the songs you need to learn for your lessons.


  • Classroom participation including bringing all needed materials to class and participating in a positive way
  • Preparing for and attending weekly band lessons
  • Attending the three required concerts throughout the year

What is optional for band students

  • Participation in Jazz Band 1 or Jazz Band Too
  • Preparing a solo or ensemble with friends for the All-City Music Contest in April
  • Performing out in the community at a Roughriders or Kernels game
  • Honor bands

Band supply list

In order to be successful in band, it is important to have all of the needed supplies. Click here for the complete supply list. Please reach out if you need assistance with supplies – we do have some extras and we will make sure all students have what they need to succeed.

Getting an instrument

  • Most students rent common instruments (flute, clarinet, saxophone, trumpet, and trombone) from a local music store or purchase used. For students with financial concerns, we have school instruments available!
  • If you are planning to play a large or specialty instrument like the French horn, baritone, or tuba rent from Franklin! The rental will stay at home.
  • Brand does matter! Check our supply list for reputable brands.
  • Buy or rent from a store that specializes in musical instruments (such as West Music)
  • If you plan to purchase used, you can find good deals online, but please feel free to send the link to Ms. LaFella or Ms. Guerpo first to protect your investment!
  • If you will be using a used instrument, please make sure to get the instrument checked over before beginning the summer lessons at an instrument repair shop like West Music, Barnard Instrument Repair, or Millar Woodwind Repair

School instrument rental

  • If you are in need of a school instrument, please first contact Ms. LaFella or Ms. Guerpo for availability and reservations
  • School instruments may be rented on a yearly basis and must be returned if moving, dropping band, or at the end of eighth grade.
  • The instrument rental fee will be added to your Infinite Campus account. 
  • If your child plays a “common” instrument such as flute, clarinet, trumpet, or trombone and they do not qualify for free or reduced book fees, they really should not be using a school instrument in seventh or eighth grade if possible. Those instruments are intended for students with financial need and to get kids started in sixth grade. If you have the means to get an instrument, please consider doing so and return the school instrument so it may be used by someone in financial need.
  • Reeds, valve oil, or slide cream are provided at the initial rental but once those run out/wear out it is your responsibility to replace those items.
  • Please take good care of our instruments so they may last us many years!


Concerts are the best part about being in band! There are three required concerts for all three grades. The eighth graders will also perform at Adventureland the first Saturday in May.

Concerts are what we spend months preparing for and your classmates are relying on you to be there. Concerts are less than one hour in length and students are expected to stay for the entire concert unless there is a special circumstance that has been discussed with Ms. LaFella or Ms. Guerpo in advance.

What to wear to a band concert

For all concerts (unless otherwise instructed), students should wear their best set of clothes. Please: no jeans, no sweatpants/warm-ups, and no revealing clothing (shorts or skirts should be knee-length when sitting). Wearing appropriate clothing is part of the concert grade. If you cannot afford appropriate concert attire, please speak with Ms. LaFella or Mr. Stanek (in the main office) and appropriate clothing will be provided.


  • You will be pulled out of class once per week for a 15-minute lesson with Ms. LaFella or Ms. Guerpo.
  • We are very flexible with scheduling! You will choose your preferred class period for your lesson and can be changed at any time.
  • In our weekly lessons we will strive to master our performance standards by passing one level each quarter, which includes songs from our lesson book and our concert music. Level sheets can be found here.
  • You may opt-out of these school lessons if you are taking private lessons outside of the school day. Click here for the opt-out form.

Private lessons

If you want to get really good at your instrument, the best way is to take private lessons outside of the school day from an expert on your instrument. You can find a list of local private teachers here, but please feel free to ask Ms. LaFella for recommendations for the best personality fit for you or your child.


Band should be your easiest and most fun class! Everyone will meet the band standards if they do these three things:

  1. Lessons: Students are assigned approximately 10-12 exercises from their lesson book that will go towards their grade each quarter.
  2. Concerts: Band requires participation outside the school day for our concerts. Sixth and seventh grade have three concerts; eighth graders have four concerts. Your bandmates are relying on you to be there!
  3. Classroom participation: This includes bringing all needed materials (instrument and music) and conducting yourself in a respectful and cooperative manner throughout rehearsal.

Curriculum standards

The Franklin band standards follow the national and state music standards, which are outlined here. Benchmarks for students are the lesson level sheets.

Jazz band

In Jazz band, we explore different types of music including swing, Latin, rock, and learn to improvise.

Jazz Band 1 is an auditioned group with “traditional” jazz band instrumentation: saxophones, trumpets, trombones, one flute, piano, bass, guitar, and percussion/drum set. Auditions take place in the fall.

Jazz Band Too is open to anyone in any grade on any instrument who just wants to learn to play jazz music.

Both groups practice before school and perform at several festivals and concerts including the Coe College Jazz Summit, the Kennedy Band Carnival, and tour our feeder elementary schools.


Adventureland Festival of Bands

The Franklin band was awarded best in class at the Adventureland Festival of Bands in 2016 and 2019! The eighth grade band performs annually at this event.

IBA state honor band

Just 22 eighth graders are selected from the northeast district to participate in the Iowa Bandmasters Association all-Iowa eighth grade honor band each year. Franklin has a long tradition of students selected to this prestigious ensemble!

Eighth grade band award

Band is about far more than playing an instrument. Band can take you places you did not know were possible, allow you to achieve things of which you did not know you were capable, and form bonds with your teachers and classmates that will last a lifetime. The band award is given annually to two students who exemplify leadership in music, outstanding musicianship, a positive attitude, and participation in extracurricular music activities.

1977: Julie Carmichel and Jeff Smith
1978: Jeff Davick and Lisa Grondahl
1979: Tim Franklin and Melissa Kiliper
1980: Steve Buttleman and Molly Ungs
1981: Chris Kersey and Kathy Webb
1982: Jeanne Lilledahl and Raphael Scheetz
1983: John Girotto and Tracy Taylor
1984: Suzanne Kiliper and Marc Schweighofer
1985: Jill Anderson and Grant Harris
1986: Missy Beer and Mike Finn
1987: Sarah Holstrom, Shannon Miller, Nathan Swanson, and Rob Zeaske
1988: Ann Janney and Eric Scott
1989: Daryl Aretz and Allison Lansing
1990: Ryan Murphy and Lorie Scott
1991: Eric Abell and Megan Hansen
1992: Pat McMickle and Dani Moore
1993: Erica Deuster and Tom Estlund
1994: David Buchheit and Kristin Marrs
1995: Sarah Gavin and Tyler Smith
1996: Willie Fastenow and Pam Reynolds
1997: Garrison Goodlett, Kate Schroeder, and Becky Hanson
1998: Laura Fleming, Leah Struck, and John Swift
1999: Eric Freeburg and Lydia Mexas
2000: Lauren Wylly
2001: Christian Behrens
2002: Lauren Larsen
2003: Erin Camp
2004: Zach Ziemer
2005: Matt Thompson
2006: Madeline Young
2007: Toby Ziemer
2008: Jonathan Jenkins
2009: Bradlee Birchansky and Kate Ernst
2010: Jasmin Ripoll
2011: Bryan Cline and Heidi Davenport
2012: Julia Pohlman and Lydia Yang
2013: Lucy Ernst
2014: Matt Lyman and Jackie Ripoll
2015: Michael Davenport and Zach Johansen
2016: Noah Loehr and Betsy Marlow
2017: Indica Mutchler and Nic Ryan
2018: Jessica Cline and Rachael Stevens
2019: Amelia Basler and Nick Burkamper
2020: Jenna Moore and Mark Nix

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