•   Mr. K with Kansas, Wilkes Barre, March 2019
     Mr. Kowalski with the band KANSAS - Wilkes Barre, March 2019
    (Phil Ehardt - drums, Dave Ragsdale - violin/guitar, Rich Williams - guitar, K, Ronnie Platt lead vocals/keyboards, Tom Brislin - keyboards, Zak Rizvi - guitar, Billy Greer - bass) - Along with the Beatles, Mr. K's favorite group. 
    COVID - 19 UPDATE MARCH 16, 2020
    Wishing you all well, safety and certainly health. . . I am sure a lenghty period of "no school" seems fun, although as young as you are students, I also know you are concerned about so many health concerns to all.  But soon boredom will set in due to loss of scheduled school time.  
    REMEMBER each student should have their instrument at home.  We made announcements.
    Each student should have home copies of music, scales and enharmonics.  That has been required since the first quarter.
    Each student has in his or her home folder the quarter requirements.  It was distributed, has been in the room, and additional copies have been given and "gone over" in lessons.  
    PARENTS - if any child says they do not understand anything above, or does not have any of the above, certainly shame on them; there is NO reason for this.  This is literally almost ALL we have been working from ALL year.  The importance of this information is constantly covered.
    SYMPHONIC BAND - Your quarter three requirements are again here for you. Click on the following . . .  SYMPH Q3 
    CONCERT BAND BLUE - Your quarter three requirements are here for you as well. Click on the following . . .   CONCERT BLUE Q3
    Regarding what is going on with grades, due dates, auditions for next year's bands, anything for now, we simply do not know.  However, we all have to be flexible, including me as your teacher.  As I've said in band, if you've attended lessons and have even a start on things, I think you will be fine.  If you waited until the last minute, skipped lessons regardless of how many times I announced them and gave so many options, well then, you probably have very justified concerns.  
    Stay well and practice a bit.  Be nice to each other.   Keep smiling.  See you, hopefully soon. 
    Mr. Kowalski
    Along with the Beatles, Mr. K's favorite group. 
    WELCOME TO THE 2019 - 2020 School Year !

    Ken Kowalski (Students and parents may call me "Mr. K"), has taught in Lancaster since December 1984 starting at Hillview with Mr. Hamilton as principal and Dr. J. Norman Hayes as Lancaster Superintendent.  Along the way Mr. K also taught lessons at Como Park Elementary and was even was the High School String Director back in the late 80's for a three year span.  However, LMS (or formerly AMS - Aurora Middle School) has been Mr. Kowalski's home since 1988.  Yes, this is my 32nd school year at the middle school, and with his first two teaching years spent at Westfield Academy and High School from 1981-83, this is my 38th year of teaching.  Still loving it !
    Mr. Kowalski currently directs 2 bands here, and also the LMS jazz ensemble, the Hand Bell Choir and the High School Carnival Kids Steel Orchestra (CKSO).  Personally, Mr. Kowalski is a HUGE fan of both the BEATLES and KANSAS and also counts among his biggest musical influences Jim Croce , Journey and the group Boston. He has a big black Lab mix named RINGO (photo below) named after, of course Ringo Starr (whom he once met).
    This past summer, I was fortunate enough to hear, and get to know Mr. Ray Coussins.  Ray is best known for being Frank Sinatra's pianist (or as Ray always refers to him, "Mr. Sinatra") for a period of 8 years.  He still works with Celine Dion, and along the way, also Paul McCartney, Michael Jackson, Barry Manilow and a list that is too long to go into here.  He attended the British Royal Music Academy with Elton John (or at the time still Reggie Kenneth Dwight) and Philip (Phil) Collins.  Since then, this inspiration spurred me to purchase a great piano for home and take lessons.  Never too late to learn. . .  
    This year, I have the privilege again to work with both the Symphonic Band and the Grade 7 and 8 Concert Band (Blue).  We are now entering the 2nd Semester (where does time go??) and I am SO proud of these young adults.  Yes, they are excellent musicians, more though, is they are wonderful people.  Mature, responsible, kind, honest . . . mostly well behaved (OK, some of them may slip a bit at times but so does their director).  Seriously, they are a joy . . . 
    To see the latest lesson schedule, please click HERE.
     Grand pianos are truly GRAND!
    Thursday, April 30 - Symphonic Band - LMS 7:30 pm (yes, 7:30 pm)
    Monday, June 1 - Concert Band BLUE - LMS 7 pm
    Other Concerts and Events
    Saturday, May 9 - LMS Marching Band at Holland Tulip Parade - 2 pm
    Friday, May 16 - LMS Jazz Ensemble - Springville Pageant Jazz Competition - Time TBA
    Saturday, May 17 - LMS Marching Band at Springville Pageant of Bands - 1:00 pm
    Saturday, May 23 - LMS Marching Band at Darien Lake
    Monday, May 25 - LMS Marching Band Memorial Day Parade - Lancaster
    Saturday, July 4 - LMS Marching Band July 4 Parade - Lancaster
    Quarterly report card grades are issued to band students.  The grade is generally a combination of group participation, lesson attendance, completion of assignments (performance of ensemble and individual assignments and scales), and keeping of a band folder.  Copies of music can be made here at school, free of charge.   Students are encouraged to make copies of ensemble music during lessons, or by coming from lunch, study halls, or any other free periods.  Extra credit may be earned by participation in extra curricular music groups or private lessons, if discussed with the teacher (that would be me!).  
    NEW / PLEASE NOTE REGARDING BAND GRADES - Our quarterly grades are "built" each quarter, rather than a flow of average grades as seen in other classes.   What I mean by that is that things like home folders, quarterly quiz, band and lesson grade are added later.  A low grade now does not necessarily mean a low grade at the end of the quarter, and it may not mean the student is in peril.   As of the time of this writing (early February) the ONLY aspect of the grade is the lesson attendance, and with the musical, my absence due to illness, and the new quarter, the first TWO weeks of the quarter is counted as one single lesson.  If you (or your child) attended two of the first three lessons in a quarter, THAT IS PRETTY GOOD, and the one they missed can still be made up!   However, your child's grade might still only be a 66!   One of three lessons would be 33, and of course none made would be ZERO.  That would NOT be the final quarterly grade on the report card, but unless lessons are made up, it would lower the final grade.  Students ARE allowed to attend lessons with alternate groups, come for make up lessons, come during homeroom, and to arrange several available mutually convenient times with Mr. Kowalski.  So a low early grade is not a disaster however parents if you see no lessons being attended and no assignments completed and we are half way into the quarter, YES that is potentially a problem.  Contact me.
    If a student continues to not attend lessons, it can lead to removal from band.  For specific questions regarding YOUR student, please email me at kkowalski@lancasterschools.org
    Naturally, all my colleagues and I are looking forward to a wonderful and musical year. 
    If you have any questions about your child or our music program, please call me at Lancaster Middle School at 686-3220 extension 7737. You are also welcome to email me at  kkowalski@lancasterschools.org 
    Thank you for your support of music here in Lancaster!
    Mr. K playing out  The "other" Ringo !  Todd Rundgren wearing a Lancaster CKSO shirt on tour with Ringo Starr !
Last Modified on March 16, 2020