Welcome to a new decade

Publishers letter January / February 2020

Welcome to a new decade. The year 2020 is just as close to 2050 as it is from 1990. Who knows what progress will be made in the next 30 years? The past 30 have seen the prominence of cell phones and other personal devices, home automation, and cloud computing, just to name a few.

Because of these technologies, we now have a plethora of ways to communicate and interact. Dozens of apps and programs exist to message one another, share photos and files, and even to transfer money without touching your cash or credit cards. The explosion of options, however, can lead to confusion. Our article, “Keep in Touch”, discusses the streamlined methods that band directors use to keep their staff, students, parents, and boosters in the loop.

In this issue, we also pause to introduce Varsity Spirit in a feature story. Known for cheerleading apparel, competitions, and camps, Varsity Spirit purchased three family-owned businesses in the marching arts in 2019. With cheer, dance, and marching groups collaborating on halftime shows and other performances, Varsity Spirit saw a natural connection to expand its commitment to elevating the student experience.

Also of note, Bands of America crowned a new champion. We bring you a Q&A with Mike Howard, director of bands at Vandegrift High School from Austin, Texas. He discusses the band’s rise to prominence starting with only 42 students when the school opened in 2009.

A specific change for Halftime Magazine with the January/February 2020 issue is the rebranding of our “Fitness to the Max” department to “Health and Safety”. Our previous columnist, Haley Greenwald-Gonella, recently had her first baby and will be focusing on motherhood. Congratulations, Haley and family! Our new columnist, Justin Eberly, is a volunteer firefighter and active emergency medical technician who is also involved in the marching arts. Justin will be covering topics that include group safety, which has become more and more important in today’s fast-paced world.

The more things change, the more they also stay the same. We’re proud to feature the Tournament of Roses in our 13th annual photo spread. For marching bands and fans, the event continues to be a timeless celebration of pageantry.

In this new decade, may you thrive on new experiences as you treasure ongoing traditions.

Musically Yours,
Christine Ngeo Katzman
Publisher and Editor-in-Chief

About the author

Christine Ngeo Katzman

Christine Ngeo Katzman has played the flute since the age of 8. She marched in the Northwestern University Marching Band, including the 1996 Rose Bowl and 1997 Citrus Bowl. She graduated cum laude from Northwestern with a bachelor’s degree in journalism in 1997. Since then, she has worked in the publishing industry as a writer and editor and helped launch Play Music, a magazine for recreational musicians, sponsored by American Music Group (now Music and Arts Center). In the summer of 2006, Christine worked at Yamaha where she interacted with staff and students in various marching bands and drum corps. Christine earned her MBA with honors from the University of Southern California in May 2007.