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Each of us wants our children — and the children of all those around us — to achieve success in school, success in employment, and success in the social structures through which we move. But we also want our children to experience “success” on a broader scale. Participation in music during the formative school years, brings countless benefits to each individual throughout life. The benefits may be psychological or spiritual, and they may be physical as well.  The Riverside Band program provides experiences and an environment that fosters success!


Riverside Junior High Band serves over 200 7th and 8th grade students. 6th grade beginning instrument classes are taught during the Riverside Intermediate School ‘Rivertime’ period during the last 45 minutes of the school day.  Every spring, the instrument selection process occurs for all 5th grade students. 
At the junior high, students with at least one year of playing experience are scheduled into one of the following band classes which meets daily for one class period: Varsity Band {mostly 7th grade}; Concert Band {an equal mix of 7th and 8th grade}; Symphonic Band {mostly 8th grade}.  New students can audition for accurate placement into these bands.  Each of these bands is comprised of approximately 60-80 students. 
The bands perform 4 concerts and an additional participation at one contest in March. 
Although most of the students elect to begin band in 6th grade, 7th and 8th grade who wish to learn a wind instrument may elect to take the Beginning 7/8 Band class which meets daily for one class period. This band class combines with the Sixth Grade Beginning Band for 2 performances.
The band program at Riverside Junior High School has earned consistent Gold ratings at the Indiana State School Music Association Middle School Organizational Contest with all of the bands having received the prestigious “With Distinction” designation.  Students in the Riverside Band program also participate in Pep Band, Solo and Ensemble, and the Indiana Band Master’s Association All Region Honor Band and Junior All State Honor Band. 
The Riverside Junior High School Symphonic Band was a featured performance at the 2014 Indiana Music Educators State Conference. 

Why Band?

Playing an instrument fosters creativity and develops goal setting.  It gives students a sense of belonging and it teaches them to work together.  The one factor that is most overlooked is that band provides children the opportunity to make friends and be part of the school’s largest team!
Nothing comes easy.  Playing an instrument is hard work but recognition and rewards for those students who have the patience to develop a skill are many. 
Many successful professionals have attributed their professional success to the skills and self-discipline acquired by playing an instrument in band.


Beginning Band

7th & 8th Grade Students with no experience.

Concert Band

An equal mix of 7th & 8th Grade Students with at least one year of playing experience.

Symphonic Band

Mostly 8th Grade Students with at least one year of playing experience.

Varsity Band

Mostly 7th Grade Students with at least one year of playing experience.

Pep Band (extra-curricular)

The Pep Band is an extra-curricular ensemble that plays various rock tunes and traditional spirit songs at Riverside Basketball games (6-7 games).  The Pep Band has a limited number of after school rehearsals from 2:55-4:00.  It is open to any student who plays a band instrument.   There is no audition to be in Pep Band.  Just sign up!  You must have at least one year of playing experience on your instrument. 
Athletes!!!!!  There is precedent for having Fall, Winter and Spring sports athletes in both Jazz Band and Pep band.  The band directors and coaches work together to allow students to rehearse and practice and play for both activities. 
Being a member of both Jazz & Pep band is permitted. 

Jazz Band (extra-curricular)

Jazz Band is a prolific extra-curricular ensemble that performs at jazz festivals (Purdue, Ball State and Pendleton) and various community events.  It is an audition group for traditional jazz big band instruments:  saxophone; trombone; trumpet; piano; bass; guitar; drums; percussion. The Jazz Band provides an introduction to the rich history of jazz music.  Traditional styles and basic improvisational skills are covered. 
Jazz Band begins in the month of October with weekly rehearsals most Tuesdays and Thursdays after school until 4:00 p.m. We will also schedule a few additional rehearsals as we prepare for the Jazz Festivals and concerts etc.

About the Directors

Matthew Harrod is the Director of Bands at Riverside Junior High School and Riverside Intermediate School.  This will be his 36th year teaching band.  Prior to his position at Riverside, he was also the Director of Bands at Fishers Junior High, Craig Middle School, Keystone Middle School, Southport Middle School and Southport High School. Mr. Harrod holds a Bachelors and Masters of Music Degrees from Butler University.  In addition, he also attended Indiana University as an Associate Instructor with the Department of Bands.
His bands have been featured performers at the Indiana Music Educators Association State Convention four times.  Under Mr. Harrod’s leadership, the Riverside Junior High School Bands have consistently earned top honors at all ISSMA Concert Band and Jazz Band events and other various festivals.  In 1999 he directed the Southport High School Jazz Ensemble which performed at Lincoln Center for Wynton Marsalis in the “Essentially Ellington Festival”. 
In 2018, Mr. Harrod received the Indiana Music Educators Association Outstanding Jr. High/Middle School Music Educator of the Year award.  In 2012 Mr. Harrod received the ‘Distinguished Alumni Award’ for the Jordan College of Arts, Butler University.  He is a recipient of the WalMart Teacher Of The Year Award as well as Teacher Of The Year for Keystone Middle School. Mr. Harrod is a past president of the Indiana Bandmasters Association and has served as committee chairman for numerous festivals and contests.
He is married to his wife Ellen, who teaches Family and Consumer Science in HSE and has a son and daughter in college. 
Andrew Vial is a Band Director at Riverside Junior High and Riverside Intermediate. This will be his seventh year teaching and his fifth year in Hamilton Southeastern Schools. Before moving to Indiana, he taught in Detroit, MI and Toledo, OH. Mr. Vial has a Bachelor's in music education from Wayne State University (Detroit, MI), and a Master's in music education from Bowling Green State University (Bowling Green, OH).