Thursday, July 30, 2015

Monday, July 20, 2015

The CATA Band Website is Moving!!!!!!

Please begin using the new CATA Band website at for the most up-to-date information.  I will eventually stop using this site for updates, announcements, etc.  Thanks to those that came to the event today!  I'll see you in August!

Saturday, July 18, 2015

Reminder: July 20th New Director "Meet and Greet", Marching Show Reveal and Rookie Marcher Meeting!!!!!!

This is a friendly reminder that the CATA Band Program will be hosting an informal New Band Director "Meet and Greet" this coming Monday, July 20th from 4:00-4:45 PM in the CATA Band Room for ALL CATA Band students. The CATA Band of Blue "Show Reveal" will take place at 4:45 PM followed by a rookie marcher meeting from 5:00-5:30 PM. I look forward to meeting you all and discussing our plans for the marching band season at the show reveal!

If your schedules allow it, I recommend non-marchers try to come to the earlier portion of the meet and greet and marchers come to the later part of the meet and greet.  If you can, drop in and say hi! :)

Tuesday, July 7, 2015

Marching Band Camp is Fast Approaching!

Reminder: The 2015 summer marching camp dates are as follows:

8/3-8/4 - Leadership 9am-4pm

8/5-8/7 - Leadership, Drum Line, & Rookies 9am-4pm

8/10-8/14 - FULL Band 7am-7pm

Still not registered?  Click here to register today!

See you soon Band of Blue!!!!!!!!!!!!!

All Freshman Band Students . . . Please read below!

Dear Rising CATA Freshman,

Congratulations on your acceptance into the Central Academy of the Technology and Arts.  My name is Mr. Retzlaff, and I am the new band director at CATA.  I am very excited to have the opportunity to work with you in the band program.  The transition from middle school to high school can sometimes be intimidating and daunting for some students, and I want to make this transition as smooth as possible. The CATA Band Program has established a strong tradition of success, and success starts with great students.  I wanted to reach out to all rising freshman to discuss some exciting opportunities all CATA Band students can experience.  

The Band of Blue, the school’s marching band, is an integral part of the band program at CATA.  Although not required to be enrolled in a band class, participation in the Band of Blue is strongly encouraged to all incoming freshman. The marching "Band of Blue" performs during the fall semester at pep rallies, home football games, and in local holiday parades.  ANY STUDENT who completed a full year of concert band in 8th grade is eligible to participate in marching band, even if they are not scheduled for Symphonic Band in the fall or spring semesters.  

The marching band season kicks off every year with a summer band camp on the CATA campus.  Summer marching camp is an essential first step towards a successful marching season.  During camp, students learn marching fundamentals, pep band music and begin learning set design and music for a halftime show.  Read the Band of Blue Camp Survival Guide to be prepared for a fun and safe camp season!

Once the school year begins, marching band rehearses after school hours on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 4-6 PM.

If interested in participating in marching band, please click on the “Marching Band Registration Link” and complete all information by midnight Thursday, July 16th.  Any registrations submitted after this date may not guarantee a spot in the ensemble.  

Below are more important links to find out further information on how to become a member of the Band of Blue and important dates to put in the calendar.
In addition, the CATA Band Program will be hosting an informal Band Director “Meet and Greet” on Monday, July 20th in the CATA Band Room from 4:00-4:45 PM for all band students.  Freshmen interested in marching band are encouraged to stay at 4:45 PM for the CATA Band of Blue “Marching Reveal” where the theme for the marching show will be revealed as well as the freshman band student/parent meeting from 5:00-5:30 PM.  Important information for marching band will be presented during this meeting so please plan on attending.  
Again I look forward to working with and meeting this year’s group of freshman!  This will be my first year at CATA as well so we will go through this year together for the first time!

Band Diretor Meet and Greet Scheduled

The CATA Band Program will be hosting an informal "Meet and Greet" with New Band Director, Mr. Retzlaff, on Monday, July 20th at 4:00 PM in the band room.  Those in marching band are invited to stay for the 2015 Marching Show Reveal at 4:45 followed by a freshman marching band meeting at 5:00 PM.  Look forward to seeing you!

Thursday, June 25, 2015

Welcome, Mr. Retzlaff!

The CATA band program eagerly welcomes Mr. Craig Retzlaff to the podium as our new band director!  Mr. Retzlaff, a trumpet player, has been teaching band in Union County for the past seven years.  Students in his bands routinely earn Superior ratings at MPA, earn placement in county, district, and state honor bands, and participate in local youth symphonies.

Mr. Retzlaff studied music at the Peabody Conservatory of Music of Johns Hopkins University where he earned both his Bachelor of Music in trumpet performance and Bachelor of Music Education.  After graduating from Peabody, Mr. Retzlaff attended the Bob Cole Conservatory of Music at California State University in Long Beach where he earned his Master of Music.

Outside of the classroom Mr. Retzlaff serves as an adjunct professor of brass at Wingate University.  He also maintains an active performance schedule and is currently the principal trumpet player of the Union Symphony Orchestra, a founding member of the Stained Brass quintet, and an active freelance performer in the greater Charlotte area.

Mr. Retzlaff lives in Union County with his wife Erica, a kindergarten teacher in UCPS, and their many pets.  Mr. Retzlaff is excited to join the CATA band family and is eager to begin building relationships with the band families of CATA.

Mr. Retzlaff can be reached at

Saturday, May 30, 2015

Second Semester Exam Study Guide

The second semester exam will be here before you know it.  Use the links below to begin preparing for your exam.  The exam consists of TWO components:

Scale Mastery - 25%
Written Exam - 25%
Small Ensemble Performance - 25%
Teaching Project - 25%

Study Guide

FLAT Key Signature Review
SHARP Key Signature Review
Piano Keyboard Flash Cards
Music Dictionary
Articulation & Time Signature Review

Friday, May 22, 2015

Symphonic Band 5.22.15

Today you will take time in class to assess Tuesday night's performance from the perspective of a critical listener using the North Carolina Bandmasters Association MPA assessment rubrics as an evaulation tool.  Watch and listen to each link below from the perspective of an audience member rather than a musician on stage and complete a rubric FOR EACH PIECE.  Some of the selections have been captured in three separate recordings for ease of uploading but you should still only complete ONE rubric for EACH PIECE.

Click HERE to see the NCBA rubric guidelines, descriptors, key words.

March of the Belgian Paratroopers
Prelude, Siciliano & Rondo Part 1
Prelude, Siciliano & Rondo Part 2
Prelude, Siciliano & Rondo Part 3
The Ascension Part 1
The Ascension Part 2
The Ascension Part 3
Endless Rainbows
Mountain Dance

Once you have completed all FIVE rubrics, click on the link below and answer the questions in the Google doc titled "Spring Concert Review."   Be sure to SAVE A COPY of the document first.  Title your copy as follows:  Spring Concert Review - YOUR NAME

When you have completed the concert review, SHARE it with

Click HERE to view the document titled "Spring Concert Review"

Wednesday, May 20, 2015

A Word from the Director...

I met with the CATA band students this morning and shared news that they will be welcoming a new band director to the CATA band room in the fall.  An unexpected teaching opportunity recently came my way and, after three wonderfully rewarding years in the CATA band room, I have accepted the band director position at Charlotte Christian School beginning in the 2015-16 school year. 

While I am excited about the opportunities for professional growth and lifestyle change that await me at Charlotte Christian, my heart is HEAVY at the thought of leaving CATA. It's a very special band program and I have enjoyed building it over the past three years.  Cougar pride runs deep in my bones and I care a great deal about Central Academy and the Cougar band family.  

It has been an honor and a joy to call the CATA band room “home” for the past three years. Thank you to the students and parents for your TREMENDOUS service and support as we have worked together to build this program from the ground up.  Each and every one of you has been such a vital part of growing this program and I thank you for your investment!

I have every confidence that Ms. Fisenne and the administrative staff will find and hire a quality music educator who has the skills necessary to continue moving the band program towards excellence.  The strength of the CATA band program lies within the dedication of the CATA band students, parents and supporters like you. This dedication will carry the band program through the upcoming time of transition.  Look to each other for support during this transition, and remember that change, though it may be uncomfortable at times, is an opportunity for growth. I hope you welcome your new band director with open arms, just as I was welcomed and supported when I first became a Cougar.

Everyone involved in the band program at CATA has a unique roll to serve in the upcoming transition.  Your continued dedication, communication, and service will be an integral part of the success of this transition.  After three years of building, I firmly believe that both the booster organization and the band program are standing on a FIRM foundation.  This transition will be successful BECAUSE of that foundation - because of YOU.  In fact, I'm counting on it!

Best Wishes,

Leslie Craven Niessner

Friday, May 1, 2015

Summer Symposium at Western Carolina University

Spend a week developing new skills, forging new relationships, and making memories that last a lifetime, all through the incredibly transcendent power of music at the Western Carolina Summer Symposium.  Click HERE to learn more about one of the most powerful summer camp experiences in the region.

Summer Symposium June 28 - June 2, 2015

Tuesday, April 14, 2015

Craven tied the knot!

Ms. Craven became Mrs. Niessner over spring break!  Thank you for all of your well wishes, congratulations, and blessings!!! We feel very lucky to be so loved by our CATA family! 

Monday, March 23, 2015

Congratulations to all of our CATA musicians on their SUPERIOR performance today at MPA!!! All four adjudicators were extremely complimentary about their professionalism, technique, and musicality.  We are SO VERY PROUD of all of our musicians and their continued success in the band program at CATA.

Click HERE to see more images from today's trip to MPA, courtesy of Debbie Cramer.

Click on the links below to hear today's stage performance:

Circus Days 
Perthshire Majesty
Prairie Dances

Special thanks to Bob Kleinschrodt, Debbie Cramer, Tammy Tweed, Karen Riley, Jeff Pusser and Jay Bolder for their logistical and moral support today!

Monday, March 16, 2015

CATA Musicians Perform at Wingate

We are so proud of our CATA band students who perform with the Wingate Wind Ensemble on a regular basis.  Be sure to view the footage of their most recent concert HERE.

Thursday, March 12, 2015

Marching Band Registration Coming Soon

Mark your calendars NOW for the annual marching band registration meeting on TUESDAY, MARCH 31 at 6:30 pm in the band room.

Information about camp dates, camp fees, the fall marching schedule, and the 2015-16 half time show will be shared at the meeting.  

This meeting is for parents and students.  We hope to see you there!