Dear Coopersville Area Public Schools and Community,
My name is Mr. Greg VanStrien and I am the new Director of the High School Bands beginning this summer. I am eager to get started in my new position and wanted to take a moment to tell you a little bit about myself. I would like to begin by thanking Mr. Struyk and Mrs. Borst for their support and welcoming me to the Coopersville community. It will be my goal over my first year to learn the traditions of the school, band and the things that make Coopersville unique and special. My teaching style will be different than Mr. Struyk and that is normal. No one can replace Mr. Struyk but I do hope to continue to learn from him and the traditions of the band. I also want to thank the Coopersville administration and the excellent interview committee they assembled. I am truly thankful and humbled to have been the candidate chosen by them. One of the reasons I applied for the position was knowing that I would be teaching with an extremely talented band director. I believe Mrs. Borst and I am going to make a fantastic team and I am grateful for all the help and information she has already given me. Everyone I have met at Coopersville so far have been very kind and friendly. We have a remarkable community and I can’t wait to meet more parents, students and community members.
One thing you will immediately see from my teaching is the focus on the band family. The word family is a very strong and powerful word and it is how I want the students to see and treat each other. A strong family trusts each other and picks you up when you fall. It is truly my honor to have been accepted into your family and my ultimate goal build on the family tradition.
Over the next few weeks I will be building a communication system that I have used successfully for many years now. Families today receive their information in many different ways and I want to make sure everyone is up to date and involved. My method involves a band webpage that emails out postings, Infinite Campus, social media (Facebook and Twitter), Google Calendar, Remind and paper copies for students to bring home. The paper copies however will be limited and the responsibility of the student to pick up. I do want to conserve print media and publish announcements and information electronically. You will be receiving more information on this as it becomes ready.
Mr. VanStrien’s Biography
Mr. Greg VanStrien is completing his 18th year as a music educator at Morley Stanwood Community Schools. During this time he has helped the program grow considerably. Under his direction the bands score strongly at district and state festivals earning superior 1st Division ratings on a consistent basis. The bands have also traveled to destinations including Toronto, Mackinac Music Clinic, Chicago and New York City.
Outside of his school district he has arranged numerous pieces of music for several Michigan schools. He has also worked in drill design having produced shows for Michigan Schools since 1993. During his career he has been recognized at the high school’s Hero’s Banquet five times. He takes great pride in working with students to help them be successful after their high school career. Mr. VanStrien has found a strength and a passion to help students that may have “fallen through the cracks” if not for their participation in band.
Mr. VanStrien is very active in MSBOA having served as VP of Solo Ensemble, Treasurer and four years as President of District 1. Currently he has resumed the position of VP of Solo Ensemble with a later move to Adjudicator chair. He has been a middle school solo ensemble festival host for numerous years and has performed the duties of site chair at the State Solo Ensemble in Manistee for the past five years. Mr. VanStrien also adjudicates Solo Ensemble Festival throughout the state. Mr. VanStrien was selected as MSBOA District 1 Teacher of the Year in 2013-2014 and 2015-2016. Mr. VanStrien was also nominated and selected into the prestigious American School Band Directors Association (ASBDA) in 2011.
In his free time he enjoys working with and learning about new technology. He enjoys working in his home studio where he works on music composition, website design, photography, audio/video production and many other projects.
At home, Mr. VanStrien enjoys spending time with his family and friends. He has two children James (11) and Alanna (9) and has been married to his wife Amanda for 13 years this June. During the summer months they enjoy camping and try to enjoy the outdoors as much as possible. He is also a coach for his daughters softball team. He enjoys a good game of golf regardless of his score and always takes time to fit in a few baseball games during the summer
What Mr. VanStrien Wants Student to Know the Most (Philosophy)
You are a VALUED and IMPORTANT member of this BAND. Always BELIEVE this. What you do here is a critical part of your EDUCATION, don’t let anyone tell you otherwise. While you are here you will become many different things, each of which will make you more successful in LIFE. You will learn the importance of TEAMWORK. You will learn how to work well with other PEOPLE. You will not just work as a TEAM MEMBER but also learn how to LEAD. Knowing how to be a LEADER and a TEAM MEMBER is extremely important to your FUTURE. You will make FRIENDSHIPS some of which will last for your entire LIFE. You will learn how to solve problems with PATIENCE and DISCIPLINE. You will learn that it is important to treat others with RESPECT and that RESPECT is earned. You will find ways to express EMOTION outside of the spoken language. You will EXPRESS FEELING within a group setting as well as individually. You will learn to work as a FAMILY and accept similarities and differences in people and appreciate both of them. Even if years down the road you have forgotten fingerings and notes, know that the EXPERIENCE and CHARACTER building you did here made you a better person.
When you are asked why you are in the band, always reply…IT’S IMPORTANT!