Marching Band FAQ

What is competitive marching band? Marching band has evolved into a very serious sport and art form. It makes use of musicians and dancers, where the final product is a combination of music, athletics and choreography in a competitive arena.

Who can join Marching Band? Anyone who has a desire to excel and improve can be in the band. Students who participate in marching band tend to develop better musicianship skills, hand-eye coordination, and not to mention get a great workout every day. Keep in mind that marching band is NOT just musicians. We have a Colorguard made up of BOTH instrumentalists and non-instrumentalists who would rather dance, spin, and toss flags, rifles, sabers, etc. Many students have backgrounds in dance, ballet, and jazz. Marching is always more fun with friends, so feel free to bring as many along as possible.

What is the time commitment for marching band? Many people think the marching band practices 5 days a week for many hours a day. This is not true! The full band rehearses twice a week and sectionals practice on an additional night. The students traditionally get 2-3 days off a week, dependent upon the competition/parade schedule or Varsity football game schedule. While it is a big commitment, the students are still able to get homework done and maintain their commitment to academics.

How much money will this cost? There are many expenses associated with making a marching band function. There are instructor fees, arranging fees, uniform care, marching shoes, specialized equipment for Color Guard and percussion, and many other necessary expenses. Therefore, marching band members do have a student fee to help the boosters offset some of these costs. A detailed list of expenses will be distributed at the Rookie Marching Band Nights in May. Please note: if these costs are in any way a financial hardship, or would tip the scales toward non-participation, please contact Mrs. Jones.

What if my child has to miss practice? If your student will be absent, be sure he or she has notified the Marching Band Director, Mrs. Jones, and Assistant Director Brian Thompson at least a week before the absence, and his or her section leader. Three excused absences are allowed a season, which do not include August Band Camp or any competition. Forms to request and notify the directors of absences are available on the website.

What is Kill Drill? “Kill Drill” is the last Thursday of band camp in August. It’s a good chance to see the show, but lasts until the directors are satisfied. It will run no later than 9-9:30pm due to sound ordinances in Carroll County.

What is Home Show”? The Home Show a marching band competition hosted by the IMB at our high school. It is a great opportunity for the community, friends, and family to come and see your student perform in the show they worked so hard to produce. It is also the largest fundraiser of the year, and the assistance of all boosters is essential — and its fun too!

What do we do at performances? At home football games, parents sit near the band by the press box. At away competitions, parents try to sit together near the 50-yard line. Look for familiar faces, spirit shirts, and buttons. Chaperones usually travel with the band and remain with the band. Other parents travel separately.

After competitions, parents usually line up at the door of WHS to welcome the band home.

How far away are the competitions? Generally, competitions are no more than a 90 minute drive from the school. However, generally every two years, students and chaperones can expect to pack their bags for overnight travel to a major competition or special event.

What sort of involvement is expected of the parents when a student joins the marching band? Parents are encouraged to help support in any way they care and are available. Opportunities are endless. Parents can lend a hand chaperoning, helping with the pit, sewing flags and Color Guard uniforms, building equipment, participating in booster meetings, chairing committees, fundraising, working concession stands at Oriole Park, helping outat the concession stand during home marching band competitions, coordinating different committees, etc. Any parents interested in assisting the marching band should call Mrs. Jen Jones at (410) 751-3630 Ext. 262.

When can we start? The marching season is just gearing up – Rookie Camp is the perfect place to start! Indoor color guard and percussion which annually begin in the winter and continues through spring is also a great way to keep up technique for the next marching band season, or to learn something new!

The first night for all new marching band members is traditionally the 3rd Wednesday night in May, which is the Rookie Marching Band Night. This is a mandatory meeting for all new students and parents where there will be a brief multi-media presentation and question and answer section. The students will begin rehearsing and the parents, staff and directors will have a “get to know each other session” where questions can be asked. Following the meeting, there will be an opportunity to sign up to help with the band as a Booster/volunteer.

Any other advice?

Bottled water and sunscreen are essentials that your student needs to take to practice. If your student playsa brass instrument, consider a plastic mouthpiece when it gets cold. Some away competitions are cold, and some are downright freezing. They are all outside. Foot warmers and hand warmers (the small chemical packs), seat cushions, and blankets are all good. Be sure to dress warmly!

If you have any questions, call the designated parent for your student’s section. Just when it seems like you’ll never have a free weekend again, remember the season ends in early-November!

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