For New and Prospective Marching Band Parents
Welcome to marching band! We are so excited to have you and your student with us! Every veteran band parent once stood where you are now, so we’re guessing that the question that’s going through your head is, “What have we gotten ourselves into??!!”
First, marching band is a big commitment. It requires a lot of time, hard work, and money. However, the friendships, growth, leadership, commitment, sacrifice, teamwork, determination, and FUN that your student will experience during their years with the marching band will be life-changing.
With that being said, we know that these first few months will be filled with a lot of questions. We’ve prepared this letter with the hope that it will answer common questions and spare you a lot of confusion. So, let’s get started!
Contact information: MAKE SURE WE HAVE YOUR CONTACT INFORMATION, ESPECIALLY YOUR EMAIL! We communicate regularly with you through email. If you are not receiving emails, please login to Charms and make sure that your contact information is up to date. When it comes to keeping up with marching band, ignorance is NOT bliss.
Communication: READ THE EMAILS!!! After getting regular emails for a while you may be tempted to skip or skim the emails. Please read all of the emails all of the way through! These emails may at times be long, but they contain important information. Things can change, such as call times, performance times, or rehearsal details, so you want to be sure you get the latest information.
Color guard is part of the marching band: Information you receive about marching band also applies to color guard, unless otherwise noted.
Practice times: Posted marching band rehearsal times are FIELD TIMES. This means that your student must be ON THE FIELD at the start time, and will not come OFF THE FIELD until the ending time. Translation: Your student needs to be at the rehearsal at least 10-15 minutes earlier than start time and will need about 10-15 minutes after the end time to put away their instruments and band equipment.
Schedule: The following is a typical schedule. Please refer to your registration packet to see a complete schedule.
Sectionals: Once a week
Marching band practices: 3 times most weeks
Parade camp: July
Band camp: July and or August
Pregame camp: August
Percussion and color guard have separate camps beyond normal marching band camps.
It’s best for students to attend all camps and practices, but life doesn’t always allow for that. The most important camp that cannot be missed is band camp, with pre-game camp taking a close second place. Attendance at these camps is vital to the success of the band.
Mondays and Thursdays, 3:15 pm - 6:00 pm
Wednesdays 5:00 pm - 9:00 pm (on the football field)
Friday afternoons when there is a home football game
All home football games
All fall competitions (these cannot be missed)
St. George trip in early Nov. for state finals and BOA (this cannot be missed)
Attendance: Marching band is a team sport that takes everyone being on the field together to be successful. When a student signs up for marching band, they are making a commitment to the entire band to be a team player. When even one student is missing, it affects everyone, as it causes breaks in formation, affects the band’s ability to clean drill and music, and causes your student to miss important work and changes. Please do everything you can to make sure your student is always at practice. The only real reasons to miss practice are illness and emergencies. Even then, if your student is well enough to watch the band practice but not participate, they should come to practice to sit and watch so they can see changes that are made and will have less to learn when they are feeling better. After school jobs, doctor appointments, getting help for school, music lessons and other similar activities need to be scheduled outside of practice time in order for the band to be successful.
Related to attendance: Punishing your student by grounding them from coming to rehearsal or performances punishes every member of the band by not having them there. Please find different, more individual ways of disciplining your child that doesn’t impact every member of the band.
Absences: Unexcused absences are never a good idea as they will lower your student’s grade and can result in the loss of a spot in the marching band field show. If your student must miss a rehearsal, please fill out an absence excuse form (found on the marching band page of our website) and have your student turn it in to a drum major at least two weeks in advance so that the absence can be excused. If you run into an emergency where two weeks notice cannot be given, please have your student (or yourself) talk to a staff member or Mr. Mangelson as soon as possible. Please remember, each student is only allowed three excused absences during the fall season.
Academics: The months of September and October are very full with rehearsals, sectionals, and competitions. Students will need to manage their time wisely in order to stay on top of their school work. Encourage them to do their homework on the bus to competitions or before rehearsal on late rehearsal days. Encourage them to get ahead where they can on light days and to do their homework on the day it is assigned instead of the night before it is due! We have many honor students in the marching band, and many take AP classes and hold jobs. Learning to balance all of these responsibilities during marching band season forces students to manage their time wisely. There isn’t a lot of time to waste so students learn very quickly that they must treat time as the precious commodity that it is. This is a valuable life lesson.
Fundraisers: No one loves fundraising, but it is a vital part of our program. Please make every effort to get involved with fundraisers and expect that your student will do their share to help the band. All of the students benefit from fundraisers, so it only makes sense that all of the students help raise the funds. Fundraisers help pay for food at competitions, purchase needed equipment, and help to offset additional costs of running the band and its activities. Some fundraisers allow students the opportunity to raise their own funds while others benefit the band as a whole.
You are needed! Many hands make light work, but the work needs to get done either way. If everyone does something, it lightens everyone’s load! There are small jobs that will only take a couple hours, and leadership responsibilities as well. Whatever your talent, we need you, so see where you can help! You can find a volunteer sign up on the band’s website under “Band Boosters” or click here https://www.signupgenius.com/go/60b0e44acac22a1fd0-fhsband
Band fees: When it comes time to pay band fees of any kind, we ask that you wait to be invoiced. This means that you won’t be able to pay for all of your band fees up front. We apologize if this is inconvenient for you, but we need you to wait to be invoiced in order to keep our records accurate. If you send money into the office before you are invoiced, the office will not accept the money or it could end up in the wrong account. Waiting until you are invoiced also means you can pay online through myDSD, which makes everyone’s life a little easier. Once you are invoiced, the band will send out an email letting you know what you owe and when it needs to be paid. Prompt payment of fees is always appreciated as we need those funds in order for the band to function. This method of invoicing before payment will apply to summer clothing orders and instrument rentals, as well as normal marching band fees.
Extra expenses: There are some things that band fees don’t cover, such as instrument rentals, marching shoes, shorts, and uniform shirts. If your student’s section chooses to do a section shirt or jacket, that is also an additional expense (this is optional for sections and is decided by the students themselves). Schools do charge a fee for spectators if you go to marching band competitions, so if you go to support the band at a show, be aware that you will have to pay to get in. Most of the time the band boosters provide a meal to the students at competitions. If parents attend the competitions, they should plan to purchase meals as spectators.
The bottom line is that you very likely will be asked to pay for a few additional things along the way.
Instrument rental: Many marching band students will need to rent instruments. If your student plays any brass instrument or percussion, they will need to pay a $95 rental fee. This is done for brass players so they will have a uniform look and sound on the field by all playing the same model and brand of their instrument. This fee for percussion students goes towards replacing and maintaining percussion equipment. Tenor saxophones, bass clarinet, and piccolo players may choose to rent from the school. The school does not have flutes and clarinets for rent. Before students can rent an instrument, a parent must fill out the online instrument rental agreement. Please follow this link to sign the online form.
After the student is given their instrument they will be invoiced for the rental fee.
Physicals: Yes, your student needs to get a physical in order to participate in marching band. Marching band is a very physically demanding activity. For their safety and to satisfy administration and UHSAA guidelines, students must to get a physical. Here's a link to the forms that need to be filled out. https://www.uhsaa.org/forms/forma.pdf Please turn them into Mr. Mangelson by July 8th. If your student already has a physical on record with the school, just send Mr. Mangelson an email so he can request a copy from the director of athletics.
P.E. Credit: Because marching band is so physically demanding and because Mr. Mangelson has the proper certification, our school is able to offer 1 semester of P.E. credit for each year that a student participates in marching band. Please be aware that marching band does not entirely replace Fit for Life, your student will still need to sign up for Fit For Life and do some work through Canvas to get that credit. Meet with your school counselor to get more information.
Be flexible! Sometimes things change, and most of us deal with change on a daily basis. Our marching band schedule is no exception. In general, we are able to get parents timely and complete information. But sometimes last-minute, unavoidable adjustments are needed, such as call time, meeting place, or schedule changes. These adjustments are made smooth when we do all we can to be flexible! The easiest way to stay aware of changes is to sync your phone with our Charms calendar.
Cleanup: Your student is expected to help clean up after concerts and performances, and for marching band competitions. This means they need to stay until the trailer is unloaded and everything is cleaned up. Please do not ask them to leave before the work is done. If you are there waiting in your car to pick them up, jump out and help and it will go that much faster!
Students can help out! It’s ok to invite your student to earn the money to pay for some or even all of their own fees. Really, it is. We know marching band can be expensive, but these kids are hard workers—or will be by the time they finish marching band. With support from you and a little work ethic, your student can pay for all or a portion of their own fees and in the process, will be so much more committed to what they are doing because they worked to be there. Please be aware that we will be having a personal fundraiser in the spring to help students pay for fall marching band fees.
Questions? The most important thing to know is that if you DON’T know, you can ASK! You are not in this alone. If you are confused or frustrated or just need information and don’t know who to talk to, please contact us. We will be happy to respond through email or over the phone.
Welcome to the family. We hope you and your student love it here. Please let us know if you need anything and please let us know how you would like to help. Together, we can make this an amazing year!
Marcie Hayes, Farmington Band Booster Association President, firstname.lastname@example.org