FHS Marching Band and Color Guard
A Parent’s Guide
We are so excited for this new adventure for both your student and YOU! Your student will be receiving their own Handbook but this guide is just for you, the supportive parent! We hope to answer your most common questions and help you have a successful transition alongside your student!
For parents, marching band lets you be a part of your student’s life at a time when you are feeling less and less welcome in it. Sharing the marching band experience with your student will give you memories that are precious. Through marching band, you’ll see your student grow from a cheeky adolescent to a young adult…and you’ll be extremely proud of their involvement and achievements in the program.
Follow FHS Marching Band on Facebook (especially for last minute notifications), check out our website and share with us your email.
Commonly Asked Questions:
Q: What is the Time Commitment?
A: Without a doubt, marching band is a big time commitment. Marching band requires 100% participation at summer band camp, rehearsals twice a week, home football games, and four Saturday competitions.
Time Management is a key to success in marching band and in life. This may be the most important skill your student acquires as a member of the FHS Marching Band and Color Guard. Some parents even sharpen their skills, too! New students learn quickly that they must use every minute of their day wisely. Your student will learn how to keep a schedule, how to be punctual, and how to set priorities. Be patient…it may take a few weeks to get the hang of it.
Q: Does My Student Really Have to Be There All the Time?
A: Yes! All camps, rehearsals, and performances are mandatory! If your student is absent or unable to play/march/perform their part, it will have a negative impact on the efforts of ALL the other students. Arrange doctor’s visits, family trips, etc., on days that your child does not have marching band rehearsals or performances. Conflicts must be discussed with the Director in advance.
Q: Can my student just be in band (Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, or Percussion Ensemble) and not march?
A: Yes. Your student can just take the class and not participate in the fall show. But all students in class are required to perform at football and select basketball games and to march in several parades during the spring.
Q: Can my student also participate in fall sports?
A: Yes, they can. Marching Band and Color Guard Practices are held later in the day to allow students to participate in other activities (typically Mondays and Wednesdays from 6-8). But please remember that Marching Band and Color Guard is a commitment. Your student is required and expected to be at all rehearsals and performances. Balancing school work, other activites and Marching Band can be overwhelming for many students. You know your student best. Help them make the best decision for their success
Q: When will my student get their uniform? What is included and what do I need to provide or pay for?
A: Uniform fittings will be happening the week before band camp. There will be a pre-registration evening on Wednesday August 16. Details will be posted on our website, on Facebook and through email. Each student is responsible for providing their own BLACK SOCKS and BLACK TSHIRT and compression SHORTS to be worn underneath their uniform. The shirt and shorts help keep their uniforms clean as well as keep everyone decent when changing into and out of their uniform. For football and basketball games and concerts, the students usually change in the school bathrooms but at competitions, they must change on the bus. Most of the students wear comfortable pants over their compression shorts for the bus ride and during any free time during competitions. Students will need to buy marching band shoes. They are $25 for new shoes or $10 for used shoes. Usually there is a good supply of used shoes. Most seniors donate their marching shoes at the end of their senior year. There is a $2 fee for gloves. Uniforms are stored at the school and only check out to the students right before an event.
Q: What is FHS Band Boosters and how can I be involved?
A: The FHS Band Boosters is a non-profit organization dedicated to supporting our Marching Band and Color Guard. They coordinate all the volunteers and needs for all the different events throughout the year. They do fundraising activities to financially support the band with things like the fall show, competition fees, props, costumes for the show, uniforms and other band needs. There is a board of 7 members. Voting for board members and officers happens each spring. Board members are elected for a period of 2 years and can serve consecutive terms. All parents are encouraged to attend booster meetings and to be involved as much as possible. All band parents are encouraged to participate in FHS Band Boosters. Booster T-shirts are available for $15. They should be worn if you are assisting the band on the field for any reason but can also be worn at any time to show your support.
- Booster Meetings are the 1st Thursday of each month during the school year at 6:30 pm in the band room. You will always walk away with information your kids forgot to tell you or you may even be the 1st to find out information on what’s to come. Everyone is welcome!
- Volunteer—there are many opportunities throughout the band season to volunteer in various ways. The Band Boosters use SignUp.com to organize all the volunteers and needs for each event. The link to sign up will be sent by email shortly before each event. Feel free to sign up for as much as you like. The band would love any help they can get. Some of the help that is needed through the marching season include checking in/out uniforms, distributing and collecting plumes, pulling the trailer to competitions, feeding the band/color guard, hauling props, bus and bleacher chaperones, and making donations of food.
- When attending parades and field shows you will be walking and standing a lot, its best to have your supplies, snacks and personal items in a backpack and to wear comfortable shoes. If you are unable to walk or stand for long periods there are many other ways you can help.
- Chaperones ride the bus with the band and sit with the band in the stands.
- Concession lines are generally long and pricey so it’s cheaper and faster to bring your own lunch to competitions.
- Spectator parking will separate from where the band parks, it is helpful to have the phone numbers of other boosters so you can find the band after you park
- Invest in a good bleacher seat. You will be sitting in the stands a lot over these next four years. Your tush will thank you!
- Fundraising: Trinkets and Treasures is held each fall and spring. Booth space is available for rent to any business or crafter. The Band Boosters also provide a bake sale and concessions. As you can imagine, there are many ways to volunteer to help this be a success. Donations of food, money or time are all accepted. Once again, SignUp.com will be used to coordinate these efforts. This is the Boosters biggest fundraiser.
- Parent Involvement = A Successful Band Program
What Does that Mean? Learn the Lingo
- Shako-Hat worn during competition
- Plume-Feather adornment inserted on the top of the shako
- Mellophone-Marching French Horn
- Sousaphone-Type of tuba used for marching
- Percussion – Any striking instrument, not just drums.
- Color Guard – Students who provide visual aspects to the performance of the band with synchronized work of flags, sabers, rifles, props and through dance
- Adjudicators – the judges
- The Pit – the non-marching percussion positioned on the front side lines during the field show
- Drumline – the percussionists that march on the field
- Review- the parade portion of a competition
- Block- the formation used in parade
- Field show- a performance by the band on the football field, performed at halftime during football games and in field competitions.
- Drum Major – Student that conducts the band during competitions, parades and at ball games. We typically have two. These are voted on by the students in the spring.
- Section Leader – Student leaders that are in charge of assisting their instrument section.
What to Expect…
At Band Camp (August):
Band Camp is both a mental and physical challenge, but it gives your student a sense of accomplishment at the end. At Band Camp your student will learn the ins and outs of marching, learn the music for our fall show, as well as learn the show! Your student will be given the show music as soon as it is available. Please encourage your student to learn and memorize the music as quickly as they can. No one will have the music completely learned or memorized before Band Camp starts so don’t stress but the sooner the music is learned, the easier it will be for your student. At Band Camp your student will also be given Drill Sheets, also called Dot Sheets. These are instructions specific to each student to where they are to be on the field throughout the show. This is an intense 2 weeks. The days will be long and possibly hot. Your student will be overwhelmed at first. Please be encouraging and remind them that it gets better quickly and every Freshman has felt the same way. Check your students Marching Band Handbook for specifics about what they should bring. The last 3 days of Band Camp are held at Camp Lutherwood on Lake Samish. The band continues to drill and have a great time together. The Band Boosters provide a snack and dinner each day of band camp (hint hint…a great time to help and become involved!) as well as breakfast, lunch and dinner at Lutherwood. Students will need to bring a lunch each day during Band Camp.
Marching band competitions are where many different bands compete/perform. For the band, competitions are like “game days”. Each band will be critiqued, scored, and ranked by qualified judges in the different areas of their performance. The band needs your support as a cheering section in the stands! If possible during field shows, try to sit in a central area of the stands towards the top to get the best overview of the performance and formations. A good stadium seat cushion comes in handy. Be aware that you can only enter and exit the stands between each band’s performance. Show your spirit by wearing your school colors or booster shirt and cheer them on, but be courteous to the other spectators and performers. You can also sign up to help with chaperoning, grooming, feeding/watering the band, and moving equipment. Competitions are a fundraiser for the host school, so there is a small admission fee charged to spectators. There are also concessions for spectators and other band-related merchandise available at some events. Remember, the band will perform, even if it is raining. Usually, the awards are given out after all bands have performed. If you do not attend the competition, please arrive at FHS a little before the designated time to pick up your student but be prepared to wait as they need to check in uniforms before they leave. The Band Boosters usually provide a snack and students usually need to bring a sack lunch or money for food. Information and an itinerary are sent out before each competition.
At Football Games:
(September/October): Band students stay after school and practice. The Boosters provide dinner before the game. After dinner, the students change into their uniforms. During the game, they will sit in a designated section of the bleachers. Parents and friends cannot sit directly with the band, but are welcome to sit in the stands and watch the game and the band perform. At some of the games, the band will perform a portion of their show as halftime entertainment. After the game, the band will put away their uniforms and instruments. Band Booster will organize through SignUp.com volunteers to help with dinner, checkout/in uniforms, handle the water coolers during the game, help distribute and collect plumes and any other help needed for the show. Students are not allowed to eat anything while in uniform. Remind your student to be working on their pep band music as this is often forgotten as their focus is typically on learning the show music.
Besides their marching uniform, each student will also have a concert uniform. These are long black dresses for the girls and white shirts and black pants, jackets and bow ties for the boys. Every student needs to have black socks or stockings and black shoes to wear with their concert attire. Your son can wear his own black pants and/or jacket and/or white shirt. Concert attire is checked out/in the same way marching uniforms are.