Marching Band Handbook

  • GENERAL PHILOSOPHY

         The Southern Lehigh “Spartan” Band is one of the most “high-profile” components of Southern Lehigh High School.  When you are in concert, wearing your uniform, or representing the band and the school in any capacity you are held up to a higher standard by your peers, parents, and community.  Your conduct, with or without your instrument, forms the basis for opinions that observers will form about you, your organization, and your school. 

         The overriding goal for our organization is 

    TO BE A BETTER BAND THAN WE WERE BEFORE. 

    In other words, everything you do is expected to take the organization in a positive direction.  Things that take the organization the other way negates everything that was done before.

         The performance of the individual Band member begins when he or she enters the Instrumental Room.  The performance of the Spartan Band as a whole begins the moment we step out of that room or get off the busses at an away event.  From that point on you are being watched and evaluated by EVERYBODY.  Everything you do or say, even if it does not involve the playing of your instrument or the execution of your routine, forms an opinion of you and the Band in the minds of all who are watching.  If in doubt, refer to our goal. 

    At Southern Lehigh, Band is a course which is taken for credit towards a diploma.  Students earn letter grades for Band just as they do for any other credit course.  In this respect Band is different at the High School than it may have been prior to this time.  Band is not an activity, it is a course and it has course requirements like any other academic subject area.  However, Band is unique in that some of the course requirements take place outside of the school day. These course requirements, much like homework in other courses, are a component of the grade earned each quarter.   And also like homework, failure of the student to take part in these course requirements will have an adverse effect on his or her grade.

    The course requirements outside of school differ from homework in that virtually all performances, concerts, parades, festivals or games are actually more like tests or exams.  In our case, these public appearances represent the sum total of our efforts and achievement during the rehearsals and preparations, plus they are learning experiences in themselves.    Students are expected to take part in ALL scheduled performances throughout the school year.   Note that academic ineligibility does not apply to Band since Band is a curricular subject, not an activity.   It is significant to know that each student has an individual and unique part in the performance.  Unlike team sports, there are no substitutes or “extras” that can fill in for a missing member.  Failure to attend performances affects the entire group. 

    GRADING SYSTEM/POINT VALUES 

    Please see the syllabus for "Band" on the Southern Lehigh School District website, or obtain a printed copy from the Director for a complete explanation of grading procedures for Band.  Set forth below is the procedures to be followed should there be a legitimate, unavoidable conflict with a scheduled performance.

    Reasonable efforts are made to arrange some kind of instrumental performance in every quarter.   Performances include football games, parades, festivals, evening concerts, assembly concerts at local schools, community programs, Commencement, and/or appearances in other venues.   Please note that all performances are an integral part of the music curriculum; they are not optional.   Students should not make arrangements to work, baby-sit, travel, etc. that would result in a conflict with a scheduled performance.   Students may not miss a performance for an extra-curricular sports practice.   In the event of a potential conflict with a performance and a sporting event (meet, match, game, etc.)  all decisions will be made on a case-by-case basis between the director and the coach.   The Principal and/or the Athletic Director may also be part of that process.   

    Failure to follow this procedure will result in a grade of zero (0) for that performance/event.   In no case will a request for an absence be granted when made after the fact. Students who miss a performance due to illness/injury will be asked to provide a doctor’s statement or some similar documentation of the illness/injury.  Failure to do so will result in a grade of zero (0) for that performance/event.  

    GRADE SCALE FOR BAND

    The grade scale for Band is the same as outlined in the 2014-15  “Course of Studies” booklet published by Southern Lehigh High School (Page 7).

    CONDUCT

    PERFORMANCE/GAME CONDUCT 

    1. The Band enters and exits all performance areas as a unit.   If for some reason the Band leaves a game/performance early, ALL students shall leave with the Band.

    2. The primary responsibility at games/events is the BAND....ALL members are to play when a selection is performed.  Playing of any music is done only at the direction of the drum major(s).

    3. Like instruments are to sit together in a section or as assigned by the director and/or section leaders.

    4. Band members shall stand and watch the performance of the other band(s) with dignity and respect.

    5. Band members who, for any reason, may be out of uniform must stay with the Band.

    6. The Band section in the stands is for current Band members only.

    7. Foul language, crude behavior, throwing of food or any other items (including confetti) will be grounds for immediate dismissal from the event and/or any action appropriate under the “Student Code of Conduct.” 

    8. There shall be NO food, candy, gum or beverages consumed in the bleachers with the exception of bottled water.  Medical conditions or religious practices requiring meals at designated times shall be discussed/arranged with the director in advance.

    9. Band members leave the stands ONLY in the third quarter of the football game and are to be back in the stands, seated and ready to play by the start of the fourth quarter.

    10. Personal items such as extra clothes, blankets, etc. are to be transported by parents or the rolling cages manned by the Band Managers.  Do NOT put backpacks in the cages; backpacks will be removed by Managers or Music Parents chaperones.

    11.  Students shall turn off all cell phones, beepers, etc. from the time they enter the Band Room until the conclusion of the event.

    BUS CONDUCT/PROCEDURES 

         Beyond what is contained in the “Student Code of Conduct,” Band members shall adhere to the following:

    1. Travel to and from an away event is by school bus.  Any other transportation arrangements MUST be under the direct supervision of a parent or guardian.

    2.  Students who travel to or from an away event with a parent/ guardian other than their own must submit written permission from their parent/guardian in advance. 

    3. Instruments shall not be played on the bus.  Instruments shall remain in their cases until such time as they are needed for performance.

    4. One radio/tape player/CD player per bus.  The bus driver and/or the chaperones have the right to establish a reasonable volume level.  Additional radios/tape players/CD players are permitted so long as they are equipped with headphones for individual listening.

    5. The interior of the bus shall be left in the same condition as it was upon boarding........CLEAN.  Notify the director or chaperones if the bus is littered upon boarding. 

    6. Exit and enter the bus by the front doors ONLY except in the case of emergency.  Exiting the bus through the emergency exit will subject the student to disciplinary action consistent with school/transit company policy.

    7.  You are responsible for your own personal items.

    8.  Students may not stand on the seats or sit on the seat backs for any reason. 

    9.  Do NOT change into or out of uniforms on the bus.

    TOBACCO/ALCOHOL/CONTROLLED SUBSTANCES 

    Absolutely NO tobacco, alcohol or controlled substances are allowed in the Instrumental Room, on trips, or during band events EVER.  Failure to observe this regulation will subject the student(s) to the Code of Conduct of Southern Lehigh High School and/or the laws of the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania. 

    USE & CARE OF EQUIPMENT/INSTRUMENTS 

    1.  Your equipment is your responsibility ONLY.  It is your responsibility to bring your instrument out to the equipment trailer and load it.   It is likewise your responsibility to UNLOAD and put your instrument away upon return to the school.

    2.  All instruments should be in good playing condition at all times. Students should be in the habit of checking for loose screws, braces, etc. each & every time the instrument is readied for use.  Proper care and handling will keep damage to a minimum. School-owned instruments must be returned in the condition in which they were issued.  Students using school-owned instruments will be financially liable for all damage due to neglect and/or carelessness.  All lost or damaged items (mouthpieces, sticks, mallets, etc.) must be replaced and the cost borne by the student (school-owned).  Repair and upkeep of student-owned instruments is to be done at the expense of the student and/or their parents.

    3.  Instruments are to be placed in the student’s assigned instrument kennel at the conclusion of a rehearsal or performance.  No instruments are to be left on the loading dock or in the instrumental room.

    4. The director shall be notified of any instrument requiring repairs or maintenance.  A student may lose the privilege of borrowing a school instrument due to unnecessary carelessness. Should a student-owned instrument require repair, the student must notify the director immediately.   A minimum of 24 hours notice is required in the event a student needs to borrow a school-owned instrument while theirs is being repaired.

    5. No repairs are to be attempted by the student or anyone else.

    6.  There shall be NO playing of any instrument other than your own at any time.

    7. No decorations are to be applied to instruments.

    8. Instruments and music ONLY are to be stored in instrument kennels; books, clothing, or other personal belongings are to be stored in hall lockers.  Athletic equipment is to be stored in designated athletic storage areas.

    9.  Never disturb, move or use anyone else’s property without their permission.

    UNIFORMS

    1.  Uniforms will be issued to students during summer band camp.  It is the students’ responsibility to see that their uniforms are hung properly on the bus and at home.  Trousers should be hung carefully to preserve the crease for the next performance.  Keep the uniform in the garment bag when not being worn. 

    2a. The following uniform articles are provided to instrumentalists:

                Band Coat

                Band Bib-Trousers

                Band Hat with plume

                Garment Bag

                Hat Carrier

                Rain Coat

         Instrumentalists are responsible for providing:

                BLACK  “Drillmaster” Shoes

                White Gloves (plain cotton)

                BLACK  FULL LENGTH Socks 

    2b. The following uniform articles are provided to Flag/Rifle/Honor Guard squad members:

                Band Dress

                Hair Accessory

                Garment Bag

                Rain Coat

         Flag/Rifle squad members are to provide their own:

                BLACK  Boots/Shoes

                White Cotton Gloves

                Stockings (“Suntan” color)

                Socks

        Honor Guard  members are to provide their own:

                BLACK Boots/Shoes

                White “Sure-Grip” Gloves 

    2c. Band Managers

    Band Managers are to be dressed exclusively in black.  Like a good stage crew in a theatrical production, Band Managers cannot be dressed to attract attention from the drill, visuals and the music.  Band Managers shall provide their own:

                Black Trousers

                Black Short-sleeved T-Shirt or Polo Shirt (no graphics/logos) during warm weather

                Black Turtle Neck Pullover during cold weather

                Plain Black Jacket or Coat

                Black Socks

                Plain Black Shoes (no graphics/logos)

    UNIFORM PROTOCOL/PROCEDURES

    1.  Upon arriving at school for a game or other performance, students shall be in uniform with the exception of coat, hat, & gloves.   Suspenders must be worn UP over the shoulders in the proper manner at all times.  Coats must be in the garment bags provided, hats are to be in the plastic carriers provided.    Raincoats are considered part of the full uniform when specified by the director.

    2. Regardless of the weather, the band T-shirt MUST be worn under the jackets.   Additional trousers may be worn under the band pants so long as they do not show.

    3.  When in public, coats are closed and collars are buttoned at all times unless otherwise instructed by the director.

    4.  No alterations are to be made to uniforms without the permission of the director.  No uniform is to be cut in any way.

    5. Uniform trousers are to be worn at all times with suspenders UP.  Do not change clothes on the bus, even if you are wearing additional shorts or pants.  Jackets are to be returned to YOUR garment bag and hats shall be put back in YOUR  carrier.  Do NOT put hats, hat boxes, or raincoats in the garment bags.  It is the responsibility of the student to keep track of their uniform item numbers.

    6. Missing or damaged uniform items will be charged to the student at individual per item replacement cost. 

    7. Uniforms shall be hung neatly and in garment bags when not being worn.  Uniforms have been dry-cleaned and pressed at the time they are distributed to the students; under normal conditions and with proper care it is not necessary for them to be cleaned during the year.   The cost of any cleanings or repairs required as a result of student conduct will rest with the student/parent. This includes food stains, grass stains, grease, dirt and/or oil from instruments, etc.  Collar inserts are removable and should be machine-washed often.

    8.  No non-uniform clothing of any kind is to worn except when in the bleachers and then under the uniform or under the raincoat.  In cold weather, Band Front/Honor Guard members are permitted to wear ONLY black or navy blue sweatpants under their uniform while in the stands; they MUST be removed when leaving the stands for any reason.  No non-uniform hats are to be worn at any time except those available through Southern Lehigh Music Parents.

    9.  Only black full-length socks are to be worn for performance. "Anklet" socks are NOT acceptable at any time.

    10. Drillmaster shoes & black boots are to be clean/polished at all times.   They can be more easily maintained if they are cleaned as soon as they are soiled.  Use a soft cloth, warm water and a mild detergent.

    11.  Long hair is to be worn “up” or in a bun (Bandfront - in a bun on crown of head with a hair net).  Jewelry is prohibited for safety reasons and students will be asked to remove it.

    12.  Refrain from wearing heavy make-up.  Neutral eye shadow and clear lip gloss are best.  Use of any other make-up for special events must be cleared with the director and/or bandfront instructor no less than two days in advance.

    13.  Service pins, as described below, are the ONLY pins that may be worn on the band uniform.  Students will be asked to remove all other pins and/or decorations.

    SERVICE PINS

    The Band, from its treasury and from the funds collected under the Accessory Fee, will provide to all band members the following service pins: 1st Year, 2nd Year, 3rd Year, and 4th Year.  

    Perfect Attendance - Students who achieve perfect attendance at Band Camp will be awarded the “Perfect Attendance - Camp” pin, also at no cost to the student. 

    Officers - Students elected to the following offices will receive corresponding pins:  President, Vice-President, Secretary, Treasurer.  Students appointed to offices or chosen by audition will receive pins corresponding to their rank/office:  Senior Drum Major, Flag Captain, Sergeant-at-Arms, Section Leader.  

    Honors - Students who have maintained a combined A+ average (98% or higher) for all four quarters of the previous school year will be awarded “Superior Band” pin.  Students who receive pins from participation in county, District or Region level ensembles are entitled to wear those pins on their uniforms.

    Students who have attained a score of “100” or greater on the standardized seating test will be awarded a “100 Plus” pin.  The pin will be awarded as soon as the test results are announced.

    Students who, in the previous year, have been selected to jazz band by audition will be awarded a “Jazz Ensemble” pin.

    Lost Pins - Students who have lost pins will be financially responsible for their replacement if they wish to do so.  Cost to replace lost pins will be $3.00 each for the 2012-13 school year. 

    MUSIC

    1. Marching music is issued during band camp.  You are responsible for your assigned part regardless of past or present seating in concert band.  No changes are to be made in part assignments without the consent of the director.

    2. Each woodwind/brass instrumentalist is issued a numbered folio with music and is responsible for their own music.  You must return the entire folio & music at the conclusion of marching season.  Any lost/damaged music or folios must be replaced at the expense of the student.

    3.  Percussion instrumentalists are issued their own copies of parts.  Should a student lose a part the responsibility of replacing that part rests with the student.

    4. Instrumentalists are responsible for being able to play their part.  Consult your section leader or the director for help where required. 

    5.  Music/routines are to be practiced at home.  Band rehearsal time is for assembling, refining and polishing performances.

    6.  During concert season, it is possible that students will be sharing folders.  Folders may be taken home for practice and completion of requirements, however it is the responsibility of the student borrowing the music to see that it is returned in time for the next band rehearsal.  

    OFFICERS

    ELECTED OFFICERS AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES

    President - The President serves as the principal student officer in the Band, and as the band representative at various functions throughout the year. He/she shall serve as the student liaison to the Southern Lehigh Music Parents.  The President shall preside at meetings of the Band, shall coordinate the other officers and their activities and serves as the Band spokesman.  The President must verify any expenditures of the Band before they are submitted to the Central Accounts System for payment.

    Vice-President - The Vice-President assists the President and shall assume the duties of the President if the President is absent or unable to carry out the functions of the office.  In addition, the Vice-President will serve as the publicity chairman for all Band events and performances.

    Secretary - The Secretary will handle attendance at rehearsals and be responsible for all Band correspondence.  The Secretary will take notes at meetings of the Band to provide a written record of business/decisions of the Band.

    Treasurer - The Treasurer will assist the Director in handling all moneys of the Band.  The Treasurer is empowered to collect money due to the Band and make deposits to the Central Account System.

    Elections for these offices shall be held in the spring for the following school year.  Students from the current freshman, sophomore and junior classes are eligible for all offices.  Current seniors in the band may nominate candidates for office, however they do not participate in the voting.  Students may be a candidate for more than one office.  In the event a student is elected to more than one office, they must choose the office they wish to hold.  The vacant office will be assigned to the candidate with the next highest vote total for that office. 

    APPOINTED OFFICERS AND THEIR RESPONSIBILITIES 

    The director will appoint students to the following positions:

    Section Leaders - Section leaders should be individuals of solid technical and musical ability in order to serve as role models for their section.  In section rehearsals they need to be able to detect and correct playing errors.  They should be capable of playing any and all parts within their section and be willing to demonstrate advanced techniques to younger players.  Section leaders may be called upon to take attendance for their section in early morning rehearsal and/or homeroom.

         The director will approach selected students in the spring to be considered for sections leader responsibilities the following fall.  Section leaders are drawn from all classes and need not be seniors.  Sections may include: Flute/Piccolo, Clarinet, Saxophone, High Brass, Low Brass and Percussion.  Some sections may have more than one leader depending on the number of members in the section.  Division of the Band into sections may change depending on instrumentation changes over the years.

    Section leaders shall be responsible to conduct or coach section rehearsals during band camp, within the general rehearsal or before or after school if needed. Section leaders may be asked to coach individual students.  Section leaders will tune their respective sections at all performances of the marching band and possibly at performances of the concert band.   Section leaders are charged with checking uniforms of their section for fit and neatness at all performances, and are permitted to make adjustments as they deem necessary.  Section leaders shall ensure that all members of their section are seated together in the bleachers.  Section leaders may distribute parts to members of their sections as required.

    FIELD STAFF 

    In the spring of each year, students interested in becoming Senior Drum Major will be auditioned from the freshman class.  After a period of training, the most outstanding candidate(s) will audition for a panel comprised of the Director, the Flag/Bandfront instructor and past drum majors.   Candidates will be chosen on the basis of their performance in the audition and their potential as a student leader. The successful candidate will be sent for intensive instruction over the ensuing summer at a cost to be divided by the Band, the Music Parents of Southern Lehigh, Southern Lehigh H. S., and the candidate.  Upon successful completion of training the successful candidate(s) assumes the rank of Field Captain for their sophomore year.   Field Captains rise to the rank of Junior Drum Major in their junior year, and to the rank of Senior Drum Major in their senior year.

    Field Captain - The Field Captain(s) will assist the Junior and Senior Drum Majors in the instruction of the Band in basic marching and maneuvering techniques.  The Field Captain may be called upon to conduct section instruction, remedial instruction, or work with the full band. 

    Junior Drum Major - The Junior Drum Major(s) will fulfill all the responsibilities of the Field Captain, and will conduct at least one selection in the Fall field show.

    Senior Drum Major - The Senior Drum Major(s) has all duties as described above, and is the primary conductor of the Band in the Fall field show and in parades.  The Senior Drum Major(s) may be called upon to rehearse the entire Band as instructed by the Director.  The Senior Drum Major(s) shall put together the telephone chain system to be used to notify Band members of any changes in itinerary due to inclement weather or other circumstances.

    Flag Sargeant - This position is appointed by the Flag/Bandfront Instructor.  The Flag Sargeant will be sent for training during the summer following appointment as described above for Field Captain.

    Flag Captain - This position is appointed by the Flag/Bandfront Instructor.  The Captain is to carry out the duties assigned by the Flag/Bandfront instructor, including, but not limited to, general practices, section practices and individual coaching.   The Captain shall have charge of the Flag/Bandfront squad when not under the general direction of the Director, Flag/Bandfront Instructor or Senior Drum Major.   The Flag Captain shall assist the Senior Drum Major(s) in the preparation of the telephone chain.

    All of the above described officers, both elected and appointed, shall comprise the student advisory group who will work with the directors on a variety of matters pertaining to the Band.   They meet at the discretion of the Director, the Flag/Bandfront Instructor, the President, the Senior Drum Major(s) or the Flag Captain.  Any Band member with a personal concern who does not feel they can approach the Director is encouraged to see any of the above officers.

    Quartermaster - This position is appointed by the Flag/Bandfront Instructor.  The duties of the Quartermaster include communicating with the Flag/Bandfront Instructor to determine what equipment is needed for class, practice, or performance, and to make sure all equipment is on hand/loaded on the equipment trailer prior to departure and put away upon return to the building.  Any equipment in hand at the conclusion of the performance shall be collected and taken to the equipment trailer and secured prior to travel.  The Quartermaster is empowered to ask other members of the Flag Squad for assistance.

    Managers - These students are volunteers or designated by the Director and/or Flag/Bandfront instructor.    They are to accompany the Band for all field show and parade performances.  They are to handle equipment to and from the practice field and performance venues, equipment exchanges during rehearsals and performances and other duties as may be required.  Managers are an integral part of the performance in spite of the “behind the scenes” nature of their work.  For this reason they are considered part of the Band and are to be assigned to the Band Homeroom.

    Announcer - This position is appointed by the director after a suitable audition, if required.  The announcer shall accompany the Band at all performances of the field show.  The announcer may assume the role of manager for parade events.