1. Why should I join the high school band? Joining the band is beneficial because it allows you to have an immediate group of like-minded people, which is excellent for fast friends. By being surrounded by people who have been in high school, it also gives an introduction to how High School works prior to its start. It also teaches you time management, helps you refine your unique style of leadership, and helps you find yourself in a supportive group.
2. Is it like the Middle School Band? Nope, pop the ‘p’. It’s very different; the music is a lot more challenging because it’s no longer assuming you’re learning the instrument but rather improving on how to play it. The high school band is not set up by “grades” either. There is no “9th Grade Band”, “10th Grade Band”, etc. It is divided into groups based on ability and balance of the ensembles. Not only that, but there are also opportunities to explore music in your own way. Small ensembles with options to perform and (for experienced members) to direct, jazz bands, opportunities to arrange and compose, and groups that play everything from classical pieces to iconic movie soundtracks; there are infinitely more ways to enjoy what you do!
3. Is Marching Band the whole year? Yes and no— the extracurricular marching season ends around November-December, depending on our football season. However, we have our spring trip in the spring, and then leadership interviews roll around just after. So, while the marching season isn’t the entirety of the year, it will affect your whole year. The benefits of marching will likewise be felt throughout the entire year seen through personal improvements as a musician, both on and off the instrument.
4. What is the time commitment? Though the time commitment is rather great, it’s nothing you can’t do. We practice several times a week, the specifics can be found on the home page on the calendar. That being said, students in the marching band are all in the same boat. We help each other, academics are certainly no exception. With students in pretty much every class, it would be impossible not to find somebody who can help you. We have had past and current members in Governor’s School, on the wrestling team, in Civil Air Patrol, NHS, and much, much more. Being in the Marching Band does not limit achievement in academics or anywhere else. In fact, the senior drum major the 2019 season was the valedictorian! The commitment to the marching band is an excellent way to cultivate good time management skills.
5. Can I do sports and Marching Band? It depends— spring sports: yes. Fall and winter sports are possible but less so. As our competitions are almost always on Saturdays, it will interfere with meets with sports like Cross Country. As winter sports start conditioning around the time the marching band is winding down, it is easier to do a winter sport than a fall sport. Be sure to actively communicate with your coaches and Mr. Gillette to work out the specifics!
6. Is Marching Band Audition Based?Nope, anyone is capable of doing it. We do have auditions to be in a leadership position, and those are at the end of the year.
7. Are the concert Bands (Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Advanced Percussion Ensemble, Jazz Workshop, & Jazz Ensemble) Audition Based? Concert Band is not, Symphonic and Wind are audition-based, and the two jazz bands are placed based on your audition for the concert bands.
8. How will COVID affect Band/Marching Band? We’re not entirely sure quite yet. Our best guess is that if we’re not allowed to have large gatherings or march a show, we’ll focus on really hammering down on teaching marching techniques and playing stand tunes. As our response will frequently change with the emergence of new information, expect updates on the band website; www.forgepride.com.
9. What is student leadership, and how does it work? Student leadership is made of the various students who have duties to help teach and improve the band. Towards the end of the school year, there are interviews for whichever position you may want. The results are typically released at the Band Awards Night and take effect the following season. Student Leadership positions include office staff, the hard-working people who work to provide music and drill books, equipment staff, those responsible for making sure everything is set up, Drum Majors, Captains, Section Leaders, and more!
10. How do I get involved with student leadership? You audition for it and help Gillette throughout the year to get on his good side. :p In reality, the process is simple for you, not so much for the staff that chooses it. :). In the spring applications are released and you sign up for the position(s) that you want to fill. There is a written application and interview process that determines the who is in what position. The staff is selected by the Marching Band adult staff. They take into account your past history of general attitude, rehearsal attendance, rehearsal etiquette, dedication to the band program, amount of effort, and citizenship. This is not a position that starts and ends with marching band, but is something that lasts the whole year long. So, the amount of dedication and involvement in the concert/jazz groups is taken into account as well.
11. Do I have to be in the marching band to be in one of the concert bands? Definitely not, the marching band is it's own extracurricular, and while many people do both, it's not required. 12. Do I have to be in one of the concert bands to be in the marching band? Depends— the color guard section comprises students who don’t play in a band and come from the general student population. You don’t need to be in a wind band to be in this section. We also have orchestra students play percussion on the sideline. To do that, you need to be a member of the chorus or the orchestra. If you play a wind instrument, you need to be in one of the main wind bands (Concert, Symphonic, or Wind Ensemble). This is because all of the things we do in there will directly improve our musicality on the field which accounts for 60% of our score in competitions.
13. I am not a Freshman; can I still join as a Sophomore, Junior, or Senior? You can, though it’s a lot easier to start as a freshman - if you join later, you will have to work hard to catch up to your peers, but joining later isn’t the end of the world. We always accept those driven enough to participate at any point in their high school career! YOLO!
14. I am in orchestra or choir, can I do the marching band without being in one of the concert bands? Yes, you can still join without being in a concert band. A large portion of our sideline percussion and a smaller yet existent part of our drumline are in choir or orchestra. Some neither! If you don’t want to play an instrument but still want to be in the marching band, the color guard is another excellent option.
15. I want to be in the Color Guard, do I have to be in the regular Concert Band? You don’t! A lot of the guard is composed of people that are in orchestra and choir. There are even some that are in no performing groups. A background in dance is a plus, but not required.
16. If I do not have a reliable form of transportation to rehearsals/games/competitions, what should I do? Talk to Mr. Gillette or members of your section! We have plenty of Junior and Senior members who have their licenses and may be able to pick you up and drop you off from events. Transportation to events like competitions and games are always provided by the school, so members only need transportation from home to the school and back.
17. What can I do between school and night rehearsals? Can I go home? Can I stay at school? You can do either. We have vending machines, or you can bring some snacks and stay or go home and come back on time. If you stay, it is a perfect opportunity for you to do your homework. There are computers available, and Mr. G can even arrange for you to be in the library if you need access to that. Small ensembles can rehearse, you can practice your instrument, and more!
18. Will I have time to do the marching band with my school workload? Absolutely! It takes getting used to at first but, eventually, you get the hang of it and learn to manage your time. Time management is an incredible skill to learn for both your academic career and your life outside of high school, and the marching band helps teach it.
19. How much does it cost? Payment plans? $275-$320 plus shoes and guard/instrument rental fees if applicable. You don’t have to pay it all at once. Payment plans are an option, just talk to Mr. G if $$ is an issue.
20. How are the fees spent? The fee pays for the music for the show, the drill, show shirt, gloves, flip -folders/lyres (new members), food for competitions, logistics (truck rental/gas for trailer haulers), adult staff, props, costumes (Guard), flags, uniform costs (cleaning/repair), plus a whole lot more. It is a bargain for what you get. Memories are priceless!
21. Are there any big overnight trips? We have one in the spring where we spend a weekend as a band playing various places and then seeing amusement parks and/or different touristy places - just having fun. Every other year we head to Florida to visit either Disney or Universal. If you go on a trip every year from your freshman year through your senior year, you would be going to Disney once and Universal once, plus two other exciting destinations across the USA!
22. What does a typical rehearsal for the Marching Band look like? We usually start by warming up our muscles and doing some stretches; then, we’ll do practice block where we clean up and get used to marching. After that, we end up getting our instruments out and warming up, then we’ll clean the show and music.
23. What does a typical day of Marching Band Camp look like? We’ll do some icebreakers to get to know each other; then we’ll learn how to march and do some PT. When it’s not too hot, we learn the drill for our show, and we’ll occasionally split into sectionals by instrument or brass and woodwind sectionals to learn music. During some rehearsals, we practice the music we play in the stands at football games. After the first half of the day, we have an hour break for lunch; then we usually rehearse again in sections until break time and dinner. After that, we return to rehearsal in the cool(er) afternoon until the day is done!
24. Where can I find more information/event calendars for the band program? On the home page of this very website or in the Calendar section! www.forgepride.com
25. What are my options if I have food allergies? We make sure that the dietary needs of all members of the band are met. Whether you’re a vegetarian, pescatarian, vegan, gluten-free, or just have food allergies, meals can be provided that meet your needs during band camp.
Tell people, and we’ll serve you separately with a special version of the meal (fun!) - same goes with being vegetarian, vegan, pescatarian, or any other dietary needs. You can also bring your own snacks.
26. Where can I find the paperwork for signing up for the Marching Band? The home page of www.forgepride.com
27. How do I sign up for the marching band (where do I send the paperwork)? Easy! Just fill out as much of the paperwork as possible (Parent & Student Agreement, hydration, allergy, concussion, and send the $100 deposit to: Patrick Zimmerman P.O. 1347 Stafford VA 22554
Before you actively participate, you will need to make sure to have your physical and overnight form on file with us. All of these forms are in the packet found on www.forgepride.com