gold Brigade Band & Guard Parent information
This information has been put together by a group of parents who spent a large portion of their “rookie year” in various stages of confusion. In the many hours spent together watching practices and performances, waiting to pick up kids, and following yellow school buses, we asked lots of questions.
As novice band parents, of course we wanted to know what we should do. We wanted to share with the “upcoming rookie parents” some of the answers to these many questions before we too forget how it felt not knowing what was going on…(of course we still don’t have all the answers)! In fact, if you think of something that you feel should be added to this page, email a director and they will get it on this page ASAP!
Being a member of the Warren Central High School Band Program will bring your children an incredible, fulfilling, life changing educational experience. They will work hard and experience many triumphs, as well as disappointments; two things that will prepare them for the real world after high school.
We sincerely hope this guide will answer some important questions about time management, time commitment, band fees and how to pay for them, fundraising, and uniforms. We would also like to give you some “insider” information on what it takes to be a band student, and a band parent!
How will my child have time for all of this and still be able to make good grades ?
How will our children have the time to go to early morning rehearsals, perform at eight to twelve Friday night football games, and compete on Saturdays? How will they have the time to do all of this, within a three-month period, and keep up their grades??
TIME MANAGEMENT will be the most important tool that your children will acquire when they become members of the Warren Central Band.
The students quickly learn that they must use every minute of their day wisely. The time not spent in practice has to be spent doing schoolwork, there is no other choice and they know that. At any given time, you will find students in the band room, out in the hallway, or in any other space available doing homework. This is taught to them when they first join the program and it is expected of them. Remember that most band members are Honors, Dual Credit, or AP students, and the largest group of students in National Honor Society are in the band and color guard.
Your student will learn how to keep a schedule, how to be punctual, and how to set priorities.
During the Spring Semester, a detailed schedule will be distributed to all band students. It will list every rehearsal, football game, and competition your student will be required to attend for the YEAR. You can also view this schedule on the Band’s web site at www.WCPeformingArts.com and this schedule will now become a permanent attachment to your refrigerator.
Your child will also become punctual. They will be taught the meaning of the phrase…“Early is on time, on time is late!”
Finally, your child will learn how to set priorities. No longer will you see your children staring mindlessly at the television, or playing PS4 or computer games for hours upon hours (well, most of the time!). Band rehearsals and homework will now fill their free time. (If only the band program could teach them to make time to take out the garbage without being reminded 100 times!!!)
“Early is on time, on time is late!”
Does my student really have to be at all of these rehearsals?
Rehearsals are mandatory. One absent member will disrupt rehearsal for all members of the band. To be able to put the best possible musical and visual product on the field, the staff and directors need for all members of the band to be present during all scheduled rehearsals. Please see the band handbook for the consequences of missed rehearsals. Your membership depends on consistent participation. Management of a band this size is a monumental task and it becomes next to impossible if members of the band are absent. We believe that it is an important life lesson to know the difference between feeling sick and being sick. Please help your student make every effort to be there.
How Do Parents Get Involved?
PARENT INVOLVEMENT = A SUCCESSFUL BAND PROGRAM
Getting involved in the band and color guard program will give you the opportunity to share with your child the last four years of their education, these years that go so fast and are rarely enjoyed by many parents. Your child might say they rather not have you around, but most parents actually learn that in reality they appreciate your involvement and will thank you in the future.
Warren Central has always been fortunate to have a very supportive group of parents. The band and guard parents are needed to support the directors, and help with the details of fundraising, transporting, feeding and watering an organization this size. The band and guard needs parents to be able to function; it is for this reason that we urge you to get involved. Join one of the many committees; we need your help. Grandparents, siblings, or any member of your family can get involved and make a difference. BE A PARENT VOLUNTEER, it is a great way to meet the parents and the kids your student will be spending much of their time with for the next few months.
The easiest way to volunteer is by attending the monthly Gold Brigade meetings where you will learn more about the program and where it needs your help. Meetings are often scheduled in conjunction with when you would pick up your child from rehearsal. We also do A LOT of communication via email...so you are able to obtain and respond to information when it is convenient for you!
Another easy way to help is with performance prep. It is a tradition that the band parents set up a meals or helps load equipment for the kids prior to every home game. They also provide meals and snacks during competitions. Any and all help is greatly appreciated, even if it is just dropping off needed supplies when asked. Without you, the Gold Brigade parent, the band and guard could not be as successful as it is!
Don’t just sit in the car, get out and ask, “How can I help?” It is fun and you meet the other parents with the same interests as yours. As a guideline, it is recommended that every family contributes at least 20 hours to the Gold Brigade per season.
How Do We Keep Informed?
The best options are Email, REMIND, MyMusicOffice, and the Performing Arts Department Website. MyMusicOffice is integral to the functioning of our band and has lots of ways for you to get involved and volunteer, as well as keep up with your student’s fees, grades, and more. Both Charms and the website are places that you will want to visit often not only to keep informed, but also to view the most recent pictures of the band’s activities. It is here that you will find the latest information on all upcoming events and fundraising opportunities. The directors use REMIND for reminders and updates when the band is out of town. Check out the link on the band webpage to get hooked up. Also, make sure to visit our web site. You will find rehearsal times, schedules, handbooks, trip info, and much more!
How Do We Pay For This?
There are many questions about the economic impact of the Gold Brigade. While middle school programs traditionally do not have fees, the high school band program is very different. When we hear the bottom line, we sometimes wonder how we are going to be able to raise the funds needed for our children to be able to continue the pursuit of their musical interest. We do not want the economic factor to keep any student from participating in band. Some of the most successful fundraisers are the football concessions, laundry soap sales, Scrip cards, and many other ideas that come up throughout the year. The best way to learn about these fundraising opportunities is by keeping informed; and the best way to keep informed is by checking the weekly email newsletters and the band web site all year long.
The fee schedule for membership is broken down into regularly scheduled payment amounts. You can deposit smaller amounts into your child’s account ahead of the payment due date. This can be done all through the year so you don’t have to come up with all the money at one time. Due dates are not flexible and late fee penalties are possible; however, unique circumstances can always be discussed and worked out with a director or the treasurers.
Uniforms, Uniforms – What Do They Wear?
Marching Band Rehearsals: Wear comfortable athletic shoes, closed toe, no flip flops. Cool clothes are a must in the summer months!
Football Games & Competitions: Uniform Guidelines are available in your Band Handbook. Each season is unique and may have different requirements. The following are ALWAYS required:
- Black marching band shoes – These are special marching band shoes that clean up well with shoe polish. They must be purchased in addition to your band membership fee and can be re-used every year your child is a member.
- Compression shirt and shorts shorts to be worn under uniform for group changes. Students will change into and out of uniform in front of everyone, so they must have under uniform clothes.
- Gloves (some years we use gloves, some years we don't). One pair is included in your band fee. Students who need them after that will pay $3 a pair.
- LONG Black socks are required (no marks or logos) We suggest having several pairs exactly alike. (Dryers love to eat socks.)
Color Guard uniforms change from year to year.
Tips to remember while in uniform:
- You must either be in full uniform or completely out of uniform, meaning the jacket and pants are 100% on or 100% off. The uniform should be worn with pride and must not be seen as sloppy. Shakos (hats) and gloves need not be worn at all times.
- No visible jewelry – One small hoop is permitted in each ear
- No make up (Guard is the exception, it is part of the uniform)
- Colored drinks, condiments, and any other messy or greasy food is not to be eaten while in uniform. Water only.
Are There Really Inspections?
Inspections are held before games. Students should be in place no later than the time they were told to report. Your student and their instrument will be inspected by section leaders. Students who don’t pass inspection will have their grade for that performance lowered. The biggest causes of this are usually short socks, missing socks, and/or wrong colors of socks or gloves.
Helpful Hints to Save You Time and Grief:
- Make your child responsible for being prepared. The first time they forget something will be the last!!! They learn to be resourceful when they have to be.
- At the end of each practice session there are usually announcements – listen up. This is your best opportunity to find out who, what, where and when things are going on.
- Communication is crucial. If there is something that comes up and you need help getting your student to or from rehearsal/performance/etc., let a director know and start calling other parents. Section leaders are also great resources when you’re in a pinch. They know how important it is to have everyone there on time.
- Network – This is how we meet each other. It is also one of the best ways to get helpful hints on band parenting from others.
- Carpool to competitions.
- Be prepared to cheer! The band loves it when they have their own cheering section. Sit with other WCHS Band Parents.
- Don’t put uniform items away in the closet or drawers when cleaned. Keep all items (socks, band shirt, gloves, etc.) in a bag. These tips will save time spent hunting for them each time they are needed. Uniform jackets and pants will always be kept at the band room or on the trailer. Shoes and gloves are occasionally sent home to be cleaned/polished. Make sure they get sent back!
- Keep extra gloves, socks, needle & thread, etc. in your car or purse just in case.
- Visit MyMusicOffice and the band web site to stay informed.
- Make sure all of your contact information is correct in MyMusicOffice.
Terms and Phrases:
- Rehearsals start at 6:00pm usually. “Early is on time, on time is late!” -- ARRIVE 15 MINUTES EARLY TO EVERYTHING. When you drop your child off at 5:45, there will be students already there, ready to play. At this point, the anxiety level for being late dramatically increases. The band actually takes the practice field for warm-ups around 6:00. This is when your child will be sweating bullets. Always allow extra time. There are no excuses.
- “Where are your pages in sheet protectors or coordinate sheets?”
These are cards that students wear around their necks during band camp that tell them exactly where they stand for different setups, like first movement set 6. Students are all given a coordinated sheet holder. A good place to keep these is in their band binder or music folder.
- “Where’s my dot?” or “Do we line up on the hash?”
This does not refer to insects or food. These terms indicate how the practice field is marked off. Students use their coordinate cards to answer these questions.
- “Play to the box!”
This means that instruments should be directed toward the press box of the football stadium, where the powers-that-be live and flourish.
- “Oh, just sit where band parents sit.”
The driveway just outside of the band room is where parents who will be chaperoning meet and the trailers and buses are loaded. No food or drinks (except water) are allowed while in dress uniform, except when on break. A lot of band parents sit in the first section of the stands to the right of the band (facing the field), which is in the area of the 30-yard line.
- “Are you working the front ensemble?”
The front ensemble is a group of percussion instruments that travel on a trailer and are stationary during performances. Parents in the crew work feverishly to set up and take down the ensemble in record time, before and after a performance (and you think race pit crews are fast!!)
- “Last Time”
This can mean one more time, a few more times, it can mean you’re beginning to approach the road to the last time, or it can mean we’ll keep doing it until you get it right!
You Know You are A Band Parent When. . .
- You make three more trips than expected to drop off your child with everything they need.
- You carry spare gloves, needle and thread, safety pins, socks and duct tape in your pocketbook.
- You follow buses around all day on Saturdays
- You can’t pick your child out of the crowd because they all look alike.
- You no longer speak of your child as a fourteen-year-old daughter/son, but as a “freshman trumpet, freshman flute,” etc.
- You prominently display a band calendar in the kitchen, have band dates marked on the calendar in your purse and/or have the MyMusicOffice and band website in your favorites.
- You use your oven more for baking goodies for bake sales during home football games or treats, than for sit-down meals.
- You know that you will be wearing something maroon and white every Friday night and on Saturdays.
- Early is on time and on time is late.
- You don’t leave home without cushions to sit on, camera, and video camera.
- You are cheering with other band parents.
We are so glad you’re joining the family! Please let us veteran parents know if you have questions. We’ve been there and are happy to help you out with anything. YAY BAND!!