FRESHMAN CORNER

Contests

Terminology

There are two types of contests.

  • A “one and done”, meaning we go, perform, get our score and leave.

  • A “prelims & finals”, meaning there are two phases to the contest.

    • In the preliminary round there could be from 15 to over 30 bands performing, usually about every 15 minutes with some breaks throughout the day. Sometimes, after the last band performs, there will be an exhibition performance by the host school while the judges tally the scores.

    • Depending on when in the schedule we perform during prelims, the kids will take off parts of their uniforms, eat lunch, relax, etc. Sometimes the students will go sit in the stands to watch the remaining bands.

    • Then, they have a prelims awards ceremony.  The awards ceremony takes about 15 minutes. Awards are typically given out by Division (for example: 4A, 5A, 6A). Some contests also have caption awards for different aspects of the show (best music, best guard, best general effect, etc...). Then, finally the top 10-12 overall rankings (regardless of Division).

    • If we advance to the finals, the directors will get a finals performance time.  The kids will get back into uniform, warm up again and perform the show again.

    • Lastly, there will be a final awards ceremony.

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Etiquette

During most competitions, no one is allowed to walk up into the stands while a band is performing. So when you are planning your arrival, give yourself plenty of time to park and get to a seat before our performance time.

Parent Checklist

Contest days can be long for parents too!  There are some things you might consider bringing with you.

  • Sunscreen

  • Bug Repellent

  • Bottles of water (this can get expensive if you buy it from concessions)

  • Portable snacks (granola bars, Goldfish, crackers, raisins, fruit snacks, etc)

  • Cash for concessions

  • Lawn/Camp Chair

  • Umbrella (for rain AND shading the sun)

  • Hat

  • Rain Poncho

  • Camera!

  • Tylenol/Band Aids/Tissues (You will be surprised how often you use these!)

Down Time

If we have an early prelim performance time, there could be hours in between performance and awards.  So, what do parents do during the long contest days?  Some hang out at the truck.  Some parents stay in the stands and watch all of the bands perform. 

 

Depending on the location of the contest some may go home and come back.  There are often groups of parents that will go somewhere for lunch. 

 

If you are hanging out at the truck, you could bring a camp chair and possibly an umbrella to shield the sun.  There are also some parents that have little kids at home that don’t want to bring their kids out all day at a contest.  Mr. Skembos will usually announce our prelim results via Remind, so you will know when the finals time is so you can come to see finals.

Swag & Costs

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All contests sell souvenirs.  There is usually a shirt designed for each contest with the year.  There are also patches for the contest (again, with the year).  If you think your kids might want a t-shirt, budget $25-$30.  Patches are around $5.  And, all contests (with the exception of UIL Region) have admission fees.  You can either buy just prelims, just finals or an all-day pass.  Each contest is different in how much they are.  Mr. Skembos tries to include information about admission and parking in the detailed itinerary he sends for each contest.

Various Contest Tips

We go to a variety of contests each year, but there are two that are consistent each year.

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UIL Region Marching Contest – This is a one and done contest. Think of it like you do the UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest that occurs in the spring. Each band performs their marching show and they receive a rating of 1, 2 or 3 from the three judge panel.

 

UIL Area Marching Contest - This is a prelims and finals competition and usually occurs at the end of October. 

There are some competitions that enforce rules on what kinds of bags are brought into their stadiums. Mr. Skembos tries very hard to let us know beforehand, but sometimes he doesn't know until we get there. Most stadiums only allow clear backpacks. Other stadiums may enforce a size limit. Most competitions have a website you can see details of and those kinds of things are often times listed.

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Traveling Overnight

There are some contests that require the band to travel and stay overnight in another city.  When this happens, the kid’s hotel, food and entry fees to each venue are usually covered in your band fair share fees.