Frequently Asked Questions by Band Parents
Why Should I Do This? The primary reason for the booster organization is to support your children. The music, showmanship, spectacle and pageantry of the marching band experience are also reasons that you may participate as a band booster. The friendships you will make and the enjoyment of participating in this activity are other benefits you will realize. But first and foremost, this is for your child and his/her classmates.
What Can I Do? There are hundreds of things that you can do to be active as a booster. One of most important things you can do is to attend booster meetings. These meetings are where you should ask questions and voice your concerns and ideas about the organization’s activities. This is where the decisions are made, and you should be part of that. Additional ways to help out are to volunteer to chaperone, participate in fund raisers, help out with band camp, or work on the “Pit Crew”.
I Am New, Do They Really Need Me? Regardless of your occupation or area of experience there are many services you would be able to provide to a band program. The following is an incomplete list of occupations or professions that would be great assets to a band program: Accountants, Nurses, EMTs, Paramedics, Doctors, Welders, Equipment Operators, Electricians, Sound Technicians, Website Designers, Carpenters, Truck Drivers, Cooks, Metal Workers, Machinists.
Another important thing to do as a new band parent is get involved right away; do not wait for someone to ask you to help. Many times a small nucleus of members do the majority of the work. There may be several reasons for this, but many times it is because they fear rejection from other parents, do not know who is willing to help, or are too busy getting things done to recruit new members. New band parents are like new band students because they are “not new by the end of the season”. First year marchers are expected to learn their music and march their drill just like the seniors. First year band parents should do the same. Do not wait a year or two to get involved. The time will go by much too quickly.
If you are an experienced member of the boosters, you should try to make other members feel welcome and needed. You may have to go outside your comfort level and introduce yourself to new members and make them feel like part of the team.
Why Are They Always Doing Fund Raisers? Tens of thousands of dollars are spent each season on fielding a marching band. Some programs will spend over $100,000.00 each year for their program. In most cases, the band boosters must generate this money. Several events will have to take place to raise the needed funds. Some of the expenses that a band may incur are: Uniforms, uniform cleaning, fuel, busses, bus drivers, food, drill design, music arrangements, band staff, lodging, band camp and school instrument repair. If you pay a band fee it probably pays only a small portion of all the expenses that a band has to pay during the year.
What About the Day of the Contest? Make sure you child is at school at their appointed time. Most directors send home an agenda for each competition along with driving directions. Most directors and booster organizations have their own rules that must be abided by to make your day run smoothly for everyone involved.
When your band is traveling to a competition, please remember to send the necessary items with your child so that they have everything they need to make their day complete. Send them with a pillow and blanket especially if they are traveling a long distance. Make sure your send them with the correct color of socks they need to wear with their uniforms, as well as a change of clothes just in case you have a rainy day competition. The student should have the appropriate equipment: reeds, sticks, band shoes. Students usually bring along some kind of snacks to share with each other along the way. (Be sure to check with your Band Director since some Director’s don’t allow eating and drinking on their buses). Give them some spending money should the Director decide along the way to stop for a snack, and to purchase food for themselves at the competitions if your booster organization does not provide for them after their performance. Send them on their way with a hug or kiss and make sure you wish all the best to the rest of the students to make sure that they know you will be there for support.
Do you have any suggestions about watching the bands? You should try to arrive at least an hour or two before your band is to perform. We feel that it’s a great tribute to the other schools to know that you support all bands at the event. Sometimes this isn’t possible, but the Class A and Class AA Bands usually have the fewest people in the stands simply because some attendees only want to see their child perform. A great incentive for students to perform better is to have a responsive crowd in the stands. Be supportive of the hosting school by purchasing a program of the day’s activities, which include the bands that are competing that day, in what order they’ll be performing, and other information about their show. Proceeds from each competition are used by the host school band to fund their activities during their season. Check out the booths, food, and refreshment areas before finding a seat in the stands. This will avoid you having to crawl over people once the competition begins. Please be considerate of other bands by showing your support at the end of their performance. They have worked hard to prepare their show and appreciate your support. Please be respectful of all participants and spectators while you are in attendance. There is an article on contest etiquette available on the kyband.com website that you can share with your booster organizations or reprint in contest programs at http://kyband.com/documents/showetiquette.doc. Band students are to be commended for their tireless efforts to get a show prepared for a competition season. Whether or not your band receives what you conceive as a good or bad review by the judges, please be considerate of all the bands, and let them know that you support them no matter what the outcome is on any given day.
A closing request: In closing, we would like to say that regardless of the capacity that you serve as a band parent, from an active booster president to cheering in the stands, that the choice to support your child is something you will not regret. If you are currently not a member of your local booster organization then we invite you to get involved. Please be assured that they want and need your help. If you are an active band parent/band booster, on behalf of your child and all band members, we would like to say thank you.
Mr. Thomas Schwartz/State Coordinator
KY. State Band Boosters/Band Parents Organization