How KMEA Marching Band Contest are Judged
The KMEA Marching Band Committee meets several times each year to review the rules and regulations for KMEA sanctioned marching contests and the State Marching Band Championship. They discuss items such as approving the sanctioned contest host, selecting the regional quarterfinal locations, approval of judging sheets and many other relevant items. The 2017 KMEA Marching Band Rules and Regulations Handbook contains 19 pages of information. This article covers some items that may be of interest to most spectators.
KMEA marching band competition season:
The KMEA season runs from the Saturday after Labor Day to the KMEA State Marching Band Championships. Bands that wish to qualify for the State Championship are limited to six marching band contests before the KMEA Regional contest. Non-sanctioned preview shows held before Labor Day do not count toward the six contest limit.
Qualifying for regional and state competition:
Bands that participate in a KMEA district level concert festival the preceding spring may become eligible to participate in the Regional Quarterfinals for the current year by attending at least two KMEA sanctioned events in the current marching season.
The Kentucky Music Educators Association has adopted the following ratings:
–Distinguished (superior) 80 – 100
–Proficient (excellent) 60 – 79.99
–Apprentice (good) 40 – 59.99
–Novice (fair) 0 – 39.99
The classification of bands is determined by the schools average enrollment in grades 9 – 12 from the previous two years as reported by the Kentucky Department of Education. Bands that submit an application to participate in the Regional Quarterfinals and beyond are divided into 5 equal groups.
Class A – the 20% that is smallest by school enrollment
Class AA – the 20% that is next to smallest
Class AAA – the middle 20%
Class AAAA – the 20% that is second largest
Class AAAAA – the 20% that is largest by school enrollment
Band Evaluation -There are 6 evaluators involved in the assessment of the bands. Of these, two evaluate music performance, two evaluate visual performance, one evaluates musical effect and one evaluates visual effect. Each adjudicator must complete a judges sheet and record a verbal assessment for each band.
Note: New judging sheets were adopted before the 2017 marching season.
Music Performance – Music Performance is divided into 2 sub captions: Musicianship (100 points) and Technique (100 points). Musicianship includes expression, consistency of timbre & sonority, balance & blend, style & interpretation and phrasing. Technique includes tempo & pulse control, clarity and accuracy of intonation, rhythmic interpretation and ensemble cohesiveness. Musical Content and progran construction is also assessed by the adjudicator to determine the level of opportunity for the performer to display their skills.
Visual Performance – Visual Performance is divided into 2 sub captions: Quality of Technique (100 points) and Accuracy and Definition (100 points). Quality of Technique includes uniformity of method/style, individual control, projection of style, recovery and understanding of roles. Accuracy and definition includes timing control, form control and interval/spacing.
Music General Effect – Music General Effect is divided into 2 sub captions: Effectiveness of Repertoire (100 points) and Performer Effectiveness (100 points). Effectiveness of Repertoire includes creativity of musical program, pacing/continuity, integration of all elements, range of expression and effectiveness of staging. Performer Effectiveness includes communication of roles, emotional range, performer intensity, projection of style and confidence.
Visual General Effect – Visual General Effect is divided into 2 sub captions: Effectiveness of Repertoire (100 points) and Performer Effectiveness (100 points). Effectiveness of Repertoire includes creativity of visual program, pacing/continuity, coordination/staging, interpretation of visual to audio and use of form, color and movement. Performer Effectiveness includes communication of roles, emotional range and artistry.
Entering/Exiting the Field and Time Factors – Bands may enter the field from any point. Each band is permitted to be on the field for a total of 14 minutes. During this period all set-up of equipment and personnel, the actual performance and removal of equipment must occur. A band may not begin its performance until they are announced to enter the field at their allotted time. The 14-minute clock begins at the time the band is announced, “And now entering the field at (time of performance), the (name) of the band, from (name of town).” Evaluation of the band begins at the time the announcement is made for the band to “take the field”. Evaluation ends with the final salute of the drum major.
During this 14-minute period, 6 to 10 minutes are allowed for the actual performance. Each band’s program must be more than 6 minutes in length but may not exceed 10 minutes in length. The 6 to 10 minute clock starts immediately after the announcement that the band “may take the field”. This announcement is made after the salute by the drum major. Timing of the 6 to 10 minute slot concludes with the final salute by the drum major at the end of the show. All equipment and personnel must clear the field prior to the end of the 14-minute period.
A band that exceeds its time limit will be penalized at the rate of one-half point for every 15 seconds or any portion thereof.
Tabulation – All scores are then combined and any penalties are deducted to determine each band’s final ranking and rating.
Music Performance – 2 judges (2 x 200 x .1 = 40 possible points)
Visual Performance – 2 judges (2 x 200 x .05 = 20 possible points)
General Effect Music – 1 judge (1 x 200 x .1 = 20 possible points)
General Effect Visual – 1 judge (1 x 200 x .1 = 20 possible points)
Total Score (100 possible points)
Ties – Ties will be broken by comparing Music Performance scores. If there is still a tie it will be broken by comparing Visual Performance scores. If after comparing both scores a tie still exist, duplicate awards will be given.
Awards – Awards for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place and ratings will be given to bands in each competitive class. Other placement awards (4th, 5th, 6th) are at the discretion of the contest host. In case of a pre-lims/finals contest, placement awards will be given in each class in the finals competition. If the finals are not separated by class (as in open class), a placement award will be given to each band in finals.
Other Awards (Guard, Percussion) – Other awards (guard, percussion, soloist, etc.) may be given by the contest host. These additional awards are not endorsed or required by KMEA. Drum majors may be evaluated but not ranked or scored. Many contest hosts give these additional awards to reward these sections for the uniqueness and additional practice hours involved in these activities. These optional awards must be evaluated by separate judges.
Regional and State competition – Bands that participate in a KMEA district level concert festival the preceding spring may become eligible to participate in the Regional Quarterfinals for the current year by attending at least two KMEA sanctioned events in the current marching season.
Regional competitions are held in two locations for each class in both the eastern and western parts of the State. The top eight scoring bands from each of the “Regional Quarterfinals” are then combined for a total of 16 bands in each class to compete in the semi-final rounds.
The semi-final round of competition is held during the day in five different locations around the site of the final competition on the same weekend as the state finals. From the 16 bands that compete in the semi-finals, four in each class are chosen to compete in the finals that evening.
This information in much more detail is available to your band director from the “2017 KMEA Marching Band Performance Assessment Event Rules and Regulations Handbook”Please Note: This information is correct to the best of our knowledge. Sources for this article include the KMEA Marching Band Performance Assessment Event Rules and Regulations Handbook and KMEA Marching Band Committee meeting minutes and the KMEA sanctioned contest judges sheets. You may reprint this article in a contest program or similar publication without permission of kyband.com. If you see any errors or know of any corrections we should make, please let us know. Also, if you have any questions about KMEA marching contest rules we will be glad to find the answer for you. kyband.com. Special thanks to Dr. John Stroube and John Fannin for providing information included in this article.