Include the Guard or Percussion in the Overall Band Score

Question: Why isn’t the color guard or percussion included in the overall band score?

Answer: These were actually two separate questions that I’ve chosen to answer at once since they are so closely related. This is a question that has been asked for many years.  First of all, the guard and percussion sections ARE considered by the other judges, not just the folks adjudicating those separate captions. The visual performance judges will sample both the guard and percussion evaluating everything from uniformity of technique, spacing and alignment within the forms, timing of equipment work, and recovery from error. The music performance judges will evaluate the percussion section with regards to technique, blend and balance within the ensemble (pit to battery as well as overall percussion to winds), and expressive qualities (i.e., dynamics). Both the visual and music effect judges consider integration within the overall program, staging, contribution to musical/visual impacts, and effective performer communication.  Each state or circuit “owns” their own parameters as far as their respective scoring methods. KMEA (as well as Mid-States, ISSMA, and BOA) believes that those groups should be evaluated as part of the “whole”, rather than separately. In all of the markets where I have judged, I’ve only encountered a single instance (Missouri) where individual guard and percussion captions contribute directly to the overall score. Missouri, however, doesn’t have any type of state-sanctioned governing body that regulates their sheets. Each independent contest can do whatever they want as far as the formula to determine the overall score.

– Mark Culp