KMEA Band Classification

Question: Why did KMEA change the classification from band size to school size? It just seems unfair that a band of less than 50 members has to compete against a band with more than 200.

Answer: Since I don’t know all of the “inner workings” of KMEA or the Marching Band Committee, I can’t give you a fully detailed answer. However, I do know there was quite a bit of concern a few years back that the overall sizes of bands seemed to be continuing to decline from year to year and that some directors were possibly “limiting” the number of participants simply to remain in a lower class. All you had to do was to look at the program at the state contest – was it a coincidence that each of those 16 AA bands had EXACTLY 60 playing members each year? In addition, the proportion of Class A bands vs. the balance of the classes was huge (something like 80% I believe). By making the change to school size, the thought process was to encourage more participation and that the playing field would be a bit more level since similar sized schools would have similar sized enrollments from which to select their membership. Of note, Indiana has done it this way for years and there are very few complaints. In fact, one of the smallest bands this year ended up 5th in their class at the state championship, placing ahead of groups two and three times their size. Within some bands, you’ve already seen some noticeable growth in membership (Madison Central, Adair County, Dixie Heights, and Ryle immediately come to mind). Judges, however, should always be evaluating the QUALITY of the band vs. the QUANTITY. Is the system perfect yet? No – but in my opinion this was a step in the right direction for the long term growth of music programs.

– Mark Culp