Small Band vs. Large Band

Question: How can it be fair for a small band to compete against a large band?

Answer: Since KMEA switched last year to classes based on school enrollment, this has been a hot topic. Actually, I think Kentucky is one of the few states where you regularly see the smaller bands being very competitive with the larger groups. When evaluating music or visual performance, keep in mind that those adjudicators are constantly sampling not only the entire ensemble but smaller groups as well (sections, individuals, etc. depending upon their vantage point). If a band with 30 members is showcasing the same range of responsibilities as a band with 160 members (and assuming the level of excellence is consistent among the two), you would expect those two groups to score very similar in those captions. Within the effect captions, it’s all about the packaging as well as the performance level. I’ve seen some programs from smaller units that have been brilliantly designed to take advantage of that particular group’s strengths and level of talent. I’ve also seen larger groups that have not utilized design elements well and frankly have had mediocre performance levels at best. In the end, it all ties back to the criteria on the sheet. If a small band is achieving at a certain level of criteria and a large band isn’t, then by all means the smaller group should score higher. 

– Mark Culp