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Q: What is your marching philosophy? (who should be involved, why it should be a part of the band program, competitive/ not competitive, why it exists etc.)


We choose our music very carefully for the fall, so that we have a chance to teach musical expression.  Our philosophy is this:  give kids a great foundation in marching fundamentals, enhance their playing potential as an ensemble, and keep things positive.  Everyone is involved, and we only do one festival (the state festival, for a rating, not a ranking).  We hope to be entertaining to the crowd.  We feel that we give kids enough of an experience to go out and do collegiate/drum corp marching if they choose to, but we also don’t overwhelm them to the point of making them choose band over something else (choir, orchestra, sports, academics, jobs, etc.). 



Q: How is the rehearsal schedule set up once school starts?


We rehearse only during the band period, which is 4th hour every day.  We do not do any extra weekends or night practices for the whole band. Our students are able to participate in a wide variety of activities, including band, and get a good experience.  We are especially proud of the fact that we can do well at the state marching festival, scoring in the top of our class, and still focus on getting students into all-state band two weeks later (21 students in the all-state band last year: most in our district).  


Q: What are the summer requirements for marching season?


The Tiger Marching Band has a one-week workshop in August.  The workshop, or camp, runs from 9 am to Noon, and 1:30-4:00 pm every day.  The band directors and coaches have a great rapport, and students that are involved in other activities at the same time will not be forced to choose one activity over another.  All of the schedules and activities will work out together.


Many students are nervous about learning music, and about learning how to march.  We're not into push-ups, or running, or standing at attention for hours.  We believe in keeping things very positive, and working with all students to get everyone to improve throughout the week.  Our section leaders (junior and seniors) believe in working together with everyone in their sections, and take part in a six-hour leadership workshop the week before camp, with nationally-recognized leadership teacher Alan Feirer, from the company "Group Dynamic."  Our section leaders are some of the best students in the school, and do a great job of keeping things very positive and fun for everyone involved.  They serve as mentors not only for band, but also for life as a successful high school student.


Q: Who directs the band and what are rehearsals like?


Divide and conquer…we have two directors - Mr. Engelhardt and Mr. Ramsey.  One of us is mainly in charge of teaching the music, one of us is in charge of teaching the marching and drill.  


During rehearsal, we focus first on sounding good.  We have a consistent warm-up routine, and then we go into the movement and drill work for the day.  We plan the year out in advance so that our show progresses for each home game, with the week before contest reserved for cleaning the whole show, and not learning drill/music.


Q: Any other info about marching band and the way that your program is run that you feel is important information?


We give kids a great time in band, and have a positive experience in marching band.  Competition has a place for some, but our parents and students are happy to have the weekends free, and only do the one contest that we do.  They also want to see a great product, so the pressure is on to do well.  You can spend a ton of money and time on marching band, or you can approach it as a balanced part of your band program.  For the eight weeks that marching band lasts during the year, we feel our approach keeps things in perspective and allows students the chance to succeed in band and in other endeavors.  We like that our kids don’t have to choose our activity over other activities, even though we’re a large high school.

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