Middletown and Odessa High School

Marching Band

Student and Parent Handbook

Table of Contents:

  1. About the Marching Band
  2. Philosophy / Who can join?
  3. Requirements / Expectations
  4. Communication
  5. Attendance
  6. Grading
  7. Behavior
  8. Uniforms
  9. Expenses / Fundraising
  10. Equipment
  11. Parent Support
  12. Glossary of Marching Band Terms
  13. Medical Form / Booster Participation Form / Contract

Brian Endlein, Director

302-376-4141 x 5008




About the Marching Band:

Marching band is a musical ensemble that portrays its musical selections through the use of motion and visual concepts such as drill moves and use of Color Guard.  It combines music, athleticism, and choreography to generate entertainment.


The Cavaliers and Ducks stand for excellence both on and off the field. We look to bring out the best in each individual, and we strive to develop outstanding people through the pursuit of "pride in personal excellence".

The philosophy of the Middletown and Odessa High School Marching Bands is based on the belief that within every individual the potential for greatness exists. When the efforts of each individual are focused toward a common goal, and when each individual pursues that goal to the absolute best of his/her ability, the goal - no matter how lofty - will be achieved. Honesty, sincerity, respect, cooperation, dedication and the desire to achieve excellence are the qualities that bring out the greatness in all of us.

Every person in our organization is essential to its success, regardless of the position they hold. There are no performers who "sit on the bench" in marching band. Everyone is a “varsity starter” at every rehearsal and performance. All of us (students, staff, and parents) must work together to achieve our goals. From this cooperative effort comes a respect for each other that will allow us to change our goals into realities. We derive strength and courage from each other, working side-by-side toward excellence in rehearsal and in performance. Success is achieved through unselfishness, understanding and persistence.

We strive to create memories and friendships that will last a lifetime. This is accomplished working unselfishly together in rehearsal and in performance, toward a common goal of "pride in personal excellence". It is also accomplished through mutual respect, through a commitment to one another, through honesty and dedication. Those things that we cherish the most and that withstand the test of time are those, which have been created carefully and nurtured over a long period of time. The pride that develops as a result will be remembered not only this year, but for many years to come.

Who can join?

EVERYONE! Marching band is open to all interested participants as a co-curricular activity. While most rehearsals and performances will occur after school, students may elect to receive academic credit for their participation in the band. Many musicians find that marching band helps further develop their personal instrumental training, and the rewards of hard work pay off far after the competitive season is over.

Requirements / Expectations:

  1. BE PUNCTUAL! “To be early is to be on time, to be on time is to be late, and to be late is not to be.” The set schedule time is when rehearsal / performance begins. Arrive at the school before this scheduled time to allow you to:
  • Get your instrument
  • Prepare / move any equipment to rehearsal site (yard line markers, etc.)

  1. Learn a demanding list of repertoire over the course of the year.
  2. Practice all assigned repertoire as well as assignments outside of rehearsal.
  3. Come prepared to rehearse at each rehearsal. (Music, pencil, instrument, mutes, valve oil, reeds, water, etc.)
  4. Practice regularly at home.
  5. Behave appropriately at all rehearsals and performances. Remember, you not only represent yourself at various rehearsals and performances, but you represent your school and the MHS/OHS Music Departments! At the director's discretion, inappropriate behavior may lead to dismissal from the ensemble.
  6. Attendance at all rehearsals and performances is mandatory! THIS INCLUDES POST SEASON FOOTBALL AND OTHER PERFORMANCES! (ceremonies, parades, etc.)  Please refer to the “Attendance” section of this packet and the “Commitment Contract”.
  7. Maintain a high level of academic excellence.  Manage time efficiently so that schoolwork and marching band do not conflict.
  8. Practice teamwork and good sportsmanship at all times:
  • Try your best at every practice and during performances; to learn from your mistakes, accept constructive criticism, and not get angry with yourself or others for making a mistake.
  • Pay attention to and respect all instructors and parents.
  • Accept parts that the staff assign and give your best effort all times.
  • Be positive and encourage fellow members.
  • Take pride in our team, regardless of score or placement.

  1. Work hard and make good music!

Communication REMIND App:

Communication is key to the success of a program. We will use as many avenues as possible to ensure students and parents are informed such as email, our websites, Facebook, and Schoology. For immediate or direct contact with students and parents such as to communicate a change while at a performance, etc. we will use the REMIND app. Due to the participant size limitations of the app, we will have one for PARENTS and one for STUDENTS--Both will receive the same information. You can download the app by clicking the link above or through a simple text.

PARENT Group: Text @cavsparent to 81010

STUDENT Group: Text @cavstudent to 81010

Please note that we will be using these groups for both MHS and OHS since most communication will be relevant to both sets of students and parents. If something is only pertaining to one group or the other, it will be communicated via the app.


(our calendar can be found on www.middletownband.com/calendar):

Each member of the Marching Band will be expected to attend all rehearsals and performances including football games, parades, and competitions. Failure to attend rehearsals may result in removal from the group and a failing grade. Absences from rehearsals will only be excused with the direct permission of the DIRECTOR prior to the rehearsal being missed. Sending notice in with another student that you will not be attending rehearsal will NOT be considered an excused absence. Except for extenuating circumstances, excuses submitted AFTER an absence will not be excused.


  • YOU must CALL or present WRITTEN NOTICE (email preferred) stating the specific reason for any absences or tardiness from a rehearsal or sectional at least 24 hours before the rehearsal or sectional (please communicate sooner if possible!)
  • Illness, school functions, or special problems may be excused, provided notification is given in a timely manner.
  • Avoidable conflicts are unexcused (work, babysitting, lack of planning, etc).  
  • A follow up may be conducted with a parent should the absence be in question.


  • Major concerts, festivals, and marching band performances (including football games and parades) are required.  All of these are equivalent to a major test in band.  
  • This absence requires communication from the student and parent at least two weeks prior to the event.  Check www.middletownband.com/calendar!
  • It is STUDENT’S responsibility to ensure events that conflict with band performances or rehearsals are avoided.  PARENTS- please try to schedule flexible events (dentist/doctor visits, family functions, etc) to avoid conflicts with band.

Excused Absences from events will be granted as follows:

  • Death in the family – Student contacts the director by phone or in person as soon as possible before the absence.
  • Student Illness – Students contact the director by phone or in person BEFORE the absence.  If a student is sick during the school day, a parent may call.
  • Participation in a Middletown High School Event – All STUDENTS must communicate with the director for each event for approval.  Please do not assume that the director knows your schedule.
  • Other reasons for absence will be handled on an individual basis.  Parents may contact the director when problems arise but STUDENTS should be the PRIMARY contact. Help us to teach individual responsibility!

Unexcused Absences from events, resulting in possible dismissal and failure of class:

  • Bottom Line Up Front: No communication = automatic unexcused absence.
  • Work conflicts are UNEXCUSED.  Communicate with your employers well in advance so work and band are not a conflict.
  • Visiting relatives, special parties and dinners for birthdays, etc… are unexcused.

In order to ensure that we have full participation in rehearsals and performances, we, the MHS Marching Band Staff, have established the following list of attendance requirements.

  • If you have anything on your schedule that may conflict with the schedule, please discuss it with the director(s) BEFORE you commit to the activity. Remember: We will be as flexible as we can but you must COMMUNICATE!
  • Once the season begins, attendance is mandatory at all functions.  
  • Unexcused absences will have a negative impact on your grade.
  • Excused absences may be made up for credit
  • If you have an unexcused absence from rehearsal during the week, you will not perform in the performance that week and it will affect your grade.
  • If you have a second unexcused absence from a rehearsal, you will be dismissed from the marching band and fail the course.
  • An unexcused absence from a performance may result in your dismissal from your performing group at the discretion of the director.
  • For student leaders, 1 unexcused absence from rehearsal will result in loss of student leader status.
  • For the parents: While we recognize the importance of discipline, we would ask that you do not punish your child by not allowing them to attend a practice or a performance. Doing so punishes the entire group and hurts the group’s chances for success. We would request that you please choose disciplinary measures that limit the punishment to your child only. A practice missed because of punishment will have to be considered unexcused. We ask that you please take this into consideration before allowing you child to join this activity.
  • Emergency situations that arise will be dealt with on an individual basis by the appropriate staff member and band director.


All students receive .5 credit for participation so please make sure it is on your schedule! Marching Band is a PASS / FAIL course and the following items will be assessed each day.

  • Attendance
  • Participation / Preparedness / Attitude
  • Assigned Work (music marking, drill books, dot books)
  • Playing tests as necessary


The Appoquinimink School District Student Code of Conduct is in effect at all times. This includes at rehearsals, competitions, and bus rides to and from other performances. A copy of the Code of Conduct is maintained in the Director’s office should any student or parent need to reference specific items.

Remember, in and out of uniform, you represent the best that the Appoquinimink School District, and specifically, the Middletown High School music program have to offer. Be sure to conduct yourselves in a manner that is becoming of a young professional!



Band uniforms are designed to give a uniform appearance to all band members. Full uniformity DOES NOT allow for individual variation in dress. Therefore, all band members must look as much alike in uniform as possible. In order to achieve this end, all uniforms must fit and be worn in a uniform manner. LOOKING professional is just as important as ACTING professional.

At the beginning of the season, you were issued your marching band uniform. In order to be considered “complete”, your uniform must consist of the following items:

  • Aussie (MHS) or Shako (OHS)
  • Blouse w/ baldric, tail cape, and mirror (MHS only)
  • “Bibber” Pants
  • Black Gloves
  • Black Socks (no logos)
  • Black Marching Shoes
  • Show Shirt
  • Blue Jeans (always have a pair in case of inclement weather)

Band uniforms, for the most part, are owned by the school and loaned out to individual students with the understanding that they will be taken care of. Maintenance will be monitored very closely. This demands that while a student is in possession of a uniform, responsible care will be exhibited concerning the wearing and storing of the uniform. Students are restricted from wearing the uniform anywhere that is not a band activity and nor may they allow other individuals to wear any parts of the uniform. The purpose of a uniform is so that everyone looks alike. Because of this, all pieces of the uniform will be worn correctly and at all times.

Color Guard uniforms are themed and custom made for our show each year. Information regarding these items will be handled via the Color Guard instructors.



ALL parts of the uniform must be worn at ALL times unless otherwise indicated by the director. No individual variation in uniform wear will be allowed.

No chewing gum while in uniform.

Jewelry is NOT to be worn while in uniform. No nail polish! (exception: Guard makeup)

No bandanas, skull caps, etc. are to be worn underneath the aussie (hat). Ladies must use hair ties, (black or hair color) etc. to pin their hair up and keep it tucked underneath.

Uniform pants / jackets must be hemmed appropriately. There are SNAPS in the pants!

Uniforms should be neatly pressed and clean for each performance. This applies just the same for a football game as it would a competition or parade. While you did pay a one time dry cleaning fee at the beginning of the year, these uniforms will not officially be sent to the dry cleaners again by the school until the end of the season. Therefore, it is the student’s responsibility to maintain the uniform’s appearance in between performances. While dry cleaning is the best option, if an iron must be used, the uniform is not to be ironed directly on the fabric.  A towel or barrier between the fabric and the heat of the iron is a must.  Any uniform ruined due to improper care shall become the student's financial obligation.

Marching shoes should be free of dirt, mud, dust, etc. and maintain a shiny appearance at all times. This can be EASILY accomplished with a wet cloth and a small bottle of KIWI shoe polish. Your shoes WILL be inspected before a performance.

Examine the uniform after each use. Report any deficiencies (rips, etc.) to Mr. Endlein or one of the Band Boosters IMMEDIATELY.

Always hang up uniforms after a performance. Ensure that you allow the uniform parts adequate time to dry out before putting them back into a garment bag. This includes GLOVES as well!

Use of a garment bag is required to store and transport your uniform. Do not place any other items (text books, etc.) in your garment bag other than your uniform. The only exception to this rule is if the uniform is being worn, your “change of clothing” can be kept in the bag and then exchanged at the end of a performance.

Colorguard uniforms often require different care and information will be distributed with the uniforms.

Take your uniform HOME. The Band Room, practice rooms, and storage areas ARE NOT your personal clothing closets. EXCEPTION: In case of a performance during or immediately after (football game) the school day that requires use of the uniform, uniforms can be stored in the band room, provided they are hung up on the racks provided.


Please note due dates and “checks payable to” information!


Uniform Marching Shoes = approx. $30.00

Who needs to pay: New members and returning members who need replacements.

Due: At sizing during band camp. Details to follow

Band Supplies (lyre, flip folder, gloves, reeds, valve oil, etc…) = approx. $20

Who needs to pay: New members and any returning members that need to replace items.

Due:  At purchase during band camp. Details to follow


Guard Supplies (shoes, gloves, undergarments, etc.)= approx. $50

Who needs to pay: New members and any returning members that need to replace items.

Due:  TBD by Guard staff


Please note that if any family is having financial difficulties or is unable to pay by a certain date, that accommodations can and will gladly be made.  Please communicate these concerns to Mr. Endlein as soon as possible and a solution will be found.  NO STUDENT WILL BE DENIED MEMBERSHIP FOR FINANCIAL REASONS – these situations can always be solved as long as we communicat with each other.  Again, if these costs are in any way a financial hardship or might “tip the scales” towards the non-participation of a student, please contact Mr. Endlein to discuss options such as payment plans.


(302) 376-4141, ext. 5008


Fundraising and Trips:

By participating in band, students have the opportunity to participate in a wide variety of performances. Some of the costs associated with these performances involve travel and expense beyond the normal scope of the school budget. In order to participate in these events, students may be asked to help raise funds for their portion of the costs. If a student decides not to participate in a fundraiser, that student will need to find alternative means for contributing toward the trip cost or other expense. Remember, it’s up to you to put the FUN in FUNdraising!

Attending trips outside of the football/competitive schedule (London, Disney, etc.) are NOT a requirement of the course. They are privilege and are to be treated as such. Do not feel you cannot participate in band if you cannot afford to attend a trip.

Required Equipment/Supplies:

Note: Ensure your NAME is on EVERYTHING!

Band Camp and Rehearsals (all-members):

  • Instrument, rifle, flag, sabre, etc.
  • To include any required supplies (reeds, oil, etc.)
  • Music
  • Drill
  • Binder
  • Dot Book (3”x5” notecards or small notebook)
  • Colored circle stickers
  • Plastic Page Protectors
  • Flip Folder w/ Lyre
  • Pencil
  • Highlighter
  • Black Sharpie
  • Sunscreen (SPF 45+ recommended)
  • Lip Balm WITH sunscreen (SPF 15 or higher recommended)
  • Water Jug…we recommend gallon size or LARGER!
  • Weather (and SCHOOL) Appropriate Clothing
  • Light colored clothes work best in the summer
  • Wear layers in the colder months!
  • Hat
  • Sunglasses
  • Sneakers with socks REQUIRED by all members. NO SANDALS!
  • Required Medicines (Includes Inhalers, Epi Pens, etc!)
  • Lunch for Band Camp

Parent Support And Responsibilities:

The Participation of your student in this program will hopefully prove to be not only rewarding for your student but for you, the parents and guardians, as well. Please help us in establishing the proper attitude, showing support for what your child is doing by attending performances of the ensemble, and encouraging your son or daughter to practice at home.

The Band Booster organization is another great way to get involved with your child’s activity. We will need help chaperoning, building props, moving equipment, hosting our home band competition, etc. More information will follow from the Boosters!

Most of all, we welcome parental support as a cheering section (“Blue Crew”) when we perform. Parents are always welcome and encouraged to come at the end of rehearsals to listen. We are proud of what our students accomplish and we know that you will be also!

Glossary of Marching Band Terms for New Parents / Students

Auxiliary - see Guard.

Battery - Marching Band percussion section that carries drums and marches; is comprised of snare drums, bass drums, and quads (see Quads).

Cadence - The beat played by percussion during a parade to indicate the marching pace. Also played as the band marches off the field after a field show or rehearsal.

Caption awards - various awards a marching band can win at competitions, can include: Drum Major, Drumline, Auxiliary, Music, Marching, General Effect, Pit Crew, etc.

Color guard - see Guard.

Drill - the steps and positions that make up the Marching Band show. (see Sets)

Drill book - the notebook that holds each individual student's drill charts for the Marching Band show.

Dot book –A quick reference book that students fill out and carry with them at all times on the field to reference their location in the drill.

Drum major(s) - Student conductor(s) who direct the marching band as it plays.

Drumline - the entire percussion section of the Marching Band; includes both the PIT and the Battery.

Flags - flags/silks used by the Guard during a Marching Band show.

Front Ensemble - Also known as PIT.  See PIT.

Gauntlets - wrist and lower-arm covering; part of Marching Band/Guard uniform.

Guard - a group of students who add color and style to marching-band performances with flags and other props. Also know as Auxiliary, the term originally used for the flag/rifle carriers who stood at the front of a marching show.  Evolved into modern color guard when dance and decorative flags were added.

PIT - Percussion Instrument Team - Marching Band percussion section that does not march but rather plays on the sidelines and are staged at the front of the band during marching competitions.  It is comprised of instruments such as tympani, xylophones, gongs, etc.  The PIT crew is the group of parent volunteers who are responsible for helping to get the instruments on and off the field within the allotted time frame, among other responsibilities.

PIT crew - parents and volunteers who help assemble the pit instruments, push them onto the field and set them up for competition, A.K.A. "Pit Parents."

Plumes - the feathered portion of the Marching Band hats (very fragile); provided by band.

Podium - raised platform upon which conductors stand.

Quads (Tenors) - set of 4 to 6 connected drums carried by a member of the battery percussion.

Rifles - imitation rifles the Guard use in a Marching Band show to visually interpret the music.

Run-through - practicing the entire Marching Band show at once.

Sabers - fake swords the Guard use in a Marching Band show to visually interpret the music.

Scoring – Please visit www.njatob.org for more information on how each band is scored. This is a nice insight into the whole process from a judge's point of view.

Section - Students who play the same instruments, i.e. the trumpet section.

Section leader - band student who is in charge of a Marching Band instrument section; such as "alto sax section leader."

Sectional - A practice or rehearsal by a section of instruments.

Sets – The formations the band makes. Students receive drill charts that provide them with a location on the field relative to yardlines, sidelines, etc. This information is then transferred to dot books.

Step Off - The precise moment when a Marching Band parade performance starts.

Student account - financial account that holds funds designated for the student; source of funds can be from fundraising, parent/student payments, or scholarships.

Tournament of Bands (TOB)- This is the competitive marching band circuit to which we belong. The TOB is one of the largest competitive band organizations in the country. Founded in 1972 by the National Judges Association, Tournament has grown to over 400 active schools and organizations. Tournament provides performance opportunities in field band, indoor guard, majorette, percussion and dance team as well as comprehensive festivals with instrumental and choral events.

Tournament of Bands is a non-profit educational organization that is available to any middle, junior high, senior high, college or university.  TOB sanctions approximately 100 field band events and nearly 100 indoor events as well as two major championships at the conclusion of each competitive season. On any given Saturday night in the fall, the TOB will have from 8 to 14 field band competitions providing the opportunity for hundreds of Marching Bands to participate in its competitive arena.

The TOB is self-governed by an executive board elected by the member bands of TOB. The rules, bylaws, score sheets and the judging philosophy are all developed by the member bands at congresses and by participation on technical committees (music, percussion, visual).

Please visit www.njatob.org for more information.

Winds - the non-percussion part of the band; any instrument that is played by blowing air; both brass and woodwind.

Winter Guard -competitive color guard performed indoor, usually in gymnasiums, to pre-recorded music.

Medical Forms/Contract

All traditional “paperwork” will be done digitally this year via Google Form.