Dacula High School Falcon Marching Band

Member Handbook

School Year 2020 - 2021

Brooke VanKempen

Director of Bands

Brooke_VanKempen@gwinnett.k12.ga.us

Dacula HS Band Boosters

Info@DaculaFalconBand.com

daculafalconpresident@gmail.com

daculafalconvp@gmail.com

daculafalcontreasurer@gmail.com

President, Joy Anderson

Vice President, David Lawler

Vice President, Terry Trammel

Treasurer, Melanie Wilson

Secretary, Ellyce Cone

Corresponding Secretary, Tracy Cooney

The mission of The Dacula High School Falcon Band is to develop musical expertise in students, foster a lifelong appreciation of music and performance, and to be a source of pride for both the individual and the community.

Welcome to the Dacula High School Falcon Band! You are now a member of one of the largest and proudest organizations on campus. This handbook will provide you with important information that you will need as a member of the Dacula High School Marching Band. Read this handbook and make sure you understand the material it contains. Refer to it if you have any questions about our band program. You are responsible for knowing the information contained in this handbook.  If you have any questions about the content, it is your responsibility to seek clarification from the band director. When necessary, updates to this handbook will be issued.

NOTE:  The band director reserves the right to amend any rules or policies as needed.

MARCHING BAND 

The Dacula Falcon Marching Band is a co-curricular activity and all

wind and percussion instrumentalists must be in concert band, symphonic band, or percussion

class in order to participate. Because GCPS considers Marching Band co-curricular, students who are on the active roster for Marching Band will receive academic credit for all marching band rehearsals and performances as a portion of their class band grade. All absences from any marching band activity will result in an alternative assignment to receive full credit. This outdoor performance ensemble is the most visible entity of the band program. This unit includes the wind and percussion players as well as those students who are members of the Colorguard. There are no auditions for this ensemble but each student will be expected to work hard, be dedicated, be physically active, and have fun through the process of succeeding.

The Marching Band is active from late July for mandatory band camp until early

November through the football season (later if there are playoff games).  Attendance at all of

Band Camp is mandatory.  The Dacula HS Falcon Marching Band performs at all varsity football games, two to three marching competitions, the Gwinnett County Exhibition, pep rallies, and the Memorial Day parade.

To be an instrumental performer, the student must have completed the previous semester as a member of one of the band classes at Dacula High School (exception is made for freshmen and new students) and be currently enrolled in an appropriate band class.  Members are expected to commit themselves to band class for the full length of the school year. Students who play a woodwind instrument or trumpet must provide their own instruments. In other cases a school-owned instrument is provided. Also, percussionists (except bass drummers) will be expected to provide their own mallets and sticks.

COLOR GUARD 

The Color Guard is an extracurricular activity and performs to provide a visual representation of the music performed by the Marching Band.  The Color Guard is part of the marching band so all full marching band activities as well as separate guard rehearsals (including guard camp) should be attended.  Participation in the Color Guard is based upon an audition held during the spring of each school year. The Color Guard is expected to be a positive representation of the group and band.  A positive attitude is also expected in rehearsals, performances, and in public. The Color Guard will also wear a costume in performance that matches the theme of the show. While not performing at a football game or contest, uniform attire may also be expected (check with leadership).

Since many color guard members are not in a band class, each member should be vigilant in monitoring the weekly schedule.  This could be done by checking our website and/or coming into the band room periodically.  The color guard activity requires aerobic conditioning so each performer should do their best to stay healthy.  Finally, the color guard aims to present a “uniform” look; therefore, unnatural hair color and face piercings should be avoided.

STUDENT LEADERSHIP POSITIONS AND RESPONSIBILITIES:

One of the goals of the Dacula High School Band Program is the development of leadership

qualities in students who possess the potential to be good leaders; therefore, each year students will be appointed to various leadership positions. Being a student leader is a service position. There are applications and interviews for all section leaders and band officer selections. Student leaders are expected to encourage and help as well as to befriend those within their section. They must have good musical or auxiliary skills to lead their group to a high level of performance. Because good leaders lead by example, student leaders are expected to be members in good standing. Since the public associates the leaders as representatives of the band, a high level of behavior, maturity, and responsibility should be maintained even when not with the band.  All officers/section leaders should monitor each member so the band functions smoothly.  The band director reserves the right to remove any student from his/her position if any problem cannot be resolved or if a change is warranted in any way.

DRUM MAJOR – The Drum Major is one of the top leadership positions in the Marching Band. Auditions are held in the Winter or Spring and the position is filled using a thorough audition

and interview process.  Candidates for Drum Major must have completed at least one full year in marching band and must be currently enrolled in a high school band class. A summer

conducting/leadership camp is mandatory for new drum majors and strongly encouraged for experienced ones.  The Drum Major is expected to remain active on his/her instrument during the marching season in band class. The Drum Major uniform will be decided by the band director.

BAND CAPTAIN – The Band Captain should work very closely with the Drum Major. Leadership duties should be shared with the Drum Major but also include assessing the effectiveness of each section leader.  While the Drum Major is the leader in front of the band during rehearsals, the Band Captain is the leader among the band.  This leadership should show in the way the Band Captain conducts himself/herself with pride, enthusiasm, maturity, and excellence.  A summer leadership camp is strongly encouraged.

BAND SECRETARY – The Band Secretary is organized, accurate, and articulate.  He/she has the responsibilities of keeping an accurate roll of rehearsals/performances, assigning instrument storage spots/cubbies, keeping minutes of any student band meeting, reminding students of upcoming events, ensuring paperwork is turned in by students, corresponding with guest clinicians/businesses/instructors, and any other statistical work as well as monitoring students

who are tardy to rehearsals/functions/3rd  quarter break, etc.  The secretary can elicit help from

other officers and section leaders and should work closely with them.

SECTION LEADERS – In marching band, Section Leaders are students that are strong players and excellent leaders in an instrumental section. These leaders are appointed by the Band Director based on an application/interview and teacher observations. They are responsible for seeing that the students in their section know their music, routine, and drill.  Section Leaders must be able to conduct productive sectionals, assist in drill instruction, and perform other tasks as necessary.  It is very important that the section leaders encourage their sections as a team in order for all players to feel comfortable. Section Leaders are responsible to the Band Directors, Drum Major, and Band Captain.  A summer leadership camp is strongly encouraged.

LIBRARIANS – Students who keep the library in good condition and are very knowledgeable of our music and its location/availability.  There will be at least one librarian per class with a

“head librarian” designated by the band director.  These students are also in charge of distributing, copying, and collecting music as well as any other duties related to our music.

BAND FACILITIES

We are very proud of what we have and we work hard to maintain our rooms and equipment.

Therefore, each member of the band program is expected to help keep the band facilities clean and in order.  No food, drink, or chewing gum is allowed in the band facility without permission.  Detention and/or other disciplinary actions will be taken for offenses.  Also, for liability reasons, we cannot permit non-band members in the band room at any time.

INSTRUMENTS 

Each band member is responsible for having his/her instrument at each rehearsal and performance and keeping it in top playing condition. Do not allow others to touch/play your instrument and do not touch anything that does not belong to you. All instruments (except certain percussion and tubas) should be stored in the instrument room during the day, and should be taken home at the end of the school day for practice. Reed players should have plenty of spare reeds, a good reed case, cork grease, swab, and polishing cloth. Brass players should have plenty of valve oil, slide grease, cleaning supplies, and a polishing cloth. Percussionists must provide their own concert snare sticks, yarn mallets, xylophone mallets, general timpani mallets, and stick bag.

SCHOOL-OWNED INSTRUMENTS – Dacula High School owns many instruments for use by band members. They are mostly instruments that are very expensive and therefore a hardship for students to purchase. Students may use these instruments with permission. Students must sign an Instrument Maintenance Agreement before any school-owned instrument may be taken home. Students are responsible for any abnormal damage that occurs to their school-owned instruments. Once checked out, instruments may not be used by anyone except the person who signed for them. The user is expected to take the utmost care of a school-owned instrument and return it in the same condition as it was issued.

STUDENT BEHAVIOR

We expect students to behave in a mature manner so that the band can rehearse and perform to

the best of its ability and represent the band’s goals. Students are required to follow Gwinnett County Public School’s policies on Student Conduct and Discipline at any and all band related functions.

Below is a list of ways you can make the band program the best possible!

•        Have a Great Attitude. As a Dacula High School Band performer, you will likely put in more hard work (while consequently having lots of fun achieving common goals) for this organization than any other during your time in high school. The better the band wants to be, the harder it has to work. Therefore, you will need an attitude of dedication, hard work, pride, spirit, patience, and teamwork. No one expects you to be perfect, and you will certainly make your share of mistakes. The way to success is to learn from each mistake to better ourselves. All the hard work will seem a small price when you experience the enjoyment of a great performance. This enjoyment is what makes band fun as well as an experience with

memories that will last a lifetime.

•        Be Responsible. This is probably the biggest life lesson the band experience can teach each student. Responsibility for your contribution to each rehearsal/performance: prepared with all equipment needed, music learned/memorized or routine learned, drill learned, and a great attitude.

Responsibility for your actions: acting mature and appropriate in all situations, being positive about various situations, having fun, representing the band to the fullest, being early for activities, budget your time so grades in other classes stay strong, and coordinate other activities with band so conflicts could possibly be resolved. Responsibility to the band program: making decisions that do not adversely affect the band and its members, working as a team and getting along even if you don’t like someone, and be encouraging.

•        Be Respectful. Whether its holding your tongue when it’s easier to gossip or say hurtful comments toward someone, giving one another enough “space”, acting appropriately even though it would be easier to do the opposite, valuing another’s educated opinion even if it doesn’t match yours, or treating everyone well regardless of age, grade, position, band, intelligence, or ability, respect each other in order to build the tightest family you can. Create positive interpersonal relationships that foster a proper learning environment.  This includes all social media.

•        Pay Attention. During rehearsals, listen and do not talk. If the band director or instructor said it, it was important! If he or she has to repeat it, the band has lost precious rehearsal time. If you have a question, raise your hand. Also, be aware of your surroundings. Rarely will we be in a situation where we are the only ones there. Be a good representative for teenagers to show the public that you can be respectful and courteous.

•        Be On Time. You are expected to be on time to any performance, rehearsal, or meeting.

Always be a few minutes early so you will be ready when it is time to start. “Early is on time,

on time is late.”

•        Monitor Each Other. Take ownership of your band and use peer pressure to remind your fellow performers to act appropriately. Whether in the band room or out in public, people judge the band on how well each of you acts and performs.

•        Be A Good Representative. There Shall Be No Action For Which An Explanation Is Necessary. (Translation: If you think someone might ask you “Why did you do that?” then don’t do it.) When in uniform (even partial uniform) , you are expected to show your best behavior.  Watch what you say and do; people are watching you and will judge the band and the school by the way you behave. Remember you are representing everyone in this band, school, and community when you put on that uniform. Public Displays of Affection are prohibited by the Gwinnett County Public School’s policies on Student Conduct and Discipline; therefore, they are prohibited at any band program function. Failure to do so will result in assigned seating, extra monitoring by chaperones, etc.

•        Speak Well. Band members should not use words, phrases, or symbols that are profane, obscene, or otherwise inappropriate in the band room or at any band function.

•        Be On Duty. During all band events including football games, concerts, parades, contests, rehearsals, and pep rallies always keep your attention toward the Band Director or Drum Major so you can be ready to play at a moment’s notice. At football games, you may not move around the band block. Visitors are not allowed in the band block. All band members must sit in their assigned places. Always keep your instrument ready to play.

•         Social Media. No student or parent can have an account on social media with “Dacula HS”

without a teacher monitoring it.

GENERAL POLICIES

Do you have a concern or issue?

Please email Ms. VanKempen or set up an appointment to discuss your concern and she will be happy to address it to the best of her ability. Please do not approach our instructional staff before or after a rehearsal, as they are very busy at those times.

DISCIPLINE POLICY

Infractions, not major incidents, may be dealt with by assigning time in the band room for detention.  If this does not help a student correct an inappropriate behavior, a parent contact will be made. Each action is dealt with on an individual basis and any/all extenuating circumstances are taken into account. Any questions concerning this discipline policy may be directed to a band director.  Major incidents will result in loss of privileges, awards, position, and/or dismissal from class or band program, or administrative referral.

BAND PARENTS

Parents are an important part of the Dacula HS Band, and have a vital role to play. Without the assistance and cooperation of Band parents, there would be no chance for the level of success we want to reach.

There are many things parents can do:

•        Attend Band Parent meetings.

•        Volunteer for parent committees. There are many different tasks with which we need your assistance, and everyone can find the niche that suits them best: chaperone, uniforms, transportation, equipment handling (pit crew), sewing, meals and publicity are just a few of the areas we need filled for the marching season alone.

•         Be supportive of the band program and your child’s participation by:

  • Assisting your child is prepared and punctual for every rehearsal and performance.
  • Notifying the director if your child is to be absent or late for performance or rehearsal.  This should be done in advance unless in absolute emergency situations.
  • Encouraging your child to practice at home and help them find a quiet place to do so.
  • Showing your interest and support in your child’s music study by enthusiastically attending every performance possible.
  • Discussing with directors and staff anything that will help them understand and better serve your child.
  • Arranging for private lessons for your child, if at all possible.

BAND REHEARSALS

Our band rehearsals are important to the quality of our performance; therefore attendance is of

the utmost importance (ALL members are “first string” players).  In order to present an outstanding performance, students need to be at each rehearsal on time and ready to work and have fun.  We respectfully ask that parents not use ‘missing marching band’ as a “punishment” (missing rehearsal due to bad grades or not doing chores, etc).  Attendance is also tied to receiving a band letter at the end of year banquet.  In order for any organization to run efficiently, a set of policies must be established. These policies are fair to everyone in the organization and must be enforced for the protection of the organization as a whole and for the individuals within the organization. A band program cannot operate efficiently on excuses – only results; therefore, the following guidelines must be followed:

AFTER SCHOOL – There will be a semester-long schedule for after-school band rehearsals and performances given out months in advance and it will be updated as needed.  These rehearsals are

very important and are mandatory rehearsals.  The band director must be notified by email, telephone, note, or in person when checking out of school, for illness, on a day when a

rehearsal is scheduled.  Failure to do so will result in an unexcused absence.  Students are also expected to be at rehearsal if at school.

Please schedule appointments (doctor, dentist, orthodontist, etc.) on alternate dates and times to avoid conflict with rehearsals, performances, and any other events that are scheduled.  It is the responsibility of each parent (because you schedule these appointments) and student to be at their full potential for a successful performance.  All rehearsals will end promptly at the scheduled finish time.  Please pick your child up after he/she has had time to transition to the band room to put items away.

Marching rehearsals are held to improve upcoming performances. Too many rehearsals missed (at the discretion of the director) will result in the student not participating in the upcoming performances, and could also result in the changing of part assignments, instruments, etc.  Even though these absences could be excused, this should not be considered punishment, but due to the student missing too much information.  A first offense of an unexcused absence of a marching band rehearsal will result in the student not participating in the next performance or performances of the same weekend (which could diminish the other performers’ ability to perform at their best) and loss of any privileges, status, and/or position.

The second offense may result in the dropping of the student from the marching band and parent

notification and conference.

Should a student be involved in another school activity which conflicts with rehearsal or performance time, an arrangement between the director, the other activity’s sponsor, and the student must be discussed as soon as the conflict is discovered.  It is the responsibility of each student who is in more than one school activity to coordinate all activities.  This will allow enough time for students involved in more than one activity, and their sponsors, to coordinate their schedule.  Please communicate your band commitment to any coach or sponsor of an activity in which you are involved.  Illness is excused, but only if the student has an excused absence from school that day.  If a student is at school, he/she is expected at rehearsal.  Any other emergency situation should be discussed with the Band Director.

STUDENT REHEARSAL EXPECTATIONS (including band camp, fall, and spring rehearsals)

•        Students should plan to arrive 5-10 minutes before the scheduled rehearsal/report time so they have enough time to get their instrument & equipment and head to their rehearsal location.

•        Students should wear a t-shirt, tennis shoes with socks, and any type of hat or sunscreen to keep the sun off of them.  Jeans are not permitted.

•        In general, there is no talking during rehearsal unless a member of the instructional staff is speaking to you.

•        Water is a necessity. Everyone MUST bring an insulated water jug or a Coleman brand type thermos filled with water to EVERY rehearsal. Half gallon or 1 gallon sizes are recommended. Water is provided in limited quantities at rehearsal. You can fill up your cooler at the large sink in the band room before rehearsal. Short breaks will be given periodically while we rehearse. Everyone must drink water!

•        You should have your instrument, your music (in a binder with plastic sheets), a pencil and your lanyard with drill attached, ready to go when the rehearsal begins. Later in the season, you will no longer need to have your binder at every rehearsal.

•        SUNBLOCK!! Rehearsing in the sun/heat is unavoidable, so please make sure you are prepared by wearing sunscreen of an adequate SPF (30+) and a hat.

•        Your instrument should be in proper working order at all times. This includes having a good reed (plus back up reeds), valves and keys oil, etc. Repair your personally owned instrument when needed.

BAND CAMP

The Dacula High School Band Program has band camp each year at the end of July and

beginning of August (depending on the school calendar).  It is a little more than a week of rehearsals, drill practice, and show preparation for the purpose of preparing the Marching Band and Auxiliary for the upcoming competitive season. Band camp is a requirement for being in the Marching Band with the exception of any upcoming 10th, 11th  or 12th  grade student

participating in a summer musical activity such as GHP, drum and bugle corps, or summer music camps.  These activities should be directly related to the educational benefits to the student and cannot be scheduled at a different time.  The dates for the camp are announced prior to the end of first semester. Band members and auxiliary group members must plan their work and vacation schedules around band camp. The Student Medical Form must also be filled out and reflect any “pre-existing conditions” the student might have.  Medical forms must be on file prior to participation in any band activity.

BAND PERFORMANCES

Each and every member is important!  Think of yourself as important as a soloist or the drum major – the performance would be greatly diminished without them (and you!).  All performers are “first string” players; therefore, are missed greatly when not performing and cannot be replaced.  It is every member’s (and his/her parents’) duty to be responsible by attending all functions.

All performances are required with the exception of some emergency situations (to be determined by the directors). An unexcused absence from a public performance may result in the dropping of the student from the current band and assigning the appropriate grade. For marching band, all games, contests, exhibitions, and most play-off games will be required regardless of any other functions or events.

In all cases of absence from a public appearance, a written statement or e-mail from the parent is necessary on the day the student returns.  The director will determine if the absence is excused or not.  Students leaving school on the day of a performance must notify the Band Director

before they leave.

If you have a personal conflict of importance (determined by the directors) on a performance date, you will notify the director as soon as the conflict arises in order to have your request considered. This will give others ample time to learn their new marching assignment or give the director time to make instrumentation changes in concert music.  Please provide the director with enough information to make a fair evaluation of the situation.  The decision will be at the director’s discretion.

In the event that a member belongs to another performing organization that is performing at the same time as the band, the school band will take precedence. This is standard procedure and accepted as such by all community bands, drum and bugle corps, honor ensembles, etc.

Some guidelines on what is considered a permissible excuse:

•    Illness to the point that participation would be harmful to student’s health: Excused

•    Important religious observances conflicting with rehearsal or performance: Excused

•    Weddings or funerals of family members: Excused

In the Audience

•    Be positive and supportive of all the groups performing.

•    Do not talk, text, or use your cell phone during any performance.

•    Do not enter or exit the performance venue during a performance.

BAND TRIPS

During the school year, the band program travels to many different places to give performances.

Most of these trips are during marching season as the band travels to each varsity football game and several contests. Occasionally, we try to take a major trip to an out-of-state location to spend a few days performing and sightseeing.  During any trip, each member of the band program is expected to demonstrate proper behavior at all times and be a good representative of the Dacula High School community. Since all band trips are an extension of the school, all school rules

concerning dress and behavior apply. During any trip, it is very important to listen to any and all

directions given so the trip will go as planned and all will have fun. Students may be barred from participating in a band program field trip if they are not eligible or in good standing. Students that have quit band during the school year may not go on any band program trip.  If a student is not registered in a band class for any reason, the payment for the trip will not be refunded for the student or their parent.  Any student that has had ISS or OSS infractions may not be eligible to attend the “band trip” (fall or spring) due to possible behavior problems and determined by the band director and Dacula HS administration.

BUS TRIPS

These rules and guidelines are in place to ensure the safety of all of our students, staff, and

chaperones, and should be followed at all times.

General Rules

•        First and foremost: Always act in a way that positively represents yourself, our program, our school, and our community at all times.

•              Punctuality is essential. Refer to your itinerary for schedule details. Be early

for everything and help everyone stay on time. Remember, early is on time, on time is

late.

•              All aforementioned behavior expectations apply.

•              If you get sick or do not feel well on the trip, please notify a chaperone or the director immediately.

•        Respect the property of others. Do not borrow or take another’s property without being given permission to do so. On the same note, please watch and protect our belongings. If you see something suspicious, report it to a chaperone or director immediately.

It is our policy that any student traveling with the band program must ride the bus to and from the destination. Students are not allowed to ride with other parties back to the school. Should a parent have a need to transport their child from a band event, permission must be obtained from

the director and a parent-signed note must also be submitted stating that their child will be riding

home with them. Students are prohibited from leaving football games, competitions, and other events until the end of that event (i.e., awards, the end of a game) without director permission. A student cannot leave with anyone other than a legal guardian.

Be Safe On The Bus. During bus travel, all school bus rules apply to band trips.  Keep noise levels to a minimum. No radios, tape players, or CD players may be used without earphones. Playing tapes or CDs containing obscene, profane, or inappropriate lyrics will not be acceptable. Chaperones are instructed to confiscate any questionable materials (recordings, magazines, etc) that are brought on the bus.

Change Clothing Only In Appropriate Places.  During a band trip, performers may only change clothes in a place where it is appropriate to do so.  This may not be done on buses or other places deemed inappropriate.  Always check with the band directors and head chaperone for the location of the appropriate place and time to change.  Failure to comply with this expectation could result in disciplinary action.

STAFF AND CHAPERONES

Everyone on the staff of the Dacula Band has been selected due to the skills and qualities they possess and for the benefit they can bring the band program.  They should be considered an extension of the band director. They are to be treated with the highest level of courtesy and respect.  Chaperones are also extensions of the authority of the band director. Without the dedication of our chaperones and other adults that assist with the band, we could not travel or perform in the way we do. These parents work hard and the only payment they receive is our appreciation.  Be respectful, polite, cooperative, and remember that the words “Thank You” cost you nothing, but are highly valued by the recipient.  If you disagree with something a chaperone asks you to do, you are not to argue with the chaperone.  You are to do as you are asked and then discuss with the band director later. If a chaperone has to report a student for being uncooperative or for any other reason, that student is subject to a disciplinary action.

UNIFORMS:

Each Marching Band member will be fitted for a uniform (jacket, “bibber” pants, and hat) during

band camp. We differentiate one uniform from another by numbers.  Each uniform, garment bag, hat, and poncho is numbered to match.  The student will “pull” his/her uniform and all additional items by number; therefore, each student must remember that number.  The student will be

shown how to “pull” his/her uniform and its related items during band camp.  After use, it is the

responsibility of each student to replace his/her uniform and additional gear back to its original position in the uniform closet.  The marching uniform, garment bag, hat, and poncho remain at Dacula High School.  The student is responsible for maintaining this uniform throughout the school year.

Uniforms are cleaned several times during a marching season.  If a student spills or soils the uniform in any way, immediately inform the “Uniform Mom or Dad” so it can be treated before the stain sets in.  We do not allow the students to eat certain foods, drink certain drinks, or bring certain foods and beverages into the stadium seating area in order to help keep our uniforms looking sharp and reduce the chance of staining.  Parents, please help us by encouraging your child to respect the guidelines put into place.  Uniforms are expensive so our goal is to make our uniforms last as long as possible in good condition.

When traveling with the band, you must keep your uniform in its protective garment bag.  Band uniforms are very expensive to replace. Treat your uniform well because any damage that occurs to it will be your responsibility. Hemming of the jacket sleeves and pants legs will be taken care of during band camp by the uniform mom and her committee.  DO NOT CUT THE

UNIFORM OR USE FUSIBLE WEB TAPE!

During band camp each rookie will also be fitted for marching shoes, shirt, and gloves (guard and percussion do not need band gloves).  These items are ordered through the band in order to maintain uniformity.  These items are the student’s responsibility and must be brought to and taken from performances.  It is recommended that two pairs of gloves be purchased and carried to all performances because students tend to misplace these.  It is also a good idea to put the student’s initials on the tag of his/her T-shirts, shorts, and shoes.  This will help ensure their return if they are lost.

For modesty issues, form fitting shorts or pants are required to be worn under the “bibber” pants.  Jeans and bulky pants cannot be worn.  A bulky garment under the uniform pants shows and binds and spoils the uniform’s clean lines as well as making it difficult for the student to march properly.  Spandex or thin material that doesn’t bunch up is suggested.  During the

warmer months, sport shorts are suggested. Coats and blankets can be used in the stands, but only

approved uniform attire can be worn on the field.

After each game or competition, it is expected that your student will remove all personal items from uniform pockets and garment bags.  Socks, shirts, shorts, and “show shirt” should

be taken home to be washed or cleaned for the next game or competition.

To march in ANY performance, each student must be in complete uniform.  A complete uniform is:

•            Clean, black, uniform marching shoes

•            Solid black socks

•            Correct pair of “bibber” uniform pants

•            Sport shorts

•                Show shirt (the uniform jacket might be taken off in the stands) * This will change per performance year.

•            Uniform jacket

•            Pair of marching gloves

•            Assigned hat

Young ladies with long hair are required to wear their hair high on their head and tucked under their hats (or “pulled back” during a rehearsal).  Use of unnaturally colored hair dyes or bleaches is not permitted. Natural colors include: blonde, brown, auburn, black, red (not crayon red). We are trying to present a uniform appearance and persons with unusual hair color are distracting to the audience and the judges. It is also possible for temporary hair dyes to damage the uniforms for which band members are responsible.  No jewelry, bracelets, watches, etc of any type will be worn while in uniform (including colored fingernail polish).  Hair must fit in the hat or a black, sheer covering must be worn.  Pit performers must wear their hair “fixed” appropriately.  This decision is at the discretion of the band director.

Please note: if a student does not pass inspection, he/she will not march in the performance. Additionally, other “reminders” will be given to the student so he/she is prepared in the future. This decision is at the discretion of the band director.

Before a performance, each student will need to be in his/her designated spot, in full uniform, by the required time (“early is on time and on time is late”).  Remember, each student must have time to pull the uniform and all its accessories and change by this designated time; therefore, it is

strongly suggested that the students arrive at least 15 minutes prior to the inspection time.

No part of the uniform (except hats and gloves with permission) may be removed while you are in a public place. This includes any place you could possibly be seen by people outside the band. When in uniform, band members may not wear items that are not part of the uniform design. Variations in the uniform will not be tolerated.

Frequently Asked Questions (for New Members and Families)

Where are the major sections of the band?

The Marching band consists of 4 section:

•    Percussion includes both the Battery and Pit

o Battery:  Snare Drums, Tenor Drums, Bass Drums

o Pit – a.k.a. Front Ensemble:  Marimbas, Xylophones, Vibraphones, Assorted Percussion and “The Rack”:  Toms, Cymbals, Electronic Percussion/Instruments, etc.

•    Woodwinds

o Flutes, Clarinets, Saxophones

•    Brass

o Trumpets, Horns (mellophones), Baritone/Trombones, Sousaphones

•    Color Guard

o Flags, Rifles, Various Equipment

What are all those instruments in the Pit?

•           Xylophone – instrument consisting of wooden bars tuned to the relevant notes played with mallets

•           Marimba – instrument consisting of a set of wooden bars struck with mallets with resonators (tubes) beneath the instrument to make the sound

•           Vibraphone – variation of the marimba that consists of metal bars with a motor to make a fluctuation of pitch (vibrate)

•           “The Rack” - tom toms, cowbells, cymbals, snare drums mounted on a rack

•           Gong – flat, circular metal disc which is hit with a mallet

•           Bass Drum – large drum that produces a note of low definite or indefinite pitch

•           Timpani – or kettledrums - a set of two or three large drums

•           Shakers, Triangles, auxiliary percussion – (there are 22 ways to play a triangle, did you know that?)

What’s a “sectional”?

A sectional is the term used for a rehearsal of you and others who play your instrument.

The full band may have a sectional time during rehearsal where they will split up into sections and practice their parts with other members that play the same instrument.

How do all the instruments make it to the game or competition?

Glad you asked! This requires a lot of hard work. The band members and volunteers load the Dacula Marching Band Trailers with all the equipment to make sure it arrives at the performance. The trailers have to be hauled by a truck that has the available towing capacity and the appropriate hitch. The individual towing the trailers will be reimbursed for gas by the Band Boosters. The number of instruments depends on what equipment Ms. VanKempen deems necessary to carry out the show.  In the past we have had to transport the following:  (approximately) 4 Flutes, 5 Alto Saxes, 2 Tenor Saxes, 1 Baritone Sax, 8 Trumpets, 6 Mellophones, 4 Sousaphones (tubas), 8 Baritones, 8 Clarinets, 2 Quint Tenor Drums, 3 Snare Drums, 5 Bass Drums, 2 Vibraphones, 1 Xylophone, 2 Marimbas, The Rack, 4 Timpani, 1 Gong, Auxiliary Percussion, etc.

In addition to instruments, we also haul a Gator, all props, Color Guard Flags, rifles, swords,

water for 80+ students, butt pads for the stands, plumes, uniform racks etc.

Should I believe my child when they tell me, “I don’t know” or “They didn’t tell me.”?

Well possibly, but you should know that every member of the band has a section leader, and

the section leader has an officer and they all have a band director, Ms. VanKempen. Instructions flow down through those channels during class and performances. They should take any and all questions back up through that same chain of command. In addition to that, the band boosters can help with most any question or issue. We can be contacted through info@daculafalconband.com.

We try our best to answer emails within 48 hours. Please be kind as these are volunteer positions. All board members have jobs outside of the Booster Club. Ms. VanKempen will also keep announcements posted on the whiteboard in her room and you can always check our website www.daculafalconband.com. PLEASE make sure that each student and at LEAST one parent signs up on this website in order to get emails regarding the band’s current activities.

What happens if it rains?

Sometimes practice could be cancelled. At a home game, if it’s lightning, the game will be delayed or called off. If it’s just raining, Ms. VanKempen will make a decision about the performance. She may choose only to field part of the band (e.g., exclude the pit to protect the instruments), or some other variation of the show. Regardless, unless there is an announcement before school is out, everyone should assume the performance is on and arrive for inspection on time. Instructions will be given at that time. There will be at least one game where everyone gets really wet.

How do things work on Game Day?

Games Days are very exciting because it’s “Showtime” for our marching band. Games

are always on a Friday night at 7:30 PM during regular season (playoff games may be on a Saturday). The students are expected to arrive at the school in time to dress for “inspection” by the designated time, usually 6:15 or 6:30. Volunteers arrive as early as 5:00 or later to ice down water and usually by 5:00 and 5:30 to prepare the concession stand. Games normally run until

after 9:30. After the game, all the equipment and uniforms must be put away and the concession stand must be cleaned and secured. Students are released by their officers and Ms. VanKempen.

What is “inspection”?

All sections will report to their leaders at the specified time for “inspection”. The officers and leaders will ensure each band member is in proper uniform including black socks, black shoes, no jewelry, navy shirt, hats, etc. They also check instruments to ensure all the pieces are present and in good working order. Anyone not passing “inspection” will lose their privilege of a break during 3rd  quarter.

Where do I park for Home Games?

After dropping off your child for inspection, you should park in Dacula Park or in front

of the school. Parking by the stadium is reserved parking. Parking passes for the season are for sale by the Football Boosters.

How much does it cost to enter the football games?

Tickets for the game are $7. If you are a designated volunteer, you will arrive early and receive a game ticket from the designated band booster.  There are a limited number of tickets available and these will be distributed on a first to volunteer basis.

What happens after inspection?

The band will arrange themselves in a parade formation and led by the battery, will march to the field (home games) and build the excitement for kickoff. The band will enter the stands and perform the national anthem. Right before halftime, they will make their way out of the stands to the track to perform their halftime show. After their show, during 3rd  quarter, they

are allowed a break and can go and get refreshments from the concession stand and socialize with their friends and the opposing team band members. While entering and leaving the field, many helpers are needed to move the pit equipment and props. After the game, the band normally performs from the track while the crowd is exiting the stadium. After the game, all uniforms and equipment are returned to the band room and stored in their proper places.

What about when it’s an “away game”?

The same routine is followed leading up to inspection although the inspection time will

be earlier. After inspection, instruments are loaded on the trailers and students and chaperones are loaded on the buses. At the opposing school campus, formations will be organized, equipment moved, etc. Students are not allowed to ride home with parents, or anyone else. They must take the bus. Exceptions are only authorized by Ms. VanKempen, in advance. Never on game day.

I don’t have my child’s uniforms, what should I do?

1st  of all, don’t worry. All the uniforms are kept at the school to prevent loss of all the various pieces and to keep them safe and organized. Each child is fitted for their uniform, hat,

shoes, etc. during band camp. For any performance, they will gather in the band room at school and change into their uniform there. After the performance, they are responsible for returning

their uniform (all the pieces) to their assigned hangers. Each student has a uniform number and their hanger has that number and their name on it. All uniforms are placed on racks which also

have a specific range of numbers assigned to them. Students must place them back on their assigned racks in the uniform room.

I’m willing to help, what volunteer activities are available?

The band program has many needs for volunteers. Our philosophy is that if everyone pitches in just a little, then the burden doesn’t fall on just a few.

During marching season, we need volunteers for:

o        Concession Stand – grilling, fryers, prepping food, gathering food orders, taking food orders and money cash counters (treasurer and 1 other person).

o         Bus Chaperones – away games and competitions

o         Chaperones for the Stands

o         Hospitality – greeting visiting band and serving drinks during 3rd  quarter break

o         Pit Crew – moving all the pit equipment to/from the games

o         Water prep – this is for all games, before game time

o          Uniforms – rolling uniforms down to track and setting up before games, assisting students with getting fully dressed with jackets, gauntlets, hats during halftime and ensuring jackets and gauntlets are returned to bags after halftime.

o         Plume crew – handing out and taking up plumes before and after half time show.

During the rest of the year, we have other opportunities for volunteers to help organize fundraisers, events, concert performances, banquets, receptions, etc. We encourage all parents to please sign up to help with at least one activity. Don’t worry about not knowing what to do. All the volunteers you see running around were in the same position at one time. Just jump in. We will teach you the ropes!!

What’s a competition?

During the Fall, our Marching Band will enter competitions where we will perform our halftime

show (with our Color Guard) in competition against other schools. These are normally held somewhere in the Atlanta area. There are judges who will score our sections and overall performance, and at the end of the day, winners are announced. There are normally 6 judges.

Some focus on just one aspect of the show while some focus on the overall performance. We will

compete in at least 3 competitions in the fall. Dates will be announced as they are planned. They are always on a Saturday. Prepare for a long day as we have travel time, a long day at competition, and then return to school and unload equipment and uniforms.

What’s an exhibition?

We normally participate in at least 1 exhibition each year. The exhibition is just like a

competition but there is no competitive aspect. The judges offer constructive criticism and comments to improve the show. This competition is normally held early in Marching season and we will perform along with all the other schools in our half of Gwinnett County.

Does my child need a higher quality instrument for high school band?

A better instrument is not necessary for the Marching Band. Depending on what you presently own, parents may want to consider a higher quality instrument for concert classes. Many students make upgrades to accessories like mouthpieces or ligatures before buying a new instrument.

Please see Ms. VanKempen before purchasing a new instrument.

Is High School Band just Marching Band?

No, in fact, the Marching Band is only a small portion of the total high school band experience.

The Dacula Band program has a concert and symphonic bands as well as a percussion program centered on developing creative, artistic musicians. Each of these ensembles meets daily and performs several concerts each year.

What are Marching Fees and what do they cover?

Marching band is classified as a co-curricular subject and as such is not directly funded through Gwinnett County Schools. Therefore, fundraising and marching fees become the financial support for the marching band. Marching fees cover the cost of arrangement and writing of the music, original drill writing, 150 hours of individual and group instruction during band camp, special event nights during band camp, band camp t-shirt, medical supplies, specialized instruction for color guard and often times a choreographer brought in to help with movement of the band, over 85 hours of instruction after band camp, mini-camp instruction, marching competition fees, travel to competitions, cost of prop construction and movement to locations, maintenance and repair of marching band school-owned instruments, purchase of new uniforms and color guard performance uniforms, etc

How do I earn a letter for Band?

Band students will earn a letter after two seasons of Marching Band. Freshmen could

possibly earn a letter if they participate in Marching Band and Winter Guard their Freshman year. They could also earn a letter if they are in the Symphonic Band for both semesters of their Freshman year. Otherwise, band members will earn their letter during Sophomore year.