Enloe Marching Band – A Glossary



Band parents (aka “band moms” and “band dads”):  Not only are band parents the ones who supply the raw material for the band in the form of their children, they also manage the logistical activities that keep the band running.  The kids generally appreciate how hard the parents work and frequently say “thank you”, things not often seen in the typical herd of teenagers.  Also other band parents are rich sources of information on Enloe academics, the college application process, driver’s ed, and important things such as where to get the best deals on Gatorade.  See also Gatorade, Fundraising Opportunities and Volunteer Opportunities.  Actually, pretty much just see the rest of the Glossary.

Bagging uniforms:  What students must do with their uniforms when they take them off after performances.  Each student is assigned a specific bag and uniform with his/her name on them.  Uniforms must be hung up correctly and promptly so they are ready for wearing in the next competition.  Lessons in folding and hanging pants are given regularly.

Band lockers/Cubbies:  Assigned spaces in the band room where students can keep their instruments if they are not taking them home. Also used for storage of books, homework, lunch containers and pretty much everything else.  If your child is missing something, the first question to ask is: “Have you checked your band locker.”  This is especially important if the thing they are missing is perishable.

Birthdays: The marching band sections quickly become a tight unit. They like to celebrate the birthdays of their members, which usually include sudden exposure to a water cooler filled with ice water at the end of a rehearsal.  A few kids are usually lucky enough to have birthdays while we are at Away Band Camp, which means ice cream and cake for the entire band.  While we are great instrumental musicians, you really don’t want to hear us try to sing anything, even Happy Birthday.  If your child has a birthday while we are at camp or a competition, let us know.

Black socks:  A key part of the uniform and one that is very likely to go missing at crucial times – i.e., before a competition.  It’s essential that students do not have white socks showing between their black pants and black shoes. While there has been the occasional student effort to draw socks on with Sharpies, this has not been a particularly effective strategy.  Your best bet is to buy lots of black socks and prepare for all of them to disappear during the course of the marching season (only to reappear, reeking, when band lockers are eventually cleaned out).

Band Camp:  Camp is actually multiple events, the first is “Home Camp,” held at Enloe to learn/remember basics and organize the band, then we begin to learn the show music and drill, and finally “Night Camp” which immediately follows and is held at Enloe just prior to school starting. August is filled with Camp, although ours is shorter than many of the bands we compete against, some of which start in late June.

Chaperone: We don’t really like this word, but use it all the time. The role parents play in the band is not one of babysitting or discipline, our student leadership sets high expectations for behavior and manages the band. However, with a group this large, we always need to be prepared for things that require an adult to help make something happen or provide guidance. We ensure that a chaperone is present when traveling and available to ensure the kids always have an adult they can turn to. In the unlikely event that a problem occurs, we inform the student leadership and/or director and they will correct it. Any time we travel, whether to a local competition, parade or our big weekend at Western Carolina we need a few chaperones for each trip. Sometimes we have gotten requests from a kid to put their parent on the other bus, but your support is really appreciated by the kids.

Chickens:  These are the fluffy decorative accessories that are stuck onto the band members’ hats before they perform. Between appearances they are carefully stored and guarded by vigilant band parents. The chickens are very soft, very white, and very susceptible to destruction by water and/or contact with teenagers.  Thus they are applied at the last possible moment before performances and removed as quickly as possible after performances.  Helping to apply and “pluck” the chickens is a volunteer opportunity like no other. 

Colemans: The 1 gallon RED water jugs that students are required to have with them during practices. This is a big part of keeping the kids safe by ensuring they always have water and stay hydrated. They are Coleman model #3000000731 and usually available for under $15 locally or online.

Color Guard:  The group of tireless athletes who provide visual interest to the show through the use of costumes, flags, dancing, and props.

Competitions:  Saturday events involving a number of marching bands performing and competing in a particular high school’s stadium. Bands generally compete against other bands in their “class” – a distinction which is made based on the number of band members.  Parents and family members can go and watch the performances.  You’ll see bands ranging in size from a few dozen to more than 200.  And performance themes that encompass everything imaginable – from the Muppets, to Star Wars, to Aaron Copeland.See Stadium Seats.

DCI: Stands for Drum Corps International.  A group of various professional-level bands, including Color Guards, made up of college age students that perform and compete nationally each summer. They march in formations and positions that are amazing. Enloe alumni have participated in these groups. We have an optional trip to attend a DCI show during the summer, and also sometime watch tapes of performances and competitions while traveling.  They find these performances amazingly engrossing.

Drill:  Is the actual choreography of the show.  It involves development of the patterns in which the band will march while playing the show music.  The drill is written with each band member represented by a specific dot.  If a band member is not available for a show, it creates a hole where the dot is and affects the visual aspect of the performance. Each dot is essential to each performance!

Drillmasters:  Issued to first year marchers at the beginning of the season when uniforms are fitted. The black soft-soled marching shoes that your child will wear for performances.  Designed to facilitate marching footwork.

Dot books:  (See Drill for description of dots.)  A book that your child will be carrying at all times during band camp and bring to rehearsals after that.  Each child’s book is unique and is marked (by the child) with the positions he/she is supposed to be in at each relevant point in the show.  An example of a dot description would be “Two steps to the right of the 50-yard line and three steps behind the flute player in front of me.”                

Dr. Beat: The amplified metronome that is used during practices to ensure that students are keeping proper time in their marching and playing.  Often operated by a band parent.   Never sit in front of Dr. Beat – your ears will never be the same.  Sitting behind Dr. Beat is usually your best option.  Also plan on hearing Dr. Beat in your sleep for days.

Drumline: All percussion instruments.  It has two components.  The battery consists of the kids who actually march, with various types of drums strapped to them.  The Front line is set up on the sidelines and its members do not march, but rather play non-marching instruments such as Marimbas, Chimes, and Vibes. While front line members do not get the physical exertion of marching, that is compensated for by the continual need to move/load/unload heavy pit equipment. (See Pit Crew)

Fair Share:  The money each student is asked to raise or pay to offset band operating costs. For the classroom bands, this is includes music, repairs, and outside clinicians and for marching band includes camp logistics, transportation, uniforms, music, instrument repair etc. Each student has what is called a Fair Share Account. Students and their families may participate in fundraising activities in order to contribute to this account and offset the costs. Each student has his/her own Fair Share account.  It is completely possible to earn enough through fundraising each year to offset the entire cost of marching band operations. Note that activities designated for “General Fundraising,” which is used to buy new instruments and other capital items, do not get credited to fare share (on-going operations) accounts.  See Fundraising Opportunities.

First Aid Kits: These are stored in the snack room and we never leave the building  without them.  They must be on the bus when we travel and on the field when we are rehearsing. Most of our first aid is blisters and sprains early in the season and we work to keep it that way.

Football Fridays:  Specific Fridays on which the Enloe team has a home football game that, from our perspective, is conveniently fit in around the band’s halftime performance.  All or part of the show is performed either at halftime or sometimes after the game.  During games students sit together and play “bleacher music” to give their parents, seated elsewhere, something to listen to while watching the football activities.

Fundraising Opportunities:  Options for students (and parents) to earn money to contribute to fair share accounts or to the general band fund.  Examples include selling Citrus Fruit, selling GoPlaySave books, using grocery cards (see Wake Soccer Park, Script/Gift Cards and Grocery Cards) and a variety of other activities that credit fair share, as well as Friday doughnut sales that provide money to the band’s General Fund (see General Fund).  Some involve active selling, others can be earned simply by getting and using a grocery gift card for your grocery shopping – and asking other family member to do so.  See Fundraising tab on Enloe Band webpage to learn more about specific opportunities. Check Yahoo group emails to learn about upcoming opportunities, details, and deadlines (See Yahoo Group).

Gator:  The green John Deere 4WD vehicle that is used to tow the pit instruments on and off of the field for performances and also to perform endless food/water/missing sweatshirt runs during practices.  Being deemed responsible enough to have keys to the Gator is a great accomplishment for a band parent.

Gatorade:  Not to be confused with the Gator.  A beverage that you will be buying and toting to school in large quantities.  The 20 oz size is preferred. It is a sign of being a band parent if you have a stockpile of Gatorade somewhere in your house.  Along with snack foods, it’s important in keeping the kids energized and in good shape physically.  In past years, the band has filled an entire dorm room with Gatorade at the beginning of away camp.  And consumed virtually all of it over the course of a week.  For safety, we focus on keeping the kids hydrated, and the mix of water during practice and Gatorade at the breaks/meals helps a lot.

General Fund:  An capital account used for the entire band program and funded by a variety of sources including General Fundraising Activities and donations. Money from this account is used for things such as instrument purchases and new uniforms.

Grocery Cards:  Are available for Lowes, Food Lion and Kroger.  They are purchased through a band parent and a certain amount of the face value of the card goes into the Fair Share account. If you purchase a $200 Kroger card and then use it to buy $200 worth of groceries over the course of a month, you have just added $10 to your Fair Share account.  Do it year-round and you can make a big dent in future Fair Share payments.

High Brass:  A band section consisting of the trumpets and the mellophones (marching French Horns).

Icy-Hot:  A pain-relieving substance for sore muscles with a particularly pungent smell that permeates band camp.  (A skunk let loose at band camp one year, but there was much debate before people decided it was something that smelled stronger than Icy Hot).  Is frequently used in conjunction with Ibuprofen and parental sympathy. We use lots of Icy-Hot at band camps.

Leadership:  The students responsible for all (Drum Major) or parts (Captains; Section Leaders) of the band.  There may also be positions involving activities such as communications and logistics.  The role of all the parent volunteers is to support the band leadership and make them successful by handling the logistics while they handle the music.

Line Crew:  This is a group of dedicated parents (See Volunteer Opportunities) who load the front line equipment onto a large truck and later onto a trailer that is attached to the Gator and driven onto the field just before performances, set up for the musicians, then removed afterwards. These parents end up with skills that could allow them to mobilize an entire army on a moment’s notice. Our band usually requires about 7,000 lbs of “stuff” to be moved to each competition to support the show. Also, like Unloading the Truck, this is an activity that builds muscle – and camaraderie.  Not to mention the fact that some competitions give out awards for Best Crew.  Yes, you too can earn bragging rights for something during marching band season.

Long Ranger:  This is the battery powered PA system to which Dr. Beat is connected that is loud enough to cover the field of practice, even while playing.  It includes a headset that allows the instructors to communicate with the band during rehearsals.

Low Brass:  The section of the band that contains the trombones, the euphomiums and the sousaphones.

March-offs:  Competitions held at band camp and a couple of times during the year.  Students form a marching block (similar to the formations in which a military platoon marches) and are given a series of increasingly difficult marching instructions.  As they make mistakes, they drop out and finally one band member is declared the winner.  Winning involves bragging rights, possibly an end-of-season award, and usually an ice-water bath.

Marching Band Season:  An important part of the year that starts in early August and runs though mid-December. It peaks in October, which is when most competitions occur.  Once competitions end around Halloween at Cary Band Day, show rehearsals end as well.  The remaining activities for November and December involve parades, a few parade rehearsals, and a performance at the Christmas Concert. These final events are shorter and far less intense, and thus generally do not require large quantities of Gatorade.

Parades:  The band marches in 2-3 parades per year. Options include the Raleigh Veteran’s Day Parade, the Raleigh Christmas parade on WRAL and another Christmas parade. Full uniform is worn and special music is learned for the performances.  

Podium:  This is the large folding platform that the drum major stand on to conduct the band.  It is stored in the shed.  Assemble carefully and make sure all latches are locked before use.  The podium has a fabric “skirt” with the Enloe logo that we use at performances and hands on the uniform rack for storage.

Ring of Fire: A hallowed ritual that ends the day at band camp in which students stand in a circle, holding their instruments in marching positions for as long as possible, all while listening to endless repeats of Ring of Fire. Winners get band camp bragging rights and great appreciation or loathing for Johnny Cash.

Sections/Sectionals: The band is made up of sections by instrument. The day to day direction for most band activities will come from the section leaders and the kids will frequently warm-up or rehearse with their just section (Sectionals). When a kid is unsure about anything, the first call or text should always be to their section leadership.

Sense of Accomplishment:  What students will feel after the marching band season when they realized how much they have learned and how hard they have worked. What parents will feel when watching the band improve from performance to performance and knowing that their hard work helped make that improvement possible.  Also occurs when a given student remembers his/her black socks without being reminded or finally learns how to bag their uniform.

Set a movement of the show:  If a movement is set, it means that the students have learned the marching moves (See Drill) and the music for that particular movement and are able to march it with few difficulties, other than the occasional missed turn that results in a collision.  When the whole show is set, it means the students have learned everything they need to know to perform the entirety of that year’s show.

Shed: This is a green storage building located near the baseball field where we store the Gator and other outdoor equipment. Keys to the shed are on the same key ring with the Gator key and a key to the gates you need to open.

Show:  This is the performance piece that the band starts learning at away camp and performs and refines throughout the marching season.  Each year’s show has a specific name and a specific theme, with music and choreography chosen to reflect that theme.

Show shirt:  Each student gets a T-shirt each year with the show name, the year, and related artwork on it. These are worn underneath uniforms to soak up the sweat, to show pride, and to help parents keep track of students after performances.  Most parents elect to order extras, since they seem to never to be clean when the kid needs them.

Snacks:  What parents will be providing for the snack bin throughout the year. The bin is divided to allow a choice between sweet or salty snacks, both of which are always needed.  And they are needed in huge quantities.  Just for the week of band camp, if you multiply three snacks per day by the number of band members, the snack requirements are staggering.  Helpful notes: Things with lots of chocolate don’t work well early in the season when it’s hot. Also, Nutrigrain bars (Not Recommended) seem to turn into flattened piles of mush the instant they even come near the snack bin.  We do have snacks that contain nuts, if your student has allergies we need to know so we can help them avoid exposure.

Snacking the band:  An essential (and frequent) activity that allows the band to keep working throughout the afternoon/day. Students are given a choice of snack (See Snack Bin) and are allowed to sit and rest for a few moments while eating it.  Often Gatorade is available as well. Snacking the band is only possible if parents provide the snacks on a regular basis.  Snacks are stored in a room at the school until they are needed, so they don’t need to always be brought in at specific times.

Stadium Seats:  Folding seats (with backs) that can be purchased at a sporting goods store and then brought to games or competitions  and attached to the bleachers to allow middle-aged parents to sit for long periods of time without needing physical help to exit the stands at the end of the event.  Highly recommended.

Sunscreen/Bug spray:  Substances that students will try to avoid but which parent volunteers remind them to apply, as they make practices (and the days after practices) much less painful. We will ask parents to donate these during the season as needed.

Unloading the Truck:  This must be done when the band returns from competitions and parades.  All instruments, uniforms and other band gear must be taken off the truck that is driven to events. No student is to go home until the truck is unloaded and all equipment is returned to its proper place. They will be dismissed by their section leader or the drum major. This task can be expedited by having parents help.  And at midnight on a Saturday, we all have an incentive to expedite. Also, lugging Bari Saxes and heavy pit equipment can make for wonderfully sculpted biceps if you do it enough.

Volunteer opportunities:  This is your chance to say “I’m with the band.”  Countless opportunities exist and come in all different shapes and sizes.  Without parent volunteers the band wouldn’t be able to function.  You can chaperone band camp or competition attendance. You can distribute water and snacks to the kids during afternoon rehearsals.  You can help with the end of the season banquet and awards.  You can contribute food to special events or for football games. All of these opportunities allow you to see how hard your child works, to get to know other parents, and to make your own friends while also offering an invaluable contribution. There are opportunities that fit all kinds of work schedules.  And many companies offer leave time for volunteer work since the band is a non-profit entity.  On top of all that, the value of being able to say to your child “I know Grant’s mother and no, she doesn’t let him do that so this discussion is over” can never be underestimated.

Yard Markers: These are stored in the shed and placed along the sideline of the practice field to help the kids find their dots.

Wake Soccer Park:  One of the year’s first fundraising events (begins in the spring prior to marching band season) and one of the more lucrative events.  Students and parents can sign up for slots working at a concession stand run by Enloe during events games.  A fixed $20 contribution per person per event is automatically deposited in individual students’ Fair Share accounts. (See Fair Share and Fundraising Opportunities).  It’s very easy to earn a lot of your Fair Share money this way. 

Woodwinds:  A band section comprised of clarinets, saxophones and flutes – plus the odd piccolo or two.

Remind Groups: Your source of text communication for all things marching band related.  There are groups for the marching band parents and members.  Be sure to sign up for both and we apologize in advance for some duplication of messages. You will get lots of texts with vital information in them.  

Weather: Safety is always first and many of the instruments can be damaged if they get too wet. Announcements about weather cancellations of rehearsals, competitions, football (we may not be able to play, even though they continue the game), parades and other events will be made by the Yahoo Group. We can usually throw a tarp over the pit  and “case” our sensitive instruments to make it through a brief shower, practice time is valuable. We also move (or stay) indoors and work on music if the weather is not cooperating for long periods.

Web Site: (  This is the place to find forms, the all important calendar, lots of information on volunteer roles, fundraising and ability to see and hear shows past and present as the season progresses.  If you can’t find something you need as a parent, hit the feedback button on the website so we can add it for you and all parents to come.