Our marching band is made up of many key groups (we call them sections), but we are ONE band. The front percussion ensemble, our drum battery, our guard and our various instrumental sections all participate together in a series of "camps" that first develop fundamentals and quickly progress to learning the routines, music and marching that make up our competitive show.
Camp usually begins in early August. When camp begins, we expect everyone to have learned their individual music so we can focus on the ensemble. We spend our first days on fundamentals of marching, playing and tossing (hopefully only the guard is tossing) to get everyone ready to learn the show drill. Due to the Raleigh heat in August, we spend the hottest portion of our days indoors working on music and routines, and save outdoor work for the “cooler” portions of the day. All of our marchers carry water bottles when outdoors and parents are on hand with water refills to keep the students hydrated and sunscreen to protect them from the sun. Our final few days are "night camp" from 4:30-8:30PM to finalize marching and music, by now we can all see (and hear) the results of the past few weeks and the excitement really builds. Parents are welcome to watch any time, but "night camp" is an excellent time for parents and alumni to visit and see the show coming together.
You need to come to camp hydrated, you can't catch up on water if you start behind. It takes at least 36 hours of increased water intake to get your body ready for rehearsals outdoors. Just drinking water when you are on the field will not be enough, start early and drink water often.
All band members are required to attend camp.
The hard work really starts to pay off this final week of camp, we are focused on the show and making sure we are visually and musically telling the story. This week ends with our first performance for our friends and parents at family night.
The changes made to our schedule to ensure time to participate in short club meetings, attend class study sessions or just do homework immediately after school have been very successful. We will continue to have rehearsal start a bit after school ends (3:00PM sharp). The full band will rehearse on Tuesdays and Thursdays. Guard and Percussion will have additional dedicated sectionals most weeks.
Many of the bands we compete against have Marching Band as a class and thus spend 90 minutes rehearsing during the school day and still hold 2-3 after school rehearsals each week. Our approach is to learn as much as possible before the school year begins, and then improve on it each week in our rehearsals once school begins.