Welcome New Park Vista Band Parents!
First of all, congratulations on becoming a member of the Park Vista High School Striking Cobra Band, whether as a performer or as a parent. Band is a truly life-changing activity that I hope will be as good for you as it has been for so many parents and graduates in the past. Many times, parents say that they don’t understand what is happening around them. In turn, they found it hard to give 100% support to the band and their children. After all, the band was asking a lot of their family, especially the two things that seem scarcest in today’s world: time and money.
The PV Band is the largest and most recognizable organization on campus. Over the years, we have become a nationally recognized band program and is a national contender in Bands of America. We pride ourselves on the rich tradition of excellence that we enjoy. However, as with any successful organization, we work hard and follow set rules and guidelines. As a parent, your child looks to you for both answers and encouragement. We hope that this guide will help you feel more comfortable to provide them with both and familiarize you with the “inner workings” of our band.
What’s so great about the PV marching band, the Park Vista HS Performers?
Ask 100 parents this question, and you’re likely to get 100 different answers! Every child benefits differently from membership. For some, the greatest benefit is the increase in their child’s selfconfidence. For others, it’s the friendship network that it has helped build. Or, it could be giving their child a sense of pride and accomplishment after working hard and giving a great performance in front of an excited crowd.
Being a member of the Park Vista High School Band will give your children a valuable educational and social experience. They will work hard and experience many triumphs, as well as some hardships and disappointments – things that will prepare them for the “real world” and life after high school.
For parents, marching band lets you be a part of your child’s life at a time when you are feeling less and less welcome in it. Sharing the marching band experience with your child will give you memories that are precious. Through marching band, you’ll see your child grow from a cheeky adolescent to a young adult…and you’ll be extremely proud of their involvement and achievements in the program.
Regardless of the reasons for being a member, one thing is certain marching band opens a door your children will not find anywhere else, and what they experience here will be remembered fondly throughout their lives.
This information has been put together by a group of parents who spent a large portion of their “rookie year” in various stages of confusion. In the many hours spent together watching practices and performances, waiting to pick up kids, and following charter busses, we asked lots of questions.
As novice band parents, of course we wanted to know what we should do. After all, the only people who were even more confused, and looking to us for answers, were our children. We wanted to share with the “upcoming rookie parents” some of the answers to these many questions before we too forget how it felt not knowing what was going on…(of course we still don’t have all the answers)!
We sincerely hope this guide will answer some important questions about time management, time commitment, band fees and how to pay for them, fundraising, and uniforms. We would also like to give you some “insider” information on what it takes to be a band student, and a band parent! Get ready for the best times of your child’s life as a PV band parent!
Charms: Charms is the website which the Park Vista Band uses to communicate information, publish important documents, provide update calendars.
Fair Share: The amount you are obligated to fundraise if your child is to participate in band for the year. Any amount not fundraised will have to be paid out of pocket. Because our band program receives no additional funding from our school or school district, we must raise all of the day to day operating costs to sustain a band of our size and caliber. The fairshare is taken from the band budget for the year and consists of uniform rental, staff pay, competition fees, transportation fees, and any other fees that it takes to make a band of our size and caliber run. (see Mr. Snipes if this would keep your student from participating. He can offer a different payment plan or fundraising options).
Your fair share can be raised in a few ways: football program ad sales, Fuzion ad sales, AdoptaStudent, Rehearseathon sponsorships (100% goes towards your fair share amount), other fundraisers (only a portion of these sales goes towards your individual fair share), and ticket sales for Fuzion (half goes to your fair share). There will be additional fundraising opportunities throughout the year as well. One of the most beneficial ways of raising your fairshare is working at BB&T. Most parents who do this fundraiser are able to pay off their fairshare for the next four years in just one year of working at BB&T (talk about savings?!). Please stay tuned to more information on the BB&T fundraising. Many people who do not like fundraising opt to just pay out of pocket.
Fair share payments are due in portions and a payment schedule will be given to you as soon as one is available. Fair share is to be completed by December as Marching season is generally finished by the weekend before Thanksgiving. Colorguard students will have the entire year to raise their fairshare.
Budget: Fairshare for last year was between $1,000-1,200 per member. Color Guard members have a higher fairshare due to their uniform costs and extra competitions during the winter season. The Fairshare raised helps pay for Band staff (23 staff members), custom music arrangements, custom drill, band equipment and trailers, busses, trucks, props, new and used instruments, repairs, assessment fees, taxes, auditorium usage, tshirts, shoes, band bags, uniform cleanings, supplies, uniform additions, sound equipment, and even more!
Band Camps: Throughout the summer there are several band camps that are mandatory for the students. The first is the Rookie Camp which is generally the first week of the summer right after school lets out. All rookies are expected to attend to begin to learn some of the basics needed to excel in marching band. Then there is a June camp and a July camp. These camps are from Mon-Thursday, leaving Friday and the weekends open for vacations. For the colorguard and percussionists, there have also been practices one day a week when there are no other camps scheduled and these are not mandatory, but expected attendance unless you are out of town or sick.
Full band camp is the last two and a half weeks of summer and is mandatory if your child is expecting to participate in the marching program and march in any of the shows. This is the time when all music is polished and any movements are put together. If you will be out of town for ANY of the summer dates, you are expected to let Mr. Snipes know ASAP so that something can be worked out. If your child misses any camp without prior communication, there is a possibility your child will be an alternate and will definitely fall behind since the students learn new things all summer long.
Uniform for Band Camps: All students are required to have sunglasses, hats, sunscreen (LOTS of sunscreen), and water jugs (filled with LOTS of water) for the band camps and rehearsals. During the school year rehearsals, the band students are expected to wear white shirts, black shorts, hats and sunglasses. Guard is expected to wear the provided white tank tops and blue soffes, with a white sports bra, and black spanx under the soffes. For the pictures during full band camp, they have been required to wear black leotard and black Pilates pants. (The Guard is assigned certain props (flags, sabers, etc.) that are labeled and assigned to them. Just like the uniforms for the marching band, if a piece is lost or unnecessarily damaged, fees will be added to your statement.)
Marching Uniform: The students will be fitted during the course of the summer band camps in one of the marching uniforms. They will also be fitted for bandos (black shoes) and a shako (hat). Before the first football game, they will also be assigned a set of white gauntlets which will be hung with their uniforms in the band room. The Uniform parent will store the uniforms between games and competitions and the students are expected to take extreme care to not damage the uniforms while wearing them and hang them up as directed at the end of the night. If an item is lost or severely damaged, you will be assessed the amount for the damaged or lost item. Also, each marching student needs black long socks for their uniform to be complete. If they do not have socks with them, the uniform parent can provide them at a cost to you, as well as gloves. However, your student is responsible for bringing them with them for each game and competition.
Band Board: Elected volunteers that have offered to serve in each of the board positions to help make the band run smoothly. Please remember each of the board are VOLUNTEERS and most have other jobs in addition to the board position and will try to get back with you as soon as possible. Sometimes communication breaks down when emails are lost so please try to be patient and pleasant when dealing withthe board members.
Schedules: We understand that having a set schedule is very helpful and will try to make this happen. However, please be flexible as things do arise that may make schedule changes necessary. Between changes given to us by the school, football program, weather, and needs of the band to get certain things accomplished, schedules and information can change and the board will do their best to get you all information as soon as possible.
Rehearsals: In addition to the band camps during the summer, the students will be expected to attend full band rehearsals each Tuesday and Thursday from 4:30 to 8:00. Sectionals for Woodwind and Brass will be held each Monday from 3:30-5:30. Sectionals for Guard and Percussion will be held each Wednesday from 3:30-5:30. There are also some Saturday rehearsals in September as the kids are gearing up for their first competitive season which begins the last weekend in September and ends the third weekend in November. Please check the schedule as it is given out.
Each student will be given two “free” unexcused absences for the season. These are known as “freebies”. These should be reserved for EMERGENCY use ONLY! The ONLY excuses accepted are listed below. Parents should schedule doctor’s appointments around band rehearsal and performance times. After the 2 nd unexcused absence, the student will automatically become an alternate. After the 3 rd unexcused absence, the student will be removed from the marching band completely and replaced.
Excusable absences would include:
a) Sick and absent from school with Doctor’s Note
b) Death in the family
c) Religious holidays
Unexcused absences would include:
a) Dentist/Orthodontist appointments
b) Driving test
d) Homework (learn to manage your time wisely)
e) Pop/Rock concerts or sporting events
h) Family trips (can be excused if notice is at least 4 weeks in advance)
i) Don’t have a ride (this can be worked out with your section leader or another student)
Communication: Please provide your current email address(es) that you will check daily. It is much easier tosend out email blasts to the whole group as opposed to making phone calls to a band this size. We will try tomake sure information is also posted in a timely manner to the band parent and student Facebook page. Thestudents have their own and should check it regularly/daily, as well. You and your student are stronglyencouraged to each have a Facebook account to keep up to date. Even though Facebook, is a great source of immediate communication, it is NOT our primary means. Emails sent through Charms will be our primary means of communication.
Water/meals: It is important that the students stay hydrated while rehearsing, especially during band camps. It is hot and we want the students to remain well. To accomplish this, it is expected that your student bring a water jug with them to each camp and practice. We recommend that they have a gallon jug for band camps and at least a half-gallon for each rehearsal during the week. This keeps them from having to go without water because they have run out and don’t have time to refill. There are also wet washcloths available, as well as sprayers, to help cool them down. Students are given ample breaks to refill their water jugs and cool down a bit as they enjoy refreshing frozen ice pops provided by the band parents!
Volunteering: We have many opportunities to volunteer throughout the marching season and you will be notified via email when they come up and are usually taken on a first come, first served basis. Please know that with the number of people in the band, it is easier to do it this way. That being said…know that other than chaperoning, we have many places to put your talents to good use. Please make sure to let us know your talents when you fill out your band packet on the information page. We will need people to help alter uniforms, possibly make props (a variety of people are needed), etc.
Frequently Asked Questions…
How Will My Child Have Time? How will our children have the time to go to rehearsals three days a week after school, perform at seven to eight Friday night football games, and compete on three or four Saturdays? How will they have the time to do all of this, within a three-month period, and keep up their grades??
Time Management will be the most important tool that your children will acquire when they become members of the PVHS band program. The students quickly learn that they must use every minute of their day wisely. The time not spent in practice has to be spent doing schoolwork, there is no other choice and they know that. At any given time you will find students in the band room, out in the hallway, or in any other space available doing homework. This is taught to them when they first join the program and it is expected of them. Remember that most band members are Honors, AICE and AP students. Study Hall is held and hour and a half before every practice. Most students get the majority of their homework/studying done during this time.
Your student will learn how to keep a schedule, how to be punctual, and how to set priorities.
During the June Band Camp, a detailed schedule will be distributed to all band students. It will list every rehearsal, football game, and competition your student will be required to attend the next three months (well, almost every rehearsal). You can also view this schedule on the Band’s web site at www.pvhsband.net and this schedule will now become a permanent attachment to your refrigerator.
Your child will also become punctual. They will be taught the meaning of the phrase…
“Early is on time, on time is late!”
Finally, your child will learn how to set priorities. No longer will you see your children staring mindlessly at the television, or playing PS3 or computer games for hours upon hours. Band rehearsals and homework will now fill their free time. (If only the band program could teach them to make time to take out the garbage without being reminded 100 times!!!)
What About Rehearsals? Does my child really have to be there?
Rehearsals during Marching Band season are mandatory. One absent member will disrupt rehearsal for all members of the band. To be able to put the best possible musical product on the field, the staff and director need for all members of the band to be present during all scheduled rehearsals. Our marching band here at Park Vista is a nationally competitive band. With the emergence of drum corps, the nature of marching band has changed over the years. If you were in high school marching band as a youngster, it is most likely NOT the same kind of band and/or approach. Therefore, attendance at every rehearsal is absolutely crucial to our success. Please see the Band Handbook for the consequences of missed rehearsals. Your membership depends on consistent participation. Management of a band this size is a monumental task and it becomes next to impossible if members of the band are absent. Please help your student make every effort to be there.
How Do Parents Get Involved?
PARENT INVOLVEMENT = A SUCCESSFUL BAND PROGRAM
Getting involved in the band program will give you the opportunity to share with your child the last four years of their education. These years go so fast and are rarely enjoyed by many parents. Your child might say they rather not have you around, but most parents actually learn that in reality they appreciate your involvement and will thank you in the future.
PVHS is fortunate to have a great director, and staff. The band parents are needed to support the director, and help with the details of fundraising, transporting, feeding and watering an organization of this size. The band needs parents to be able to function; it is for this reason that we urge you to get involved. Join one of the many committees; we need your help. Grandparents, siblings, or any member of your family can get involved and make a difference. Attend the Band parents meetings; it is a great way to meet the parents and the kids your student will be spending much of their time with for the next few months and years together.
The easiest way to volunteer is by attending the monthly Band parent meetings where you will learn more about the program and where it needs your help. Don’t just sit in the car, get out and ask, “How can I help?” It is fun and you meet the other parents with the same interests as yours. As a guideline, it is recommended that every family contributes at least 25 hours of volunteering to the Band Program.
How Do We Keep Informed?
The PVHS Band web site and Charms is a place that you will want to visit often not only to keep informed, It is here that you will find the latest information on all upcoming events and fundraising opportunities. Make sure to visit our web site at www.pvhsband.net . You will find rehearsal times, schedules, Band Handbooks, Chaperone Guidelines, and all parent contact information. You will also have an opportunity to sign up for the mailing list.
How Do We Pay For This ?
Having a program of our size and caliber requires funding. Unfortunately, we do not receive funding from any outside source, including the school or school district. Therefore, each band family is expected to “pull their weight” of raising funds for the band. While your middle school programs traditionally did not have many expenses, the high school band program is very different. When we hear the bottom line, we sometimes wonder how we are going to be able to raise the funds needed for our children to be able to continue the pursuit of their musical interest. We do not want the economic factor to keep any student from participating in band. Throughout the year, there are many opportunities to raise funds. There have been families that did not pay anything out of pocket for their student to be in band, due to their successful fundraising. We have a fundraising team, dedicated to provide many opportunities to earn band fees. Some of the most successful are BB&T, the Football Program ads, Adopta-Student, Rehearse-a-Thon Sponsorships, Car Washes, Cheesecake sales, and many other ideas that come up throughout the year.
The fee schedule is broken down into regularly scheduled payment amounts. You can deposit smaller amounts into your child’s account ahead of the payment due date. This can be done all through the year so you don’t have to come up with all the money at one time. The best way to learn about these fundraising opportunities is by keeping informed; and the best way to keep informed is by visiting the Band website\Charms and attending the Band Parent meetings that take place all year long. Due dates are not flexible, however unique circumstances can always be discussed and worked out with the Band Director
Uniforms, Uniforms – What Do They Wear?
Marching Band Rehearsals and Band Camp
Wear comfortable shoes, closed toe, no flip flops. A light colored t-shirt, and shorts are appropriate. All students must wear a hat…NO EXCEPTIONS. Students may want an extra t-shirt in case of a sudden rain shower. As we move further into the season, students may want to also wear knee pads as they are doing choreography on the asphalt practice field. A towel to lay their instrument on in the parking lot is also great.
Helpful Hints to Save You Time and Grief
Make your child responsible for being prepared. The first time they forget something will be the last!!!
They learn to be resourceful when they have to be.
At the end of each practice session there are usually announcements – listen up. This is your best opportunity to find out who, what, where and when things are going on. Always plan to have your child at a rehearsal at least 30 minutes in advance and plan to pick them up 30 mins after the published time. This is because all students must assist with cleanup
after rehearsals and may also be asked to meet briefly with their section leader, captain or staff member.
Network – This is how we meet each other. It is also one of the best ways to get helpful hints on band
parenting from others.
Carpool to practices / competitions/ MPA’s when necessary. Network – what other band students live
in your neighborhood.
Be prepared to cheer! The band loves it when they have their own cheering section. Always stand for
them after a performance!!! They have worked very hard to do what you see and hear.
Don’t put uniform items away in the closet or drawers when cleaned. Keep all items (socks, shoes,
band shirt, gloves, etc.) in a bag. These tips will save time spent hunting for them each time they are
Keep extra gloves, socks, needle & thread, etc. in your car or purse just in case.
Visit the band web site and Charms to stay informed.
Enter your information in Charms when prompted.
Get ready for one of the most AMAZING experiences of your child’s life!!!
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