Marching Band – What to Expect!

Welcome! ROOKIE BAND PARENTS (and vets that need a refresher course)

Let’s Get Started

 In the many hours spent together watching practices and performances, waiting to pick up kids, and following yellow school buses, parents ask a lot of questions. As novice band parents, of course we want 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. This will share with you, 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)!

Being a member of the Umatilla High School (UHS) Band Program will bring your children an interesting, and fulfilling educational experience. They will work hard and experience many triumphs, as well as downfalls; two things that will prepare them for the real world after high school. 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!

Here are a few key people that you should get to know.  The Band Booster President, this will be your go to person for any questions about parent involvement, the Band Booster Association or any of the committee chair persons. The Band Director is Ms. Brittnie Curley; Percussion Caption Head is Mr. Robert Weisenbarger, the Woodwind Caption Head is Mr. Cole Binkley. Any of the Directors can answer general questions about the functioning of the band program, calendar, schedule, etc….. 


How Will My Child Have Time?


How will our children have the time to go to rehearsals two days a week outside school, perform at six or seven Friday night football games, and compete on two or three 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 skill that your children will acquire when they become members of the UHS 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. Educational research has shown (and parents agree) that the discipline and focus developed in marching band carries over into the classroom. Not surprisingly, many Marching Band students are Honor, AP and/or college bound and receive many academic accolades and college scholarships.   

Your student will learn how to keep a schedule, how to be punctual, and how to set priorities. At the Spring Kick Off, a detailed schedule will be distributed to all band students and parents. It will list every rehearsal, football game, and competition your student will be required to attend over the next three months (well, almost every rehearsal). You can also view this schedule on the Band’s web site at  This schedule should now become a permanent attachment to your refrigerator. Your child will also become punctual. They will be taught the meaning of the phrase… “If you’re early, you’re on time; if you’re on time; you’re late”.

Finally, your child will learn how to set priorities. Band rehearsals and homework will now fill their free time. While this may seem daunting – your child will find time to make friends, experience what teamwork is, and (after marching camp) start school with 50+ friends – making band a great place to be if they are punctual and are prioritizing their busy lives.


What About Rehearsals?


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 directors need for all members of the band to be present during all scheduled rehearsals. Please see the Band Handbook (every student will receive one) for the consequences of missed rehearsals. The student’s 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 – remember PUNCTUALITY!!


How Do Parents Get Involved?


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 that 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. UHS 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 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. If you have a child in the UHS Band then CONGRATULTIONS you are now a member of the Band Boosters (There are no fees; just be involved).  The Band Boosters 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 four years. The easiest way to volunteer is by attending the six Band Booster meetings or the monthly committee meetings where you will learn more about the program and where it needs your help. Booster Meetings are held on the following dates... TBD

There are many days where parents are arriving to pick their child up from practice and we encourage you to not just sit in the car, get out and ask, “How can I help?” Rehearsals are open and parents welcome to bring a chair, serve water, refill ice coolers, provide snacks, sunscreen, bug spray and just sit and listen. It is fun and you meet the other parents with the same interests as yours. Also at the end of every rehearsal there will be full band announcements for the students and being out of the car and nearby is an incredible opportunity to gain even more information that never passes from your child to you.


How Do We Keep Informed?

The UHS Band web site is a place that you will want to visit OFTEN – not only to keep informed, but also to view the most recent pictures of the band’s activities. 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 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.


What is CHARMS and how do I use it.  CHARMS is an online band management database program used by parents & the band, to manage student contact information, band account tracking, communicate with parents, update the calendar, and work with trips, fees, fundraisers, form collection, and lots more. Your child will automatically be enrolled into CHARMS through the band department. Use your CHARMS login to help you keep track of your child’s band involvement! Every student’s login is their last name first initial (no spaces or capitalization). It's improtant to change your password the first time you log in. The student and parent share the same login information so it's important to communicate with your child what the password to your account is. You can access CHARMS through this website or go directly there at    Login regularly to stay up to date! For more information on how to access charms please see the step by step instructions on the parent page. 


How Do We Pay For This?

There are many questions about the economic impact of the Band Program. While your middle school programs traditionally did not have high fees, 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. Our Director does not want the economic factor to keep any student from participating in band and will always work with the parents in developing a program or process to ensure that the fees get covered.

Throughout the year there are many opportunities to earn credits towards band fees. There have been families that did not pay anything out of pocket for their student to be in band, and to participate in the yearly band trip, due to their successful fundraising. We have a fundraising team, dedicated to provide many opportunities to earn credits for band fees. 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 web site and attending the Fundraising Committee meetings that take place all year long. Some examples of our fundraisers are:  Attending Car Washes, Sellling Candy Bars, Getting Sponsors, Selling Concert Tickets,  as well as several others throughout the year.

The following are standard costs that are required of the students.  The Director has tried extremely hard to keep the cost of these fees to a minimum.  If you are curious please take a few minutes and Google some of the schools in the Lake County area and you will find Band fees that are often similar or double the amount of the UHS Band.  Speaking of feeding the students – another great time to get involved!!!  See the Booster Club.

  • Rookie Supplies $65  Rookies are any students that are new to the UHS Band, either as a freshman or as a transfer student. This fee covers the cost of the Dinkles Marching Shoes and the specific shorts that are used for the  Uniform and rehearsal shirt.  This is a one-time only fee and your students keep the shoes and shorts and polo

  • Commitment Fee $20 - By paying your child's committment fee they will receive their Practice shirt and a spot in the Marching Band Show. 

  • UHS Band Fee $300 - This is due from every student every year and is used to cover the cost of gloves, drill designers, music writers, guest clinicians and numerous other operational costs like instrument repairs, music purchases, etc. Monthly payments can only be made on automatic withdrawl. Quarterly payments can be made via cash/check or automatic withdrawl. Accommodations and payment plans can also be made. 

  • Instrument Rental Fee $60 - This is due only from students that are performing on school instruments.  Those that must pay the instrument fee are the same that had that fee in Middle School.  Many of the students such as French Horns, Euphoniums and Tubas will now receive two different instruments from the school. However the instrument fee will not change, they will receive the second instrument at no additional cost. You can opt to pay by semester ($30 Fall/$30 Spring) OR if you can pay for the whole school year and receive a $10 discount. ($25 additional if your student wants to take the school instrument home for the summer)


Uniforms, Uniforms – What Do They Wear?

Marching Band Rehearsals

Wear athletic shoes, no flip flops, no boots and no high top tennis shoes. The practice shorts and shirt (no long jeans or pants). If you do not wish to wash your child's shirt between practices, because they will get STINKY, we recommend purchasing a second shirt.   


  • Dinkles – These are special marching band shoes. Your child will be sized and shoes will be ordered for them.  This is paid directly to the Dinkles representative on the day of Spring Kick-Off.

  • Band Uniform – they will be fitted for a uniform jacket and pants (bibbers). Their uniform will stay at the school at all times when they are not wearing them. A wonderful committee will teach the students how to clean the uniforms clean, and hang them up so they are ready for the next event. Each student is given a uniform, garment bag and shako (hat) all of which is stored at the school. Prior to leaving for the game your child will be PUNCTUAL and get to the High School with enough time to change into their uniform.

  • T-shirt /  shorts to be worn under uniform for group changes. Students will change into and out of uniform in the Band Room.

  • Black gloves (two pair are provided as part of the supply structure) We suggest having several extra pairs. They cost about $3 per pair and can be purchased from the Drum Majors before and after rehearsals.

  • Black socks, TALL. We suggest having several pairs exactly alike. (Dryers love to eat socks.)

 Tips to remember while in uniform:

  • No jewelry – This includes all piercings and gauges, rings, watches, etc….

  • Hair pulled up and back. If you are a guy with long hair it must be pulled up and back.  All hair will be held in place with bands and pins that are the same color as your hair, the only additional hairpieces that are accepted are small, royal blue bows and ribbons.

  • Minimal Make-up (Guard is the exception, it is part of the uniform)

  • Colored drinks, condiments, and any other messy or greasy food is not to be eaten while in uniform. Clear liquids only.


When the bus arrives back at school can my child leave?

NOT until the following has happened:

  • They have turned in their uniform, hung up correctly. Students will be shown the correct method to hang the uniform to help ensure proper look, fit and life expectancy of the uniform.

  • Listened to any messages from the Director or Instructors. There are times where information about the following day, week or event is given just before dismissal.  This helps students with remembering when and where they are supposed to be.

  • They have gathered all their stuff and their equipment, uniform and instrument are unloaded and put in its proper place.

  • This entire process usually takes about 30 minutes AFTER the bus has arrived back at Umatilla.

  • Leadership is the LAST to leave!


Are There Really Inspections?

YES there are and “boy” are they important.  Inspections are held before games in the bandhall. Students should be in place no later than the time they were told to report.  PUNCTUALITY!!!   Your student, their uniform and all auxiliary equipment will be inspected prior to departure from UHS. Failure to pass inspection could lead to your child not performing with the Band at that performance!  Miss marching halftime at a football game as a result of not passing inspection would be a very unfortunate situation as the main reason we as parents go to games is to see our children perform.


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.

  • 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. You can Network on Facebook OR download the "Band" App in your app store today and follow the UHS Bulldog Band Parents Page. 

  • Carpool to competitions or volunteer to chaperone on the bus. 

  • Be prepared to cheer! The band loves it when they have their own cheering section.

  • 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 needed. 

  • Keep extra gloves, socks, needle & thread, etc. in your car or purse just in case.

  • Visit the band web site OFTEN and attend Booster Meetings to stay informed.



You Know You Are A Band Parent When. . . .

  • You make three more trips than expected to drop off your child with everything they need.

  • You carry spare black gloves, needle and thread, safety pins, black socks and duct tape in your pocketbook.

  • You follow buses around all day on Saturdays.

  • You can’t pick your child out of the crowd because they all look alike.

  • You no longer speak of your child as a fourteen-year-old daughter/son, but as a “freshman trumpet, freshman flute,” etc.

  • You prominently display a band calendar in the kitchen, have band dates marked on the calendar in your purse and/or have the Band Hotline Number on your speed dial.

  • You know that you will be wearing something Blue and/or Silver every Friday night and on Saturdays.

  • “To be early is to be on time and to be on time is to be late” becomes your mantra for everything you do.

  • You don’t leave home without cushions to sit on, camera and camcorder!

  • You are cheering with other band parents.


We hope this information answered some of your questions – please feel free to ask any and all questions you have at the Booster Meetings, or directly to any experienced band parent – together we will find the answer(s).


(352) 354-3498