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Marching Band 101
The Parent Edition

This information has been put together by a group of parents with various degrees of experience in the Chattahoochee High School Marching Band world. In the many hours spent together watching practices and performances, waiting to pick up kids, and following yellow school buses, we have learned valuable information.

When our children first joined the band, we, of course, 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)! 

Being a member of the Chattahoochee marching band program will bring your children an exciting and fulfilling educational experience. They will work hard and experience many triumphs, as well as some disappointments; 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! 

Question: How Will My Child Have Time?
How will our children have the time to go to rehearsals two to three days a week after school, perform at ten to twelve Friday night football games, and compete on Saturdays three to four times a year? 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 CHS 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 or AP students.

Your student will learn how to keep a schedule, how to be punctual, and how to set priorities. 

During the first week of 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 calendar page of This schedule will now become a permanent attachment to your refrigerator.  Of course,  changes can and do occur throughout the season so make sure to check the website regularly and bookmark the calendar page. 

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;

and if you’re late it’s unacceptable.”

Finally, your child will learn how to set priorities. No longer will you see your children staring mindlessly at the television, or playing X-Box 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!!!) 

Question: What About Rehearsals? Does my student REALLY have to be there EVERY TIME?

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. 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 

Question: How Do Parents Get Involved?

An underlying (not so secret) secret to our success is this...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 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. 

Chattahoochee High School is fortunate to have a wonderful band 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 and volunteer. 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. Join the Band Booster organization; 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. 

The easiest way to volunteer is by attending the band booster meetings. There, you will learn more about the program and where it needs your help. We meet on the first Monday of every month from 6:30pm-7:00pm. The large general meetings are prior to each of our concerts.

Don’t just sit in the car....get out and ask, “How can I help?” Getting involved is fun and you get the chance to meet the other parents with the same interests as yours. As a guideline, it is recommended that every family contributes at least 10 hours to the marching band program throughout the season. 

Question: How Do We Stay Informed?

Make sure to visit our web site at Here, you'll find a calendar, links to resources, rehearsal schedules, game day information, photos, and a link to CHARMS (our web-based data system) where you can sign up to receive notifications.  In addition, the booster club sends out a weekly newsletter during the season to keep you informed. It is there you will find the latest information on all upcoming events and fundraising opportunities.

Question: How Do We Pay For This?

There are many questions about the economic portion of the band program. While middle school programs traditionally have minimal 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 band directors and boosters would NEVER want a family to choose not to participate due to an economic factor. Efforts are made to offer numerous opportunities throughout the year and the summer to earn money toward band fees. Every year, there are families who don't pay one penny out of pocket for their student to be in band, due to their successful fundraising. Some of the most successful fundraisers are the Ameris Concessions opportunities, the annual Mattress Sale, and the fundraisers through Social Media.

The fee schedule is broken down into regularly scheduled payment amounts. You can elect to deposit smaller amounts regularly into your child’s account througout the year and ahead of the payment due date if that is what works best for your family. Because this can be done throughout the year, you don’t have to come up with all the money at one time. The best way to learn about fundraising opportunities is by staying informed and involved; and the best way to keep informed is by visiting the web site and attending the booster 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 or either of the booster VPs of Finance. 

Question: Uniforms, Uniforms – What Do They Wear?

Marching Band Rehearsal Dress Code

The marching band season begins with summer band camp in mid-July and continues on Monday and Wednesday afternoons througout the fall. This means it's often hot and humid during rehearsals. For this reason, we recommend the following:

  • Wear comfortable, closed-toe shoes with plenty of support. This isn't the time to try out your new pair of shoes. 

  • No flip flops

  • Bring an extra pair of socks, just in case

  • Wear a comfortable pair of shorts or compression pants. It's not the time for blue jeans.

  • Wear a comfortable t-shirt or tank top. 

  • Girls should wear a sports bra or something with plenty of support, since we'll be moving around a lot

Football Game Dress Code

The band uniform is on loan to each band member and is owned by the band. This means it's up to the student to take exceptional care of their uniform elements. 

The Band Uniform consists of these elements:

  • Black marching band shoes – These are special marching band shoes that clean up well with shoe polish. 

  • Black, knee-length socks without other colors or designs

  • Band Uniform pants or "bibbers" as they're called. These are a zip-up, overall-like, high-waisted pants that have been sized to your student. There are buckles on the shoulder straps that can be used to tighten or loosen the vertical fit, and there are snaps inside the leg holes of the pants to shorten the leg length.

  • Band Uniform jacket. This jacket has three parts: the jacket itself, a snap-in triangular element in the front and a cape that snaps in on the right side under the jacket near the waist. All three elements add up to the jacket, and all three elements must be present for the student to be "in uniform." 

  • Gauntlets. This is a wrist covering of sorts. There are two - one for each wrist. 

  • Shako (the marching band hat). The shako is part of the uniform too. It should be kept in the student's band bag. Plumes are handed out and collected at the game by parents.

  • Compression shorts or regular shorts. These are worn under the bibbers. Students are often required to change on the bus on the way to away games. Girls will be separated from boys during this time. It is recommended that students wear something under the bibbers that allows them to change quickly. 

  • Band shirt or show shirt. This is worn under the jacket. For the same reason as above, it is recommended that students wear a shirt that allows them to change comfortably on the bus

Color Guard uniforms change from year to year.

Tips to remember while in uniform: 

  • No visible jewelry 

  • No make up 

  • Hair should be worn up and inside the shako. Please bring whatever hair ties that will allow this.

  • Colored drinks, condiments, and any other messy or greasy food should be avoided while in uniform. Clear liquids are highly recommended (H2O is always best). 

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. 

  • 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 to stay informed. 

  • Check CHARMS.

Terms and Phrases: 
“Band practice is at 9 o’clock. If you're early, you’re on time; if you’re on time, you’re late; if you’re late, it’s unacceptable.”

  • When you drop your child off at 8:30, there will be students already there, ready to play. At this point, the anxiety level for being late dramatically increases. The band actually takes the practice field for warm-ups around 8:45. This is when your child will be sweating bullets. Always allow extra time. There are no excuses. 

“Where is your dot book?”

  • These are cards that students wear around their necks during band camp that tell them exactly where they stand for different setups. A good place to keep these is in their band bag or music folder. 

“ Where’s my dot?” or “Do we line up on the hash?”

  • This does not refer to insects or food. These terms indicate how the practice field is marked off. Students use their coordinate cards to answer these questions. 

“Are you working the Pit?”

  • The pit is not something bad. It’s a group of percussion instruments that travel on a trailer and are stationary during performances. Parents in the Pit Crew work feverishly to set up and take down the pit in record time, before and after a performance (and you think race pit crews are fast!!) 

“Last Time”

  • This can mean one more time, a few more times, it can mean you’re beginning to approach the road to the last time, or it can mean we’ll keep doing it until you get it right! 

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 white 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 web site bookmarked on your computer.

  • You already know what you'll be wearing every Friday night this fall. (Hint: Band Spirit Wear or the school colors) 

  • Early is on time and on time is late.

  • You don’t leave home without cushions to sit on, your phone or camera! 

  • You are cheering with other band parents. 

Goooooooooooooooooooooooo Hooch!!!! 

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