Q: How can I stay informed of band-related activities and last-minute changes?

A: The web site is updated frequently, but to be sure you receive all the essential information, especially late-breaking news, you should subscribe to all relevant band email lists.

Q: What is the “pit crew”? What is ISSMA? What are gauntlets? What is the Auxiliary?

A: See the glossary!

Q: I’ve got some cool digital North band pictures. Do you want them?

A: Yes! We’re especially interested in recent pictures of the concert and jazz bands in action as well as pictures for the marching band, to display on the home page or album pages. Please send your pictures or a link to where they can be found to the band webmaster or contact them for other options.

Q: How do I get spirit items, shirts, jackets, etc.?

A: Spirit items are offered for sale at various band functions, including the annual pitch-in and parent display at the end of band camp or mini-camp. You may also contact the Merchandise & Spirit chairman listed on the Band Boosters Leadership page.

Q: What is a student band account?

A: A student band account is an account kept on a student’s behalf by the treasurer of the band boosters. A portion of the proceeds from some fund-raising activities that the student participates in is placed into the student’s account. You can use the band account to pay for fees, trips, and certain other items.

Q: What are some ways I can earn money for my band account?

A: You can purchase gift cards for grocery stores and other businesses. A percentage of what you spend is deposited in your account. Look for information on the Band Bucks program. There are sometimes other opportunities during the year; ask your band director.

Q: As a parent, how can I become more involved with the band program?

A: Many opportunities to be involved present themselves throughout the year, including simply attending band concerts and contests. The best way to get involved, however, is to come to Band Boosters meetings or volunteer to work at or organize various events, e.g., chaperoning a band trip, coordinating advertising for the Swing Dance, or being a door monitor for Solo & Ensemble. Contact the relevant volunteer coordinator and/or Boosters president (listed on the Band Boosters Leadership page) if you think you might like to volunteer.

Q: How do I join the band boosters?

A: If you have a child in the band program, you’re already a member. Parents and guardians are asked to support the organization by volunteering whenever possible. In addition to helping to enrich your child’s experience, volunteering is a great way to meet other band parents. Many close friendships have started while serving in the concession stand, chaperoning, working in the pit crew, etc.  Planning meetings are held approximately once a month during the school year. Just show up and see what’s it’s all about!

Q: How are boosters board members elected?

A: They aren’t elected, they volunteer (or are volunteered), as do committee chairpersons! If you would like to join the board, inform the board president, listed on the Band Boosters Leadership page. There’s probably an open position right now, and if not, one can probably be created.

Q: How does the boosters organization support the bands?

A: The band boosters organization provides both financial and volunteer support to the bands. Money raised by the boosters helps to fund purchases of large instruments, uniforms, the truck and driver, music, and various other expenses. The marching band season consumes the most resources, but the other bands and groups get their shares also. In addition to fund-raising efforts, booster volunteers help organize, run, and chaperone band events, from local ISSMA contests, to trips across the state, to the occasional trips across the country or overseas.

Q: Help! What do I wear for tonight’s concert?

A: See the “concert attire” section of the Information for Concert Bands page.

Q: Where can I find private lesson teachers?

A: See the “private lessons” section of the Information for All Bands page.

Q: What does it take to earn a band letter?

A: See the “band letters” section of the General Information for All Bands page. (Band letters and pins may have been discontinued. Talk to a band director about it.)

Q: Are family and friends invited to attend marching band contents?

A: Not only invited, but strongly encouraged. Many marching-band families attend every contest, and almost everyone attends at least one. The more the merrier, since a strong cheering section can energize the band and lead to a stronger showing.

Q: I want to attend a marching band contest and watch my student perform. When does it start and how do I get there?

A: Itineraries are sent out to the band email list each week prior to a band contest, usually by Thursday. They may also be posted on the website. Look for a link on the home page or the marching band information page. Mapquest or Google Maps can be used to get directions. Most of the competitions take place at schools in the Indianapolis area.

Q: Where do I send marching band payments?

A: Send them to Thomas Wilson; Band Department; BHS North; 3901 North Kinser Pike; Bloomington, IN 47404. You may also be able to make payments directly from your student band account by contacting the treasurer (listed on the Band Boosters Leadership page), if your account has enough money.

Q: What is band camp? What are the rehearsals the week before?

A: Band camp is an intensive week of marching-band rehearsals. Rehearsals typically run from 9am to 9:30pm, with breaks for lunch and dinner. Dinners are served by parent volunteers, but the students are on their own for lunch. Students can bring lunch or go out. Older students often give rides to younger students to one of the local fast-food restaurants. Each student should be sure to bring lots of water—1/2 gallon minimum—and sunscreen, as well as comfortable shoes. Sunglasses, hats, and an extra shirt are good to have as well.

Marching-band reheasals usually start the week before band camp, with afternoon sessions for freshmen and other new marchers (along with section leaders) and evening sessions for the full band. The color guard and percussion section begin practicing even earlier—often actually before school lets out in the Spring semester.

For more accurate and detailed information about this year’s rehearsal schedule, check the Events Calendar.

Q: What are ISSMA and BOA marching band competitions? How does it all work?

A: ISSMA is the Indiana State School Music Association. They sponsor many different competitions that North participates in. The Marching Band Competitions begin with Regional contests and progress to SemiState competitions, culminating with the State Finals. The top 10 bands in each class compete at the Finals. Class is based on school size, from A to D, A schools being the largest.

BOA is Bands of America, a part of Music For All. All high school bands through the 12th grade are eligible for BOA Grand National and Regional Championships. North has competed in Regionals in Michigan and Indianapolis. Classes A through AAAA are based on school size, A having the fewest students. At Regionals, preliminary performances occur during the day, with the 10 top bands, regardless of class, competing again in the evening. Ratings of I to IV are based on scores, with I being the highest score range. Awards for the preliminaries are presented for 1st, 2nd and 3rd place, as well as for Outstanding Music Performance, Outstanding Visual Performance and Outstanding General Effect, in each class. The Grand Nationals are an independent competition, not a follow-up.

Prior to the ISSMA competitions, there are a number of Invitationals. Bands are, not surprisingly, invited to attend these early competitions, which are put on as fundraisers for the hosts.

Q: How are marching band performances judged?

A: Bands of America competitions emphasize the music, with marching as the presentation and a visual enhancement. (Judging at other competitions is similar.) Also, more emphasis is placed on general effect than on fine-line perfection. 60% of the score is on music and 40% on visual effect. The judges consider Music Performance (Individual), Music Performance (Ensemble), Visual Performance (Individual), Visual Performance (Ensemble), Visual General Effect, and Music General Effect. The Individual Performances judges and the Timing & Penalties Judge are located on the field; you’ll see them walking around among the performers.

Q: How do I find answers to questions not listed here?

A: You may find your answer by clicking on the “Info” menu item at the top or in one of the other pages on this site. If none of these work, please ask a band director or send your question to the band webmaster and we’ll try to find the answer for you.

Q: I know something you don’t know (or aren’t saying). How do I submit a FAQ entry?

A: Please send your question and answer to the band webmaster, and we’ll add a new entry.