Band Parents 101
Welcome to one of the most active parent groups in West Milford High School.
The band parents of the West Milford Marching Band are supportive, active and a large volunteering group for both the staff and the students. Our goal is to introduce you to the exciting and hectic world of band, and help launch you right into the marching season. Your involvement helps increase the support for all students, as well as your enjoyment in the coming years.
The Band Parents Association is a great way to stay connected with your children! This page will help answer some questions about where to get information, who to call for what and how to act at football games and competitions, (Unbelievably, there are right and wrong ways for parents also.) So take the challenge and you might not hear things from your kids like, “Mom and Dad PLEASE don't embarrass me at the competition!! “
Some of the Best Places for Information are on these Web Sites
http://new.schoolnotes.come/Drmclaughlin/308590. SchoolNotes is a web site Dr. McLaughlin uses to keep parents and students current on schedule changes, report times, which pieces of the uniform are to be worn, etc. You are able to sign in, and register for automatic email updates. You can register as many email addresses as you wish. This is strongly recommended – you will get information immediately as it is posted.
Facebook The band parents have a closed-group Facebook page. Join to share information, photos, and connect with other band parents. Look for us under West Milford Highlander Band Parents Association. This is the source that will provide the most up to date information.
www.wmtps.org The township school web site will provide information about the free annual physicals and provide access to the necessary forms.
The Band Parents Association Board of Directors are also available through email. Their contact information is on the main page of this section of the web site, and in the newsletters. Please let us know if you have any phone,
e-mail or address changes throughout the year.
See the page on "Uniforms" in the Band Parents menu of this site.
Early is on time; on time is late; late is inexcusable! Bear with it, at the beginning it seems like you don't have time for anything else but practice and driving to and from practice. Marching band season is a short, but VERY full schedule. There are a lot of practices – you will see the payoff at the games and competitions. Please remind your child how important it is to attend all practices, everyone's position is important.
DO NOT Pull Up or Park in the Fire Lane in Front of the Auditorium
where the Marching Band Lines Up
This area is very busy and students are walking and moving equipment and props through this area. Having cars in this are is unsafe. It is also likely the equipment truck is on its way and will need access, if not already there!
Football Games and Competitions
On the morning of a game, students will bring their uniforms and everything else they need with them to school. (have your student check with his or her bus driver prior to that first game to make sure they can carry their garment bag on the bus, some bus drivers don’t allow it if they have full bus load). In the event they are not able to bring their uniform on the bus, parents may drop off uniforms between 7am-7:20am or 2:00-2:30 only. DO NOT DROP OFF DURING SCHOOL HOURS.
Games and competitions always have entrance fees for spectators, approximately $10.00 to $12.00. Regional and state competitions may be slightly higher ($23.00 to $26.00). Programs are also usually available for a purchase ($1.00 - $5.00) . Some venues (Rutgers, Metlife Stadium) also have restrictions on what can be brought in.
Be prepared for many types of bleachers, ALWAYS hard and uncomfortable! Blankets and stadium seats will help! Sometimes there are no seats at all, so it is a good idea to put your lawn chairs in the car ahead of time.
When other bands are performing, it is very disrespectful to move about and especially up and down the bleachers or in front of the band. Usually there is someone at the ends of the bleachers to stop excessive movement, so be respectful of the position. If you see someone moving around when you know they should not be, explain it to them "nicely", they may be new or never told before.
Send them an air gram. These can be purchased before the start of the events. The cost varies, but is typically anywhere from $1.00 - $5.00. This is an announcement before or after our specific band performs on the field. Things like "Way to go freshman"; "Good luck to YOUR KIDS NAME and the flute section" or even things like "Isn't this better then cleaning your room", are typical. Be creative, it is your time to shine on them. They do hear you and they listen for them.
Buy them a candy gram. These can be purchased prior to the show and cost anywhere between $1.00 - $5.00. These are candy that will be sent specifically to your child with a written note on it from you. They are usually given to the band director sometime that night and then to the kids either on the bus ride home or the next school day.
Both candy grams and air grams are usually limited to a specific amount per band, so please give everyone a chance to buy one.
Trophies are given at the end of the competitions, so be polite and don't leave after our band performs. Remember we are there to see and support ALL bands. One thing to remember is that due to our size, we don't always compete against many other bands in our class. Sizes are usually less than 25, 25-50, 50-125, and greater than 125. Encourage the kids to do their best each time. Who knows who might be watching (perhaps a talent scout? You never know!
A really important thing is a loud voice to cheer the band on and your black and gold band swag! Noisemakers can be used, but please don't be obnoxious! Air horns are usually not allowed and are not recommended - it tends to drown out the bands musical cues. There are early days, late nights and far distances, so be prepared and remember to get a good night sleep and eat a healthy meal. Helpful things to bring to the event are: pen or pencil to mark the scores, or to guess your score ahead of time, highlighters to mark the bands competing against us (they are not always in order), blankets to sit on, warm drinks, hats, gloves, sunglasses, sunscreen and anything else to keep you comfortable.
For home games, the students will need either a bag dinner, or $$ to buy dinner at the concession stand. For away games, the students will need a bag lunch. There may not be a concession stand at the away games, however usually snacks are available for purchase. It's a great idea to purchase your student a personal cooler bag that is big enough to hold their lunch or dinner including a drink and snack.
During the football games, the band usually is “off duty” 3rd quarter, at the discretion of the band director. They generally have time to eat before the home game at the concession stand, so always make sure they have money with them ($5.00 should be enough). They can bring snacks for the bus ride (no glass bottles or things that can spill and stain the uniform. No hot chocolate while in uniform, or any other “dark” beverage.
Normally at away games, we play a pre-game show and at home games we play during half time. If you are late driving to an away game, you may miss the performance. Try to be there 30 minutes prior to the game starting. On occasion, we may also play during the half time at away games. Please note: during away games we play toward the home bleachers. Feel free to go to the other side to see the show and then return to our game side when the football game begins.
All students’ cell phones must be left on the bus with the rest of their belongings during all performances.
Remind your child to keep things together, especially on the bus. Make sure they have all the right things for their uniform before you leave the house and before you leave the parking lot. If left on bus or in band room, sometimes there is a small fee to get it back in order to be able to go to the football games or competitions in complete uniform.
Band members need to have respect and take responsibility for the band and the uniform, whether Freshmen or Seniors. If something happens to their instrument, it is THEIR responsibility to make arrangements for the repair.
Group and individual pictures are usually taken in September before a competition or game. They are typically taken without instruments. If you would like them to be taken with their instrument, let your child know, so they can tell the photographer that day.
There is a mandatory band camp held at the high school, the full week in August before the week running into Labor Day weekend and is for five full days. On the last day of Band Camp, there is a concession stand dinner for the band students, provided by the band parents. The evening finishes with a performance for the parents! We will see what they have been learning during the week. You will be impressed! Band merchandise will be available for sale that evening. Please note, percussion marching band students and color guard students have an additional week of camp, which is the week immediately prior to marching band camp.
There are also sectionals held in the summer for students to practice with others with the same instruments. Your child will be contacted by their section leader for these practices.
The students have a band council which consists of a president, vice president, secretary, treasurer, and librarian. They meet before regular practices, and are the integral part of the band’s organization. Each section of the band, i.e. flutes, clarinets, etc. has a section leader. Each section has several squad leaders. These squads have 3- 5 people in each squad. There are two or three drum majors, who lead the band. There are several different bands, and different types of participating band students. There is a symphonic band and the wind ensemble. There is also a jazz band, jazz ensemble, pipe band, indoor percussion, and an indoor guard. Some students are marching band students, some are applied band students, some participate as fall athletes.
Fall athlete: Any athlete who participates in a WMHS fall sport are exempt from marching season, but not anything else. Fall athletes are required to do spring competitions, St. Patrick Day parade, Memorial Day parade, Christmas concert, Spring concert, and the All District concert. They may participate as a fall athlete all four years.
Applied student: One year application only: Perform at concerts: Spring, Christmas & All District, and are in band class.
They are not considered a part of “marching band”.
Last, but not least -- VOLUNTEERING AND FUNDRAISING
We are an active group, and are dedicated to making our children’s band experience a full and rewarding one. Almost all of the fundraising profits the students and go to their individual student band accounts. The WMBPA does keep 1% of all fundraising money which goes to the general band account to help offset many of the bands expenses such as bottled water for the parades, truck rental, equipment repair, props, senior scholarships, awards, buses for St Patrick’s Day, etc.... This all comes at a price, and there are many opportunities to help raise money to continue to provide for the band and the students.
Please encourage your child to participate! Some are activity-based, i.e. Tag Day the first week of December where small groups of students perform holiday music in downtown West Milford. Some are sales, such as the annual cheesecake sale that starts at the beginning of the school year or the hoagie sale that runs with Super Bowl weekend.
We are all volunteers, and we are all proud to be a part of making “the sights and sounds of excellence” a reality!
GET involved! Try something new or do what you know you are good at. It is very rewarding, and your children will reap the benefits. Whether you can do alot or a little, all are welcome. Who knows, you may even make new friends!!
SIGN UP TO VOLUNTEER TODAY (or anytime this season)!
Feel free to make suggestions to any of the executive board, via e-mail, in person at the monthly meetings
or by mail to WMBPA, P.O. BOX 603, West Milford, NJ 07480.