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Marching Band Frequently Asked Questions

Who can be in the Marching Band? 
Any RHS student and any 8th grade student at Wood Middle School!


What instruments are in the Marching Band? 
We have flutes, clarinets, alto saxes, tenor saxes, trumpets, french horns, trombones, baritones, tubas, snare drums, quint drums, bass drums, cymbals, mallet percussion, electric bass and electric keyboard. We also have a Color Guard. Members of the Color Guard do visual work with flags of all sizes, and sometimes even get to use sabres and rifles!


What if I don’t play one of those instruments, or if I’ve never spun a flag before? 
That’s ok! We can teach you everything you need to know.


I’m not sure if I can do the marching…. 
That’s ok too! Most new members are nervous about the marching part. We teach and re-teach everyone (including the seniors) our basic marching techniques during Marching Band Camp. 

If marching really isn’t your thing, then we have what’s called the “pit percussion” section. Members of the pit stand along the front sideline and play the larger percussion instruments and electronic instruments that aren’t able to be moved around the field. The only time they have to do any marching is for the pregame show! 


How much time does Marching Band take up? 
Marching Band formally begins with a two-week preseason training camp in August. The camp runs Monday through Friday each week. We always start on the Monday that is 3 weeks before the first day of school. The first week of camp goes from 9:00am until 4:00pm, with a 1-hour break in the middle for lunch. The second week of camp runs from 4:00pm until 8:00pm. We end camp with a performance for family and friends at 6:30pm on the last day. After camp, the Marching Band rehearses on Tuesdays and Thursdays from 5:30pm until 8:00pm. If you are in the percussion section or the Color Guard you may also have some extra rehearsal time during the week.

The Marching Band performs at all home football games and at least one away game each year. Football games are usually on Friday nights. We also perform in parades, at college football games, and at marching band competitions, which are usually on Saturdays.


That sounds like a lot!
Yes it does! But keep in mind that these events are spread out over a four month period. Also, once you join the Marching Band you immediately have a network of at least 30 friends who can help you manage your time, find rides, and figure out that geometry problem that you just can’t get! Mr. Barnes also gets weekly grade reports on all RHS students in the Marching Band, and follows up with you, your parents, and your teachers to get you the help you need to keep your grades up. Most students who join the Marching Band find that while it may be a little tough at first, they end up benefiting from the lessons they learn in time management.


How much does it cost to be in the Marching Band?
All students in the band are assessed a participation fee of $100 each year. The fee helps cover expenses such as music, transportation and fees for instructional staff. (It costs upwards of $10,000 per year to operate the Marching Band!)

New members also have to purchase certain uniform items. On average it costs approximately $100 to initially outfit you with everything you need, but you can use most items throughout your years in the band.

We understand that money may be an obstacle that keeps you from joining the Marching Band. However, Mr. Barnes works hard to ensure that everyone can participate in the band, regardless of their financial situation! He has worked out payment plans and financial aid in the past for students who have demonstrated a true need.


What do I get out of being in the Marching Band?
  • As was mentioned before, you get to walk into Rockville High School with a close knit group of at least 30 friends from day one! We spend so much time together and do so much together that it’s impossible for you to not come away at the end of Marching Band Camp without a new best friend! 
  • You get to develop a great, long-term relationship with Mr. Barnes and the rest of the instructional staff. It’s not often that you get to have that kind of a relationship with a teacher. 
  • You get a chance to get some exercise! Marching Band is just as much a sport as it is an art. 
  • You get to improve your musical skills, whether it’s on the instrument you’ve been playing for years or by learning a new instrument. 
  • You get to be contributing part of a team. There is no “bench” in Marching Band! 
  • You get a chance to meet students from schools all over the nation at parades and competitions. 
  • You get a chance to entertain the crowd at football games! Many students, parents and faculty have commented over the years that the best part of the football games is the Marching Band! 

I’m still not sure if I want to do this…. 
Just give it a try for the first week of Marching Band camp. If you decide it’s really not for you then we can live with that. However, why take the chance of not trying it and missing out on something you may end up coming to really enjoy!?

Also, take a moment to read this short article about the benefits of being in Marching Band!


OK…I’ll give it a try. What do I need to do now?
Make sure Mr. Barnes has your mailing address and knows you are interested in joining the band. You’ll receive a packet through the mail in mid-to-late June. Read through all the information in this packet and return all appropriate forms and fees to Mr. Barnes in early July!

Also, start copying the dates from the calendar down on your personal calendar. You’ll need to let Mr. Barnes know as soon as possible if there are any conflicts between the Marching Band calendar and your personal calendar.


What if I think of a question later? 
You can call (301-517-5590) or email (phillip.p.barnes@mcpsmd.net) Mr. Barnes anytime!
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