Marching Band FAQ

This page is not designed to replace the handbook.  The handbook should be read by every new member and parent and reviewed on a yearly basis.  This is just the place to find answers to the most common questions.

1) What is the time commitment for Marching Band? Marching Band is a fall activity that takes place completely outside of the school day.  The major time commitment begins around August 13 and continues until the end of October.  We have a few spring preseason rehearsals to just introduce the new students to the group.  We rehearse for one full week in August (usually the second full week) and then we rehearse every Tuesday and Thursday from 7-9 through October.  Weekend schedules are dependent on our competition and performance schedule.  In general we have a few Friday night football games, we are off on Saturday Morning, and Sunday's are only if we have a competition.

2) Do I need to be in Concert Band Class to be part of the Marching Band?  NO....They are completely different groups.  While it will help with your level of musicianship, it is not mandatory.  Concert Band do not need to march either...That ended over 20 years ago.

3) Can I do fall sports and Marching Band?  YES...All school sports work with exception of Football and Cheerleading, most rec sports work, and some club teams work.  You should check with Mr. Marks about your individual schedule if you have a concern.  

4) Can I do sports and activities the rest of the year?  YES YES YES....No conflict.  Marching Band ends at the end of October!

5) My family is having a financial issue, can I still do Marching Band?  Of course....Just talk to Mr. Marks about other arrangements.

6) Why 100% attendance so important to the Marching Band?  The Marching Band activity is unique.  Specific music, drill, and color guard work is designed for each member of the group.  Each member is dependent on the other members to be successful.  Marching Band is the ultimate in TEAM sports.  There are no reserves and no subs.  Everyone is on all the time.  The success of the band is directly related to every member being at every practice and every performance.

7) How are competitions judged?  While each competition is different based on the sponsoring group, the general answer is the following:  A set of rubrics that examine Music and Visual are used to arrive at a score.  The Band Director's are given the rubrics in advance.

8) What are groups?  In the competitive setting the bands are divided into groups that complete against each other.  These groupings are different based on where the competition is.  For most of our shows, which are held by NYSFBC, the schools are divided in 2 size classifications.  The size classifications are above or below 4000 students in the district.  Then each size classification is divided into 3 groups based on a series of criteria including; age of students, experience of students, past band accomplishments, size and experience of staff, rehearsal time, budget, and outside support. Currently we are in Small School 3.

9) Where can I find the most current calender information?  Subscribe to the link on the Marching Band page which contains a calender file.  If you have an iDevice it will update automatically as things are changed.  You should also refer to "This Week in Marching Band" on a weekly basis during the marching band season.
10) Why are parents and student kept apart prior to all performances?  It is very important to keep the band focused.  The tasks of marching, playing, and expressing the show are very complex and require the students to have as little distraction as possible.  You are welcome to come congratulate your child at the trailer after they have been dismissed from the post performance meeting.  

11) Why is the trailer's name Horace?  Up until October 2008 the band used a rented box truck every weekend.  One Saturday night during early October the band was return to Midland Park following a competition and the box truck lost brakes.  No one was hurt and the truck was safely stopped.  The truck came to rest on the Horace Harding Expressway.  The trailer was purchased a few days later by the Performing Arts Parents.  The name Horace was given to the trailer upon its' arrival.

12) Ways to contact Mr. Marks? Phone 201-444-7400 ext. 225, email or

Parent FAQ's (From the Hand Book)

1. How much does Marching Band Cost? Students are only responsible for the cost of the Syracuse Trip, Camp fee, Dry Cleaning and Guard Outfit pieces. This is not all due at once. It is paid in different installments and all can be fundraised (see fundraising page)
Total Cost for 2013: $325.00

2. Where are uniforms kept? All uniforms are kept in the band room at all times. Uniforms are sent out to the cleaners as a group when necessary (approx. every 3 weeks)

3. Are there any parent positions within the band program? The Midland Park Performing Arts Parents have many positions that exist to help the marching band. These include : Competition Chair, Competition Assistant, Sponsorship, Spirit, Equipment, and others. If you are interested contact Mr. Marks for more information.

4. Can students eat while with the band? Students are only able to eat in uniform when the entire band is given permission. Before changing into uniform students may eat in the band room. At no point can students eat in the stands during any performance. Food may not be brought back to the band room after games. The students are encouraged to stay away from any food item that can stain. Many camp/rehearsal meal times are not planned until an hour beforehand. Please send your child to camp/rehearsals with food. It is difficult to coordinate dropping off food, as meal times are generally only 20-30 minutes.

5. Do practices always end on time? The practice schedule is designed to follow a 2 hour time slot (in most cases). If one student is late, the entire group may be held to make up this time. Be aware that the students are normally asked to be there between 15 to 30 minutes before the practice begins. This allows for the field to be set up for the start of practice. No students are allowed to leave until the entire group is dismissed by the Staff or Drum Major.