Welcome to the first meeting of the season for the William Tennent Marching Band Association. We will use some of the time tonight to familiarize you with the workings of the Band and the Association.
Attached you will find the "Band Parents Handbook". We’ve taken some of the basic information and are providing it to you in Question and Answer format. The purpose is to help acquaint you with some of the "need-to-know" information.
Please feel free to ask as many questions as you want. If you think of them later, we have provided phone numbers and email addresses in the document. We want to make you feel as comfortable as possible, so please never hesitate to ask. Any association member will be glad to help. We hope to see you as regular members of the Association.
Sue Knorr Patty Sparkevicius
President Vice President
Welcome to the William Tennent Marching Band
By supporting your child’s decision to join the “Pride of William Tennent High School”, you have already made a commitment to support the dedication, self-discipline, teamwork, and effort it will require this year to continue the Marching Band tradition. This year will provide you and your child a lifetime of great and unique memories.
This “Frequently Asked Questions” document has been developed to help new parents with many of the questions that arise each year related to the Marching Band. We hope you find it beneficial in helping you gain a better understanding of the Band and the Marching Band Association.
William Tennent High School Marching Band
The William Tennent High School Marching Band has built a solid reputation throughout Bucks County, across the state and around the nation. The Band is an integral part and proud representative of the Centennial School District, encompassing Warminster, Southampton and Ivyland. The Band performs regularly at football games, adjudications, festivals and parades.
Locally, the Band can be seen at the annual Hatboro Christmas Parade, and performing at Memorial Day ceremonies in Ivyland, Southampton, and Warminster, including the Warminster Memorial Day Parade. The Band also participates in four adjudications each year, and hosts our own adjudication each October. Adjudications are performances that provide the Band with a chance to participate in standards based evaluations. In this regard, they are judged on their marching and their overall sound and effects against a national standard of excellence on a predetermined ratings scale and are not competing against the other participating bands.
From 1992 to 2002 the WTHS Marching Band received national recognition for excellence five times! National and regional televised events include the Fiesta Bowl Parade, the Alamo Bowl Half-Time Show, the Gator Bowl Pre-Game show, which featured the WTHS band, the Gator Bowl Parade and Half-time show, and the Daytona 500 Parade. Other notable performances include participation in the All American Music Festival “Sweepstakes Tournament” where they were ranked 5th in the nation (!); performances of the national anthem for four major league baseball teams (Montreal, Toronto, Cleveland and of course, our Phillies. Still more impressive performances include performing as part of our nation’s Memorial Day celebration on the Capitol Building Steps, Princeton University homecomings; and the Shenandoah Apple Blossom Festival as well as six performances in Disney World and Universal Studios. The band also performed in the Russell Athletic Bowl Half-Time Show and Macy’s Universal Holiday Parade. Most recently, our Marching Panthers traveled to Nashville TN where they performed on the steps to the Grand Ole Opry and the Country Music Hall of Fame. The Band has earned a rating of “Superior” in each of the past 25 years!
William Tennent Marching Band Association (WTMBA)
Should you have any questions regarding specifics in the handbook, or about a topic we did not cover, please feel free to contact any of the WTMBA officers listed below.
President: Sue Knorr
Vice President: Patty Sparkevicius
Corresponding Secretary: Tami Sharp
Recording Secretary: Nancy Murray
Treasurer: Michele Sedlacsik
Q. What is the WTMBA? A. The William Tennent Marching Band Association (WTMBA) is a parent group dedicated to promoting, assisting and supporting the Marching Band at William Tennent High School. Any family with a student in Marching Band is eligible to join the WTMBA. The WTMBA has by-laws and is an approved WTHS booster group.
Q. When does the WTMBA meet? A. All meetings are generally held on the first Wednesday of the month with the following exceptions: Our first meeting will be Wednesday, Aug 19th. There is no meeting in January. The Association meets in the Band Room at 7:30 PM. In addition, the Executive Board and Committee Chairs meet once a month, with the exception of December.
Q. What is the role of the WTMBA? A. In support of the Marching Band, the objectives of the association shall be:
- To promote, assist and support the Marching Band as outlined by the Band Director and Centennial Administration;
- To act as an advocate for the music program within the Centennial School District;
- To assist in maintaining uniforms in good condition;
- To assist at all games, band exhibitions and special events, home and away, as required by the Band Director;
- To conduct all approved fund raising activities. The funds will be committed to the support of activities for the band.
- The William Tennent Marching Band Association is and shall remain a non-profit organization
Q. Briefly describe the WTMBA organization. A. The WTMBA has an Executive Board consisting of the elected officers of the Association: President, Vice President, Recording Secretary, Corresponding Secretary and Treasurer. The Band Director acts in an advisory capacity to the Executive Board.
Q. How can I help? A. Each family is encouraged to become a member of the WTMBA. Memberships can be purchased for $5 at the Family Picnic, at any WTMBA meeting or by writing or calling the Corresponding Secretary. Parent participation is strongly encouraged. The WTMBA monthly meetings are the best way to get keep up to date on the Marching Band. There are approximately ten (10) committee chair positions, as well as Celebration of Bands (COB) committee chairs, that all work together to help the marching band.
Q. What if I want to help, but don’t want to or can’t be “in charge”? A. Each committee has a chairperson or chairpersons, but all committees need other volunteers to help complete their jobs. Look at the list of committees below and find one that interests you. Call the committee chair or one of the WTMBA officers and volunteer some of your time!
Q. What are the different committees of the WTMBA? A. The Committees are:
Uniforms: This committee is responsible for the distribution and collection of uniforms, and the periodic inspections of the uniforms for cleanliness and proper fit throughout the year.
Fan Gear: The Fan Gear committee sells various Marching Band souvenirs (hats, shirts, blankets, seat cushions, etc.) at the COB and each home game. Novelties are also available at each Association meeting. Parents wear WTMB apparel to show their “Marching Band pride”.
Hospitality: This committee helps provide snacks before a few performances. The committee serves snacks and refreshments for our students during Band Camp, and at occasional meetings and special events. The committee is also responsible for running concessions for concerts and the Warminster Symphony Orchestra.
Band Front: The committee assists with the placement and removal of Band Front equipment from the field for each performance.
Equipment: This committee loads and unloads the equipment trailer for all away performances, and is responsible for placing the equipment on the field for all performances. The equipment is stored in the “Cube”.
Fundraising: The Fundraising committee plans and executes all the Association and student fund-raising activities during the year.
Celebration of Bands: During our annual show, we host a number of fine bands from throughout the area. The band program benefits greatly from this major fund-raising activity, but it cannot be successful without the help of our entire parent community.
Publicity: The publicity committee makes contact with local media (newspapers and TV stations) to share our band’s success and increase awareness throughout the community of our many activities.
Marching Band Staff
Director: Mr. Michael Drobish
Band Front Choreographer: Mrs. Lori Milkowich
Band Front Instructor: Mrs. Katiria Nuñez
Joining the WTHS Marching Band
Q. Will my child need to audition to be a member of the WTHS Band? A. No, Marching Band is an extra-curricular activity open to any student.
Q. How does the sign-up process work? A. Membership forms are available at both middle schools and the high school beginning in May. Forms need to be filled out, signed and returned to the school’s band director before the last day of school in June.
Q. Is there a specific music class that my child should register for? A. All musicians are encouraged to schedule Concert Band as part of their course schedule.
Q. When can we expect to see a performance schedule for the year? A. A performance schedule is mailed to band members the first week of July. Changes and additions are announced as soon as they are known.
Q. How do we keep up-to-date on Band schedule changes, since our children often do not communicate them to us? A. The WTMBA operates an e-mail chain to keep parents apprised of late schedule changes. Schedule changes are also shared at the monthly General Meetings.
Q. When does the WTHS Marching Band practice? A. During the summer, the band holds a mandatory two-week Band Camp during the two weeks prior to the opening of school. There may also be mini-camps or squad meetings prior to Band Camp. Each Band member will be contacted by his or her squad leader prior to Band Camp. Once school begins, the band practices after school every Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 3:00 - 5:45 until the end of the football season. After football season concludes, the band rehearses periodically in preparation for other commitments. All practices are held at the high school.
Q. When does the WTHS Marching Band perform? A. The band performs at all WTHS football games, both home and away. The band also performs at various parades, band festivals and community events. Every other year, the band takes a major trip and occasionally has an opportunity to perform in a national venue.
Band Camp, Trips and Transportation
Q. What is Band Camp? A. Band Camp is held during the two weeks prior to the first day of school. The practice sessions run Monday – Friday from 8:00 AM – 3:00 PM. The Hospitality committee provides the students with juice and a snack at the morning break. Students are required to pack a lunch; they are not allowed to leave school grounds. For more information, see the director’s band camp letter, which was sent to all members in early July, is also posted on our website.
Q. What is the purpose of Band Camp? A. Band Camp is an opportunity for the Band to learn the marching and music skills needed to produce the marching band show. As a key part of the process, each entering freshman or new Band member is provided a “Big Brother” or “Big Sister”. Various activities such as “crazy hat day” or “music t-shirt day”, approved by the Band Director in advance, take place and serve to develop teamwork and provide an environment for Band members to bond. Q. Is Band Camp mandatory? A. Yes, Band Camp is mandatory. Over seventy-five percent of the preparation required for the season occurs during Band Camp. Failure to attend Band Camp may lead to dismissal from the Band. Individual circumstances should be discussed in advance with the Band Director.
When scheduling your family’s vacation plans, please remember, Band Camp is always the 2 weeks immediately prior to the opening of school.
Q. What should my student bring to Band Camp? A. Students should pack their own lunch for the day, and also bring plenty of liquids to keep hydrated. Also note that the Hospitality committee will serve refreshments and snacks daily. It is also suggested that Band members wear a hat and bring the proper level of skin protection. Students will be mailed a complete list of items to bring to band camp in July.
Q. What is the “Family Picnic”? A. On the second Wednesday of Band Camp, all parents, family members, and friends are invited to the football stadium at the high school at 6:00 PM for the first public performance of the half-time show. After the Band completes their show, everyone is invited to remain in the stadium for a picnic. Each family brings their own dinner and non-alcoholic drink, and a dessert to be shared by the group. The picnic provides an excellent opportunity to meet other
Parents and students, and volunteer for different committees. For inclement weather, the festivities are moved indoors into the gym.
Q. Are all practices and performances mandatory? A. Yes. Each Band member contributes a piece of the puzzle that is on display each week during our season. It is imperative to have all of the pieces of the puzzle at rehearsal. On those occasions that can’t be avoided, such as illness or unavoidable school- or academic-related conflicts, the Band member may be excused by the Band Director with proper notification. The attendance policy is outlined in the Marching Band Manual, provided to each Band member during Band Camp. Any absence requires a written note upon the student’s return.
Q. In the years that the Band takes a trip, is the trip required? A. The major performance trip is a peak activity in a student’s HS marching band career. The band usually performs at a prestigious venue, and it provides the student with a positive learning experience and a reward for their hard work and effort. Participation is strongly encouraged but not required. The cost of the trip is the student’s responsibility; as discussed later, fundraisers are available to enable the student to cover all or part of the cost of the trip.
Q. What if I can’t afford to send my child on the Band trip? A. Students have the opportunity through fundraisers to earn money for trips. Special circumstances can be discussed with the Director.
Q. Is attendance at games, parades and other festivities mandatory and will this affect my child’s Concert Band grade? A. Attendance is mandatory at all Marching Band activities. An absentee form is required for missing a scheduled Band activity. Advance notification of two weeks is required for any scheduled Band activity that you know your child will miss. Marching Band is an extra-curricular activity, not a part of Concert Band, so it will not affect your child’s Concert Band grade.
Q. What does “arrival time” mean? A. Arrival time is the time at which Band members must be dressed and have their instruments ready to play. Students are told at the practice prior to the performance what the “arrival time” is. Plan on having your student arrive at school 15 minutes before “arrival time” to allow sufficient time to get organized. Students should eat dinner before arriving for games. Dinner is not provided except on special, pre-announced days. It is also a good idea to give your child some spending money because they are usually given a break during the 3rd quarter of all football games and are allowed visit the snack stand.
Q. How accurate is “return time”? A. Every effort is made to provide parents with an accurate return time. This time may vary due to traffic conditions or run-time of the football game.
Q. What are adjudications? A. Adjudications provide the Band with a chance to participate in standards based evaluations. They are judged on their marching and their overall sound and effects, and provided a rating based on a pre-determined scoring system. The rating is independent of the performance of the other participating bands, and is used to evaluate the current performance level of the Band.
Q. Can parents attend the performances? A. Yes! Yes! Yes! Parents are strongly encouraged to attend all home and away performances. Most Band families sit in the stands near the band during football games. You can always tell where the Band is going to sit because of the black bleacher covers provided by the WTMBA. The Band generally performs before the game for home games and during half time for away games.
Many parents make the trips to away games and adjudications and meet in the parking lot of the high school to carpool. If you are unsure of where the various schools are, you can find directions on the WTHS web site, in the Band packet or you can always follow the buses.
Q. How do the students get to the various performances? A. Students travel to and from school to all events with the Band via transportation provided by the Centennial School District.
Q. What happens on those rare occasions where there are multiple performances on the same day? A. The WTMBA will provide a meal (pizza or hoagies, fruit, chips and drinks) when students must be at school over mealtimes. These occasions will be announced in advance. Uniforms
Q. Are there costs involved with the uniforms? A. WTHS Marching band uniforms, including Band Front, are provided by the School District. Each student is responsible for purchasing from the WTMBA, at cost, an official polo shirt ($10), socks ($4) and gloves ($3). Band shoes must also be purchased (approx. $30) and a representative from the shoe company will be at William Tennent during Band Camp to measure and take orders. It is suggested that you purchase and extra pair of socks and gloves for days when there are two performances or when performing in wet weather.
Q. Where are the uniforms kept? A. The uniforms are kept at WTHS in the uniform room during the summer. Once a student receives a uniform during Band Camp, they are responsible for the maintenance and cleaning of the uniform until they are returned, generally after the Memorial Day Parade. Students should hang their uniforms in a closet to prevent wrinkles. Each student is given a form that lists the uniform parts when they receive their uniform. Please check to make sure your child has all the pieces listed on the form.
Q. What is worn under the uniforms? A. The Band polo shirt is worn under the uniform jacket. Black Band socks are also a required part of the uniform. As the weather turns cold, it is recommended that students wear layers (thermal underwear, extra socks, etc.).
Q. In those years that a Band trip is scheduled, who pays for the trip? A. Each student is responsible for the cost of trips. There are many fundraisers held throughout the year to help the students finance the trip.
Q. What is a student account and what is it used for? A. Each Band family is given an account. This account is used to accumulate money to pay for trips, banquets, etc. The WTMBA treasurer keeps track of any fund-raising money that your child earns and credits it to your student’s account. A list is posted in the Band room at each General Meeting with an updated accounting of all student accounts.
Q. How does my child get money placed in their account? A. There are three ways for your child to get money for their account: (1) By participating in fundraisers; and (2) by meeting the participation requirement for the Celebration of Bands (see requirements under Celebration of Bands below), or (3) by depositing funds directly into the account.
Q. What does the WTMBA use its funds to do? A. The WTMBA uses profits from fundraisers to support the Marching Band. Funds are used for snacks and juice at Band Camp, subsidizing trips, providing refreshments prior to performances, and purchasing items that the Marching Band needs that are not provided by the school district. In the past, the WTMBA has provided funds for the construction of the equipment building, fondly known as the “Cube”, sousaphone cases, drum cases, pit instruments, golf-cart and even the trailer that is used to haul equipment to Marching Band activities.
Q. Does my child have to participate in all of the fundraisers? A. Students are not required to participate in any fund-raiser. However, fund-raisers support both the student and the Association.
Q. How many fundraisers are held during the year? A. The number of fund-raisers varies from year to year, with more being held during trip years. Generally, there are 5-7 fund-raisers, as well as the Celebration of Bands and Scrip.
Q. How much profit is made for the students on the different fundraisers? A. There is no standard profit for all fund-raisers; students generally make between 20-40 percent profit on each fund-raiser. Once the profit for each fund-raiser is determined, the
Student’s account is credited with roughly 80-95 percent of the profit. The balance (5-20 percent) is credited to the Association.
Q. How is the WTMBA funded? A. As indicated above, approximately 5-10 percent of the profit for each fund-raiser goes to the WTMBA general fund to help fund Marching Band activities
Celebration of Bands
Q. What is the Celebration of Bands (COB)? A. The Celebration of Bands is an exciting adjudication hosted by the WTMBA. Each year bands from around the area visit William Tennent to perform. Each band is rated by a panel of judges and receives a score based on their performance. Caption Awards are also given for Outstanding Drum Major, Best Marching, and Best Music. COB is attended by thousands of spectators and requires a minimum of 70 volunteers to run.
Q. When and where is it held? A. The third Saturday in October at Claude Lodge Field at William Tennent High School.
Q. How does the COB generate revenue? A. COB is the largest fund-raiser for the marching band. Tickets are sold for entrance to the stadium. Refreshments and novelties are sold. Each band member is encouraged to sell ads for the program book, which is sold the night of COB.
Q. Am I required to volunteer to work at the COB? A. In order for your student to receive a share of the profits from COB, one parent/guardian must volunteer on the night of COB and the student must sell the required dollar value of ads.
Q. What happens if I cannot meet the requirements? A. Your student will not share in the profits generated at COB.
Q. Does marching band affect a student’s academics? A. Most likely yes, for the better. Because so many of our valedictorians, salutatorians, and WT Scholars have come from the band ranks, indications are that the discipline, organizational skills, attention to detail, pride in accomplishment, and quest for success taught in band contribute to a student’s overall success in high school.
Q. What happens after high school? A. A very high percentage of our graduates continue to perform in college. Many have gone on to leadership positions in their college group and all of them are among the best-prepared and valued members of their respective bands.