High School Band

The high school band includes students grade 9-12 who have completed previous school years in band.  High school band meets daily from 10:49-11-34am in the Hamilton High School band room or on the practice field next to the high school.  The amount of performances increase once as student joins the band.  A very important distinction is that even though our sports teams are co-opted with Warsaw High school, the bands remain very much independent.  That means that depending on the location, either the Hamilton band or Warsaw band will perform.

Practicing 

In the High School band, a set amount of practice time is not recommended, however, student’s should set aside daily time for practice.  Students are asked to independently gauge how much time they need to improve.  Students are asked to play individually for assessments and chair placement.  One student may need only 15 minutes of practice time to have a successful assessment, while another may need 1 hour and 15 minutes.  What is important is the student being able to play the part and being mature enough to understand their own abilities.  To help with this, students are given a “Event Preparation Timeline” to help organize their time and show what they need to prepare for.  

Marching Band 

The High School band will be comprised of a marching band for the entire first quarter.  We will rehearse outside with instruments and music.  Students are also required to come to a band camp which is always held the first week of August from 8:00am to 12:30pm.  Students are asked to have 4 pieces of music memorized for marching band.  One song to be played at parades, and the other 3 to be part of our half time and competition show.  Students will be given 4 separate music checks to see if their music is memorized.  The checks aren’t given all at once and they are not asked to have all 4 songs memorized at once.  The first check will be for the first song, the second check for the second song, ect.   If a student plays it individually with 90% accuracy without using their music, then they pass.  Again, they are not asked to practice a certain amount of time, they are being asked to be able to have it 90%, or better, memorized.

During marching band there are also two select groups of students, Color Guard and Drumline, that will have extra rehearsals outside of school and band camp.  The marching band will perform at the homecoming parade, but also other various parades and competitions that vary from year to year.  The marching band will go to 3 different competitions located at different high schools or universities that will be Saturdays at different dates.  Also, the marching band will perform at West Hancock football games when, and only when, they are played at the Hamilton field.  Students will receive a Marching band uniform which includes a pair of pants, jacket, hat, plume and pair of gloves.  We have a short supply of marching shoes, and students are encouraged to get their own pair of black marching shoes with a recessed heel.

Color Guard 

The color guard is a group of individuals who add a visual component to the marching band by using dance, flags and other various techniques.   The size of the group depends on the size of the band.  It is usually 8-12% of the band. The color guard is selected through an audition process given by the band director and color guard sponsor at the end of the previous year.  All students who wish to be part of the Color Guard squad need to audition, even if they were a part of it previously. Students must be in the band to try out for Color Guard.  The color guard has additional practices outside of school, during summer and during the school year.  Because of this extra time, color guard is not given a music check.

Drumline 

Percussionists will be playing specific marching drums during marching band.  Due to the need of a large drumline, students playing other instruments are allowed to play on the drumline.  Students begin practices at the end of the year 15 minutes before school starts, and at various times during the summer.  If more people show a desire to be on the drumline than spots are available, members will be selected based on ability and responsibility.

Pep Band 

All band students, unless they are athletes competing in a contest, perform in the pep band. The pep band plays modern, “pop” tunes between the JV and Varsity and halftime of the Varsity West Hancock basketball games played at Hamilton.   It is usually 4 girls games and 4 boys games.  Students are asked to wear their marching band tee shirt and a pair of jeans.

Performances  

After the first quarter, the band will have rehearsals indoors and begin preparing for traditional concert band performances. The high school band uses the book “Band Technique step by Step” as curriculum.  The book is given to students as a packet and includes 24 chapters of exercises in all major and minor keys.  The High School Band performs at 2 concerts a year with the Jr. High band.  Students are asked to wear black pants, or skirts on the bottom with black dress shoes, and a plain white button down shirt.  This is known as “concert dress.”

  • Chair Placement  After hearing an initial assessment, a student will be given a specific spot to sit within their section based on how well they played.  Assessments are given once a quarter, and if a student is not satisfied where they sit, they are encouraged to offer a challenge to the student sitting above them.
  • Challenges  Two students are given the same exercise to work on for one week.  The exercise will always be the whatever the  “advanced melodic rhythmic exercise” follows sequentially to where we are their individual packet The director will ask both students to play one at a time, and evaluate their performance objectively.  The student who performs best will earn the higher chair placement.

IHSA events

Much like Jr. High, the High School band is asked to perform at events governed by a state organization.  The governing high school organization is the IHSA.  This is the goal of our year: to receive high praise and feedback from accredited adjudicators from IHSA.

  • IHSA Solo and Ensemble  All students will be asked to learn a solo, or a part in an ensemble (duet, trio, ect.) but only students who wish to will perform at the IHSA Solo and Ensemble event.  This usually takes place at the beginning of March at a different school every year.  We will all go together on a school bus to the host school where students will go to their individual performances.  Parents are encouraged to attend, although any recording is forbidden.  If a student chooses to perform at this event, they will be asked to wear very nice clothes (a nice dress or shirt and tie)
  • IHSA Large Group Organization  Unlike Solo and Ensemble all students are required to attend.  This event is hosted by a different school each year and usually takes place in the middle of April, and usually-but not always- at Macomb High School.   The High School band will wear concert dress.  Students are bused to the host school and perform together as a band in front of three judges. These judges then leave comments, written and a verbal recording, and score sheets.  This event is our main focus for the entire year.  Those comments and scores will be used not only to gauge what we have learned, but also be used to improve our band.

Graduation

All students not graduating are asked to play at the ceremony.  The band plays atmospheric music 20 minutes before the ceremony and processional for the graduates.  The band also plays a recessional as the graduates leave.  Students are asked to wear nice clothes (dress or shirt and tie).

  1. At the end of a student’s Senior year of High School in the band, they will:
  2. Have memorized more than 20 pieces of music for marching band
  3. Taken part in as many as 24 competitions, festivals and other musical events.
  4. Played all 12 major and minor scales.
  5. Learned advanced rhythms and time signatures, such as 5/8 and various rhythmic patterns.