Frequently Asked Questions about the Hamilton High School Band Program

We’ve put together a webpage with tons of questions that are received through the year (and the list constantly grows). Check them out below! If you still have any questions, please do not hesitate to reach out to a director.

Marching Band

Q: Do I have to audition to get into the Hamilton band program? A: No – there is no audition required to join the Concert Band or the Marching Band. However, there are placement auditions for positions in the marching band color guard and drumline, and also for the upper level band classes (Jazz Maroon & Jazz Black, Symphonic Band & Wind Ensemble).

Q: I’m concerned about my grades and how much time the band takes…what should I do? A: Stay in the band program! Students in band consistently have some of the highest GPAs in the entire school, and outperform their non-music peers in academic achievement, standardized test scores and acceptance rates into the colleges and universities of their choice! 

Q: Can students who take honors, AP and Dual Enrollment classes have time for marching band? A: Yes! The marching band has numerous students who are taking multiple honors, AP and DE classes. We also have students involved in NHS, Student Government, Link Crew and a variety of other campus clubs and activities. Students may need to learn to manage their time, but the life experience they get from being involved in many activities and difficult classes is invaluable!

Q: Does Marching Band require time outside of school?  A: Yes – once the school year begins, the marching band generally rehearses 2 times a week in the evenings. The band also performs at football games on Friday evenings and at several competitions throughout the state that are usually held on Saturdays in October and early November. 

Q: I want to participate in the marching band, but I also want to participate in a Fall sport. Can I do both? A: Yes – but understand that sustaining your membership in two activities just requires more from you in terms of organization and communication. We have had students do both over the years!

Q: When is the official start of the marching band season?  A: The season begins with a mandatory “Start-Up Camp” at HHS in late May, followed by a few summer rehearsals termed “IYIT” (If You’re In Town) in early June. We have the rest of the summer off until our mandatory band camp, which is held at HHS the week before school begins. Use the QR code inside this brochure to connect to our calendar for more details.

Q: What does Marching Band cost? A: All Marching Band students are asked to contribute a $500 “Fair Share Fee” to help offset instructional expenses, show design, equipment, etc. This can be an AZ Tax Credit (100% returned in Tax Refund/Credit) No student will be denied participation if they cannot pay. There is also a separate fee for our band camp, incidental costs for some transportation, as well as selected gear (such as marching shoes), and for any out-of-state or overnight trips. Please contact Mr. Werner or Mr. Bullock with additional questions!

Band Program

Q: What classes are offered within the HHS Band Program? A: The HHS Band Program has 9 total classes that are offered. The program consists of the Marching Huskies, Concert Percussion, Concert Band, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, Jazz Maroon, Jazz Black, Color/Winter Guard, and Hamilton Indoor Percussion Ensemble.

Q: Do I have to audition to get into the Hamilton band program? Will I be cut? A: No – there is no audition required to join the Concert Band or the Marching Band, and we will never “cut” anyone from the program. However, there are placement auditions for positions in the marching band color guard and drumline, and also for the upper level band classes (Jazz Maroon & Jazz Black, Symphonic Band & Wind Ensemble).

Q: How can I keep up to date with all of the band activities? A: Make sure to subscribe to the Calendar or check it regularly. The Google Calendar is listed on the webpage and has every practice and performance as well as many other activities within the program listed.

Q: What can I expect on concert night? A: A great night of music that is the summation of the hard work your students have put in! Call time for concerts is 5:30pm for the musicians to warmup and prepare for the 6:30pm start time. We ask that you silence your cell phones, PDAs, etc, and refrain from using flash photography during the performance. Please enter and exit the auditorium only during the applause breaks. It is expected that all band members stay for the whole concert and do not leave after their group has finished. Concert performance and attendance are part of the class grade. Parents and other audience members are also encouraged to stay for the entire concert as each ensemble appreciates an audience. It is customary and considered good concert manners not to applaud between movements or sections of a piece, but rather to hold your appreciation until the completion of the entire artistic work. The end of a piece is signaled by the conductor, who will lower his or her hands and usually turns to acknowledge the audience and take a bow for the entire ensemble. In jazz, it is customary to applaud each soloist after she/he has finished soloing, even while the rest of the tune is going on. Your cue to applaud is when a soloist sits down or a different soloist starts playing.

Q: What is the dress code for my student for concerts? A: Concert black. We require all students to wear what is referred to as “concert black” meaning all-black clothing and shoes that meet CUSD dress code guidelines for fit/modesty. We ask that your minimum be dress shoes, dress pants/skirt, dress shirt/blouse. Neckties are optional but should be black, if worn. If you choose to wear watches/jewelry, please ensure they will not become distracting/entangled with your instrument; items of significant monetary or sentimental value should be kept safely at home.

Q: What are the program philosophies on competition? A: “It’s not whether you win or lose, it’s how you play the game.” The HHS Band encourages “healthy competition,” which means while students are encouraged to compete and work hard to win, it is not the most important aspect of the journey. While we want to be successful and learn to compete in a very competitive world, the journey and progress made during preparation is the important part to reflect on.

Q: How do students earn a letter in band? A: Through participation! Every year, at the Awards Banquet in May, the band recognizes students who have earned enough points to receive a “letter” in the activity. Students can earn points by participating in different ensembles, auditioning for regionals and all state groups, being in band council, taking private lessons, and a variety of other activities that enhance their musical experiences at HHS. Generally in mid April, the students will “apply” for their letter and list all of their activities for the year that have earned them points. Points carry over from year to year, so it is beneficial for ALL students to apply for letters and save their points for the next year.

Band Boosters

Q: What is the BPO? A: The HHS Band Boosters are a member of Chandler School Boosters (CSB), a tax-exempt, non-profit 501(c)(3) organization, complete with bylaws and an Executive Board. The purpose of the BPO is to help broaden, promote, and enhance the Hamilton Band Program. They support the band program through the generous donation of their time, talent and resources. Any parent or legal guardian of a student currently active in the HHS Band Program is considered a member of the Hamilton Band Boosters.

Q: How often does the BPO meet? A: The third Tuesday of every month. Generally, the boosters meet on the third Tuesday of every month, with some exceptions due to school breaks or holidays. All band parents/guardians are encouraged to attend the meetings!

Q: How many fundraisers are there? A: There are several fundraisers throughout the year. Generally, there is a restaurant night once a month. There is also a wreath fundraiser around the holidays. The two largest fundraisers for the program, however, are selling concessions at the football games in the Fall and the hosting of a marching band competition

Q: What is the best way to meet other band parents? A: Get involved! There are opportunities throughout the year (especially during marching band season) to volunteer for things such as working concessions at home football games, assisting with the Pit Crew in helping push pit equipment and props, helping with uniform fittings during band camp, and volunteering for one of the many areas that we have to help make our show hosting as successful as possible!