What to Expect for Away Games

Attention – EVERYONE must read the below bullet points to understand the expectations and protocol for away games (within the county), including veteran parents, please.  It is quite long in order to cover the many aspects of away games.  Please read thoroughly.  I will be going over all of this with our students Friday:

– Students are required to get themselves to away games that are within the county as we do not take buses to these performances.  As always, many folks coordinate carpooling and we encourage that!  We are fortunate this year that we only have 3 away games: Sparkman (carpool), Hewitt Trussville (buses, leaving school early), and Grissom (carpool).
– We will load Big Blue during 4th block Friday.  Instruments, uniforms, and all equipment go on the trailer so the students do not have to bring anything.  (I encourage parents to come see how our trailer works (and offer assistance, please!) – it has been built and engineered with optimal storage and flow in mind.  All winds and percussion students will literally board the trailer, proceed upstairs and load/unload their own uniforms, shakos, and instruments.  Our Front Ensemble keyboards, drums and auxiliary percussion equipment get “broken down” and must be loaded carefully and securely – there are a lot of pieces!)
– Students are released at regular school-end time to go home, change, eat, and be sure they have everything for the performance.  Students should arrive in their marching shoes, long white socks, white/grey shorts, and white tee (or show shirt).  Color Guard should arrive in uniform (skorts/polo).
– Call time AT the venue is 5:00, though I understand that may be difficult for some, particularly for bus riders whose buses take so long to get them home (I recommend these students bring their “whites” to school and ride with someone.  This has been common practice over the years.  There are lots of options – ask me if you need help).
**The latest a student can arrive – 1) IF he/she has a valid reason and 2) IF he/she has communicated it to me beforehand – is 5:30.  Parking is part of this issue – most schools begin taking parking anywhere from 5-5:30 so by arriving later than 5, you may be subject to parking fees.  Please do not argue with the parking attendants – they are just doing their job and you can’t control their behavior, only your own.  Arguing rarely accomplishes anything but making our organization, students, and the director look bad, followed by an administrator coming to me about it.  Instead, be kind and considerate and express that your student is performing with the band, that you’re running late, and just dropping off – they may let you through then, or you can simply drop your student off there at the gate.  Thank you for your consideration and understanding.
– Color Guard must arrive by 5:30 in uniform, make up, and hair done with costumes and other equipment necessities in their duffels – but again, keep in mind parking.
– Winds and Percussion will change immediately upon arrival (again, as close to 5 as possible since we have 120 students to cycle through the trailer (twice) to get everything ready by 6:00).  At Sparkman HS this Friday, the trailer will be at the North end of the high school (not the Freshman Academy) at the corner of Jeff Road and Ford Chapel Road – you should be able to see it – it’s pretty big.  If you’re dropping off, please do so in a parking lot, safely – not on the road.  I recommend entering on the SOUTH end of the campus (first entrance coming from the south, not the Ford Chapel Road entrance next to the stadium) and using the front parking lot.  Go all the way to the end (North) and you’ll be near the trailer.
– Upon arrival, Winds and Percussion should not wait for instructions but immediately go in to the trailer (if it is open and stairs/ramp in place), retrieve uniform bag, shako box, and instrument, bring it out, change COMPLETELY (meaning ALL parts are on completely except the shako – we do not stand around in partial uniform) then put the uniform bag, shako box, and instrument case, etc. back on the trailer.
– We will spend all of Friday’s 4th block training the students on appropriate procedure – how to load, unload, dress, and to check and double check all parts and processes.
– Once in uniform, students may not eat any food (unless necessary for medical reasons) or drink anything except water.  They need to eat well before 5-5:30.  We will of course provide water to the students first and second half.
– After the away game performance (game is over and post-game playing has been completed), we will change back out of uniforms and thoroughly load (completed no more than 30 minutes after the game).
– Students are REQUIRED to return to the school for unloading (just like they would if riding a bus) – another reason to carpool.  Each and every student is responsible for his/her own uniform bag, shako box, instrument, and applicable equipment.  Students’ grades (test grade for all performances) will be lowered for anything left on the trailer or not put away correctly in the band room and for late arrival or early departure per handbook policy.
3 IMPORTANT FINAL NOTES:
–  It is VERY important that all students understand and follow these procedures.  We have far too many moving parts for students to forget their shako box or uniform bag or instrument case, etc. out on the changing tarps or left on the trailer at the end of the night.  When your student gets in the car, please ask them if they took care of these 3 main things (uniform, shako & box, instrument) and the procedures that go with it!  Their grade depends on it and lack of follow through creates more work for others.
– ALL STUDENTS should have their names/initials written with sharpie marker in their shoes (both shoes).  This is the most common mix-up on the changing tarps.  They should have already done this, but please check.
– DO NOT PARK/WAIT IN THE BUCK CIRCLE (round-a-bout) for your student after games/performances.  Instead, please park/wait in the parking lots.  Your student can come to you.  I have formally requested that football parents do the same.  This is so the round-a-bout stays open for through-traffic (football and band staff only), buses (when applicable), and our extensive trailer unloading traffic back and forth from the trailer in the stadium to the band room.
I know this was a long one.  I try to be as thorough as possible to keep my inbox from being inundated.  As always, thank you for your time and support!  Now, FINALLY, we can get these incredible students in uniform Friday!  We should be performing the entire show, drill and music and almost all Color Guard routine for the first time Friday night.
Information about the Stones River Championship (Sept 30) will be coming next week!

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