JOINING OUR PROGRAM?
The Raven Nation band program is truly a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity!
We want to make sure you are fully prepared to make a positive impact on Day #1.
Let's get started.
This page takes you through just about everything you need to know about our program from top-to-bottom.
So, who can join our program?
As long as you meet these simple requirements - you are eligible:
We build our band program around what should be at the CORE of every great organization.
These four things must be in place before music-making is even possible.
EVERY thing we do depends on EVERY person contributing EVERY time. Nobody is an exception! From our newest and youngest members, to the senior leaders, their parents, up to the coaches and the band staff - it takes a consistent, dedicated, and reliable community to make every rehearsal, fundraiser, trip, and performance go smoothly.
July 24th – 28th (9am – 4pm)
WEEK 1 - July 31st thru August 4th
- Full days (9am to 4pm)
WEEK 2 - August 7th thru 11th
- Time TBD
WEEK 3 - August 14th thru 18th
- Time TBD
WEEK 4 – August 21st thru 25th
- Afternoon Only (3:00pm to 5:30pm)
PARTICIPATION AGREEMENT FORM DUE
July 15, 2023
FULL BAND PRE-SEASON MEETING
July 19, 2023 at 6:00pm
Sussex Tech Cafeteria
The 2023-2024 Calendar will be available ASAP.
This information is current as of May 9, 2023 and is subject to change at any time as we continue preparations for next school year.
BAND PROGRAM "QUICK FACTS"
Our program relies very heavily on communication, specifically through email and text message. ***We can't possibly stress this enough!***
Band program updates are sent once-per-week in the fall (typically on Sunday), and every 2-4 weeks during the spring.
For urgent communication, "day-of" information, and relaying pickup times from events to families, we utilize "Remind", which allows band staff to safely communicate between students and parents on a school-approved text message platform. There is a smartphone app available for Remind. Go to www.remind.com for more information.
Incoming students are required to attend band camp throughout the month of August, which meets every Monday, Tuesday, Wednesday, and Thursday from 9:00 AM to 3:30 PM, with occasional later rehearsals. Depending on the band's progress, some rehearsals may be removed. If a student does not attend band camp, they will not be permitted to participate in the program (unless they are accepted late to STHS).
At Sussex Tech, we perform a high-step marching style. It is physically demanding, especially in the heat with uniforms on. Physical conditioning is highly recommended: running/stretching is encouraged prior to the start of band camp, and students must eat full meals before rehearsal and during meal breaks. We set up water coolers* with ice and canopies for shade during rehearsals, and our band staff is always on-hand for supervision to ensure student safety and well-being.
* We rely on donations (personal, business, and/or corporate) or booster parent organization funds for bottled water for the students, and are always in need. If you can assist at any time, contact the current Ravens Music Boosters president.
For instrumentalists & drumline members, Marching Band is required to be in Concert Band, and vice versa, Concert Band is required to be in Marching Band. Both elements are part of the graded band course. Band members who are not scheduled for a band class period (Period 2, 4, 6 or Period 8) must show evidence of an academic conflict with a notice from a guidance counselor.
The full marching band has required rehearsal from 3:25 - 5:45 PM twice per week after-school during the school year. We rehearse Tuesday for Rehearsal #1 , and every Thursday for Rehearsal #2.
The "S.T. X-Press" Drumline (auditioned group) has an additional required rehearsal every Wednesday after-school from 3:25 PM to 5:45 PM. Students who do not successfully audition for the drumline are encouraged to seek private lessons and reaudition for the next school year.
After-school rehearsals reduce in frequency in late October/early November to allow students time to focus on academics (around the end of Marking Period 1).
The marching band performs at every home and away Sussex Tech varsity football game (10 consecutive Fridays). Games can also occasionally occur on Saturdays, or be moved to Saturdays due to inclement weather. The band will almost always be withdrawn from an event when rain or snow is forecast in the best interest of instrument longevity and student health.
Outside of Friday night football games, we are anticipating that the marching band will participate in two parades in October, two parades in November, and four parades in December. Occasionally, other unique performance opportunities will arise.
Personal practice time outside of rehearsal is a basic expectation. It is impossible to "check up" and make sure every student is practicing, nor is it a good use of the band staff's time to do so. The success of the band program will be equal to the time spent practicing at home or outside of rehearsal. We do not assign a specific/exact amount of practice time for students - every student is different.
Bare minimum expectations: practice time should be no less than 15 minutes after properly warming up ("warming up" = preparing the mind, body and instrument). Practice time should always include use of a metronome.
Instrumentalists/drumline members will also perform a Winter Concert and a Spring Concert with the Concert Band as part of the Band 1/Band 2/Wind Ensemble class period. These concerts typically begin at 7:00 PM and are held at the Georgetown Community Cheer Center (Sand Hill Rd., Georgetown), as Sussex Tech does not have an auditorium or performing arts space on-campus.
Jazz Band is a fully extra-curricular ensemble and is open to students who play saxophone, trombone, trumpet/clarinet, bass guitar, piano, and drum set. The ensemble meets throughout the year, but *may* be switching to occasional morning rehearsals to alleviate the after-school schedule.
Our Basketball Pep Band is a volunteer-only group that plays at Boys & Girls Varsity home games during the months of January and February.
Additional opportunities such as the West Virginia University Invitational Honor Bands (acceptance based on resume), NAfME All-National Band (must make All-State first), the U.S. Army All American Band (seniors only, based on resume), the Honors Performance Series at Carnegie Hall (video audition), and the Macy's Great American Marching Band (video audition), are exciting possibilities that open up when students successfully participate in honor band events as underclassmen.
...still have questions?
Read the FAQ section which covers just about everything
else new (and current) members need to know.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
Q: "WHAT IF I AM ON THE WAIT LIST FOR SUSSEX TECH?"
A: Unfortunately, wait-listed students are not allowed to participate until they are formally accepted to Sussex Tech HS. We welcome late accepted students at any time; however, the timing of your acceptance will determine how much you will be able to participate in. We complete our marching technique and conditioning, show music, and show visuals during August camp. Our staff will do our absolute best to get late accepted students up to speed as soon as possible.
Q: "DO I HAVE TO AUDITION TO BE IN THE BAND?"
A: The only members who must audition are:
S.T. X-Press Drumline (snare, quints/tenors, bass drums, cymbals)
"Reflections" Color Guard (flags, rifles, sabres)
"Platinum" Pom pom dance squad
Majorettes (baton twirlers)
Q: "WHAT IF I DON'T THINK I'M "GOOD ENOUGH"/PREPARED?"
A: We accept musicians of all abilities and experiences!
The only thing we "require" is that you have played an instrument prior to registering, or have a very strong desire to learn, practice, and catch up. Once you have been placed after your placement test evaluation, our band staff, assistants, and leaders will give you the support, resources, and knowledge to improve!
Many of our young members make dramatic improvements in their first year with the band - do not be discouraged!
Q: "CAN I BE IN BAND AND A SPORT AT SUSSEX TECH?"
A: Practice/game schedules for Varsity-level sports are not compatible with the time commitment required for our band, and therefore, it is not permitted for a band member to participate in a Varsity-level sport and marching band. Beyond Varsity-level, it depends which sport the student is participating in. In 2018-19. Most students in JV/Freshman squads will be shadowed or double-cast for our halftime show to ensure that there will not be empty spots in our formations. While we are willing to accept almost everyone, there is no guarantee that athletes will be adequately prepared to perform in our Friday night halftime show, and frequent absentees may actually affect the performance of other students who grow accustomed to performing with those spots missing.
Peach Bowl participants & athletics:
Due to the time required to fully prepare for our performance trip to the Peach Bowl this December, it is highly recommended that band students opt to participate in a spring sport instead of a fall or winter sport.
Impact of athletics on band leadership & future prospects:
It is possible to participate in a sport and marching band; however, the conflicting schedules significantly impact a student’s ability to eventually hold a leadership position, or move up in rank with the program.
Q: "WHAT IS THE TIME COMMITMENT?" *Extremely Important*
A: The time commitment is significant. Simply put, highly successful marching bands, concert bands, and jazz bands have consistent attendance with very few absentees. Their students go out of their way to avoid conflicts of any kind, and take preventative measures to make sure that variables within their control (academic, health, personal, or otherwise) are not neglected and eventually end up hurting their peers in the band.
When attendance issues pile up, this is what happens every time: we spend more time doing the same exact music, marching, choreography, or other material over and over again (far beyond should be necessary) to ensure all of the absentees are aware of the material and are not going to negatively affect the performance because of missed material. The ripple effect of this needless repetition results in lower morale, energy, and confidence across the band, since the "newness" or "freshness" of the performance material wears off for the students who are ready to move on to newer or more detailed material. With that said - our members are expected to take this committment seriously - it is 100% in, or 100% out.
The specific time requirements are outlined in the "Quick Facts" section on the left-hand side of this page, and will be handed out in hard copy calendar form at the pre-season orientation in July.
Q: "ARE THERE FINANCIAL OBLIGATIONS?"
A: Yes. We try to provide as much as our budget allows, while still leaving enough funds for our normal cost to operate the program year-to-year. Below is a breakdown of what is provided vs. what must be purchased:
Provided: (*Loaned with a signed uniform agreement sheet; $600 value*)
Band uniform: jacket and pants (fitted to student)
Uniform accessories (cape, hat, epaulettes, and spats)
County Band participation fee (if audition is successful)
Not provided: (Total cost ~$85; varies by instrument & trip participation)
Trip participation (ex: Peach Bowl)
Polo shirt (approx. $35)
White sussex tech band t-shirt (approx. $10)
Marching shoes (approx. $35)
Gloves (approx. $3 for thin nylon; $15 for leather w/fingertip cut)
Consumable instrument accessories (reeds, ligatures, oil - $$ varies)
Q: "ARE INSTRUMENTS AND ACCESSORIES PROVIDED?"
A: While we do not have everything, we do provide a wide range of instruments and accesories based on our inventory and budget. Tubas/sousaphones, baritone saxophones, tenor saxophones, trombones, mellophones, and drums are a few examples of instruments we regularly provide.
If you still have questions, please send an email to Band Director G. Batten at: email@example.com