- Respect the BANDS
- Respect the VOLUNTEERS
- Respect the PEOPLE around you
It’s really that simple. But these categories can be broken down a whole lot more. The following lists will do this, and the entries are not in any particular order. The first list is a list of things to do and the second list is what not to do.
- DO APPLAUD – Support each band in the competition. Applaud for them as they take the field. During the performance, there are certain parts where you will hear their parents cheering from the stands. Go ahead and join in. Applaud once more after they conclude their performance. Remember that applause is the only feedback available to a band from the spectators. If you have ever watched a struggling performance be bolstered by supportive applause and turn into an improved performance, you understand how important this feedback is.
- DO SALUTE – If the competition you are attending sends the band in front of the spectators on their way off out of the stadium, this is called passing in review. Stand and applaud as the entire band marches by. Make sure to include applause for the color guard, which usually follows in the back of the processional.
- DO WATCH – You will enjoy the experience a lot more if you watch each performance instead of play on a cell phone. There is a lot going on. It’s intended to be entertaining. Don’t forget to watch the different elements in the show. There’s percussion, front ensemble, guard, drum majors, and the different sections of the band. Even if you have seen a show before, most bands are making changes every week – just like Jenison does.
- DO ENGAGE – Talk to the people around you and learn where they are from and what they do for their band. Most band parents are friendly and proud, just like Jenison parents. They will share stories of overcoming struggle and finding accomplishment. When their child performs, learn where they are in position and cheer them on. It really makes these events more personal and enjoyable when you know a little more than our own Jenison bubble.
- DO BUY SOMETHING – Just like at Jenison, the bulk of a bands operating income is generated through the Invitational. Buy a program at the very least. These will provide the night’s schedule and you might find some of the ad’s are useful. The concessions are a great way to get a snack or eat your supper. The money raised from this will also help the hosting band.
- DO COME EARLY – For the first competition you attend, please go very early. Don’t try and sneak in right before Jenison performs. We’ve seen this happen at our own Invitational, and those parents get very upset when we won’t let them into the stadium stands. Parking is always busy and walking to the ticket booth will take some time. Waiting to get into the stands will take some time. Finding a seat that you like will take some time. It all adds up, so take some stress away and just go early.
- DO DRESS APPROPRIATELY – Wear the show shirt if you have one. If not, wear Jenison gear. As it gets colder, make sure to wear warmer clothing, even if it hides your show shirt. Blankets are allowed. Umbrellas are allowed, but they are awfully rude to the people behind you, who get the water shed and a blocked view. It’s much better to wear rain gear.
- NO TALKING – Be courteous to those around you during a performance and do not carry on a conversation. Making comments frequently happen between companions, but do these as a whisper in an ear instead of using a normal voice. If you have small children who like to talk a lot, this may not be the best place for them to be.
- NO RINGTONES – Likewise, please turn your cell phone to vibrate so no one can hear it. If it rings during a performance, please ignore it and maybe send a text that you will call them back in a few minutes.
- NO STANDING – During a performance, there is no standing and moving around. Please stay seated and save your stretching until in between performances. Besides, no one can leave or enter the stands while a performance is going on. This rule of etiquette extends to small children. They need to remain seated as well. If you have active children who find it difficult to sit still, this may not be easy for them.
- NO NEGATIVITY – Never, ever boo a band or group on the field. This will get you tarred and feathers by other spectators. Likewise, do not make insensitive comments about band members or the band as a whole. Obviously there will be shows you don’t enjoy or are confused by. Observations during a conversation can be made without being negative. Always look for something positive to say about these performances. Most of these bands have worked very hard to get the show together, so let’s respect that. I know we have had parents struggle with the Reeths-Puffer competitive rivalry, but my experiences with their students and parents has overwhelmingly been positive. They have been good losers and happy but respectful winners. Since R-P is no longer in our Flight, it will be easier to cheer them on.
- NO NOISE MAKERS – It is considered inappropriate to use air horns, whistles, bells, and other loud noise makers. Simply let your clapping and vocal expressions be your noise makers.
- NO VIDEO – This one is kind of sensitive for people. Generally, at an invitational, you can take video on your phone or other recording device UNLESS they announce that this is not allowed. They will announce often if this is the case. There are some simple things to consider when recording. You might get away with using a monopod, but tripods tend to draw attention and ire. When recording, try not to block the view of the people behind you, especially if they have a student in the same band. NEVER post your video online during the season. Never record another schools performance. The larger events like Regionals, States, and Nationals will enforce the no recording rule. If they see you, they make force you to delete the footage and have the option to escort you out.
So, what caused that fistfight at a college game? A sports enthusiast who didn’t give a hoot for the band stood and was stretching during half-time. No big deal on its own, but the guy behind him was only there to see his student perform in the halftime show as part of the marching band. If you respect other people, even a little, this seems like a pretty easy thing to resolve. In the end, neither was allowed to finish halftime as they were both forced to leave the stadium. I wouldn’t want to be the guy having to tell his kid what happened.