Flight II Performance Times
The official schedule states that Flight II competition begins at 11:00 am. Ten bands will perform, organized by order of scores from lowest to highest. Jenison will perform at 1:06 pm. Awards will begin at 1:20 pm. Here is a link to MCBA information:
Student Report Time
Jension High School will be open for students at 5:45 am. Warm-up rehearsal will begin at 6:15, so make sure your student is up and ready to go on time. The band will leave Jenison at 7:00. Parents will not see them again until after the awards ceremony. Here is a link to the Jenison Bands Itinerary:
Travel Time and Directions
Google says it will take 2 hours 32 minutes to get the Ford Field. I suggest picking your parking lot location and using that address as your target destination. The Ford Field parking garage is only $6 but may be full due to earlier competitions. There are plenty of other parking areas nearby, but costs will vary. I would also suggest looking at the area on Google Maps to become a little more familiar with the landmarks.
Tickets and Security
If you did not purchase tickets ahead of time, they will cost $20 at the door. CASH ONLY. No credit/debit or checks will be accepted. Senior Citizens and Students will cost $15. Children under 5 will be admitted with no charge. Even though the crowd measures thousands, as opposed to tens of thousands, Ford Field will still impose their strict rules for items carried in. ALL bags will be checked. Here is a link to the restricted items list:
All merchandise can be found immediately after entering the stadium. Here is a list of the different items and links to their advertisements and costs. Programs will be sold for about $8.00.
Video Recordings https://www.themcba.org/images/Events/Mr_Video_2019_MCBA_Flyer.pdf
Photography (sorry, no prices) https://www.themcba.org/images/Events/Jolesch_2019_MCBA_Flyer.pdf
Only the lower level, home side of the field will be used for spectators. It should hold something like 10,000 people, but finding good seats is still a major challenge. Due to the amount of people moving up and down the stairs between every band performance, coupled with the size of the stadium, and you may find yourself getting a little stressed while looking for a seat. Please resist the urge to save more than 1-2 seats for someone else. Everyone's nerves are on edge already, and this just adds to everyone's stress level. If you really want to sit with specific friends then I suggest car pooling to the stadium.
The same etiquette guidelines used everywhere else apply here. Be considerate of everyone. Applaud everyone. No mean spirited or demeaning comments, please.
There are some concessions open during the competition. I have not purchased food from them, other than a soda, so I have no information to share or recommendations to give.
Post Competition Celebration
It's like pandemonium between flights. You have 5,000-7,000 people trying to leave the stadium and another 3,000-4,000 trying to get in and find seats during this period. There are bands leaving the stadium, parents looking for their students, excited people, upset people, and everything in between. Just remember that you do not need to exit quickly in fear of missing an opportunity to congratulate your student. Let me explain how this works.
Because Jenison performs last in our flight, how they have to do things works a little different than other bands. When you leave your seat and work your way to the stadium exit, you will pass the merchandise tables. This is where you need to move yourself to the right. You will find other Jenison parents congregating between the tables and the exterior wall. They are waiting for our band to approach from the hallway you will see extending to the right. It usually takes quite a while before they appear. When they do, don't be surprised if the parents spread out, forming a long line on both sides of the aisle. As the band marches by, they receive a loud ovation for all of us. It's a long processional but keep applauding all the way to the end. The students at the beginning couldn't do it without the students coming up in the back of the line - and vice versa.
The students will not stop, but continue moving outside and across the street. Some years they are able to congregate at the Comerica Park gates, but other years they keep going until they get back to their buses. Just follow along with the other parents. There will be opportunities to take pictures and talk with them at their final stop. Before this can happen, though, they will get a pep talk from the director(s) and medals will be distributed. A group photo will be organized. Parents are allowed to take these shots as well. Then, finally, they will have the opportunity to seek you out and spend a few minutes with you.
Remember that their job isn't done yet. They have to change, pack up the trailer, and reboard the buses. The parking lot will be taken over by another school, so we must leave by 2:30 pm.
The Road Home
Once the buses leave, they will be stopping for the students to get something to eat. Usually, this is in Brighton. You can meet them there, but it gets very busy. Time is limited here, too. They usually park behind Starbucks in the outer part of the Marshall's parking lot. Food options nearby includes McDonalds, Panera, Pot Belly, Wendy's, Taco Bell, Firehouse Subs, Panda, and Chipotle. Those last few are getting to be a bit of a walk, though.
In the past, when Jenison has won the state title, our very supportive administration has quickly organized a warm welcome with a police escort and rally at the school. This does not occur every year. There are various reasons for this, but if it is a possibility, it is important to stay connected to your email and text messages. Word will be spread using these methods of communication. It is usually intended to be kept secret from the students, so please, do not ask your student if they have heard anything.
Arrive at Jenison
The buses will arrive back home around 6:30 pm. Do not park along the curb to the school. The buses need to pull in there. They get the right-of-way. If you park there, you will be asked to move or will be boxed in until the buses leave.