All participating schools are divided into Flights based upon the number of students enrolled in the high school. This classification can be the first obstacle, since band participation varies in every school, regardless of size. The state average is a 12% participation rate although they often range from 3% to 25%.
Flight I 1632-up
Flight II 1210-1631
Flight III 978-1209
Flight IV 672-977
Flight V lower-671
Each performance has a total possible score of 100 points. It is divided into three categories with percentages applied to each. The Music category reviews the musicianship of the students and ensembles and is assigned 30 points. These judges are always on the field and moving about during the performance. The Visual category reviews the marching skills and body movements of the band as well as the many aptitude of the color guard. This is also assigned 30 points and these judges are moving around the field as well. Finally, the General Effect category is assigned the remaining 40 points. These judges are usually in the press box because it is important for them to hear the music when is is properly blended by distance and to see the overall coordination and movement of the entire band.
At the end of all performances in a competition, the awards ceremony recognizes the bands with the highest scores for each category: Best Music, Best Visual Effect, and Best General Effect. It is very important to note, that it is possible to win two of these categories and still come in second place.
If a school is interested in the state championship, they must complete an application to be considered. Each interested band must compete in at least two of the twenty MCBA competitions held each year. Then, to actually make the cut, you must average the two best scores of the season and see if they rank among the ten best submissions. Only the top ten schools from each Flight will be allowed to compete for the state title. The performances usually begin with the lowest average score and continue on up through the highest average score. This competition is a lot of fun and attracts thousands of people for each flight.