It’s business as usual with Saturday practice beginning at 9:00 am.
Lunch break is typically the same as other practice Saturdays, around 12 noon. Lunch is not provided to the students for local competition days so they will need to pack one or have one dropped off to them. Students with vehicles can leave campus to get their lunch.
Depending on when they are scheduled to perform combined with the distance to the location and the weather conditions, rehearsal may continue for a bit of time following lunch. However, some of the afternoon will be spent packing up the equipment, loading the trailers, changing into their uniforms, and getting ready to board the buses. For local competitions, school buses are regularly used. The more comfortable coach buses are saved for BOA competitions and State Finals.
The entire band will be fed the evening meal through the Feed the Band committee. Sign-Up Genius has lists of what food items are needed for each meal provided. Please consider helping fill these needs.
Once the buses arrive at the competition, they will be given instructions on what to do regarding equipment, instruments, etc. They will warm up, perform, and then go to their assigned area for awards. After the ceremony is finished, they will head back to their buses and return to Jenison high school. There is no opportunity for interaction between you and your student.
If you have a member of the guard, it is important to note a few extra things. First, when the band is fed as a whole, there are still responsibilities the guard has and often they miss the opportunity to eat due to the tight timeline for the meal. Please be sure to pack some quick snacks like protein bars or fruit snacks to keep these performers energized. Second, their costumes are not often very warm. Be prepared to provide something hot for them to drink when they get home. They may also be extra hungry if they miss dinner.
FOR THE SPECTATORS…
WHEN TO ARRIVE
If you are going to watch the competition, be sure to arrive a minimum of a half hour before Jenison performs so there is time to find parking, walk to the stadium, and find a seat. Jenison is usually one of the last two or three bands to perform before the awards ceremony, but you are going to want to watch more than this. Stadium seating fills up pretty fast. If you have cushioned seats to sit on, they have been allowed into these events in the past, so I would assume this will continue.
Ticket pricing will likely be $8-$10 per person. Programs will cost an additional $1-$3.
During a competition, there are only certain times that you can go find a seat. Once a marching band is on the field, you may only have a couple of minutes to sneak in to find a seat. The entry to the seating area will be roped off to prevent unwanted distractions for the band on the field. If you do not allow enough time to get in there and find a seat, please do not take your frustration out on the volunteer parent blocking the entry. It is not their fault. After the band has concluded their performance and begin to clear the field, the ropes will open once again. There will probably be a line to get in and this line will run into a bunch of people trying to clear out of the stands to use the bathroom or get some concessions. Remember to be courteous as you are representing Jenison and our marching band. Other band parents notice when a school representative is not behaving complimentary. When you see the bleachers you will notice pockets of Jenison parents here and there because it’s nearly impossible to all sit together. If the stands look pretty full, then you may have to sit closer to the field and the fifty yard line. This is usually the least populated area since visibility is at its lowest. But, there is no rule that says you can’t move seats between band performances.
The awards ceremony is what we live for. Well, the scores are anyway. Each band will send representatives to the field while the remainder of the band stays in their designated area. These reps will accept any awards on behalf of the school they represent. The scores are always presented from the lowest to the highest per flight with caption awards spaced intermittently. You will notice a few interesting things if you haven’t been to a competition before. Each school has a routine salute that is performed. This is done before each performance begins and also each time a band receives an award. Examples can be seen here https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=k2uCVL82Geo. Many people see these routines as a little out-of-control sometimes so if you are one of these people, please control your reactions because you never know if their parents are sitting nearby. In contrast, Jenison performs the traditionally respected salute, which is simple yet impressive. Another thing to know is that unless Jenison is the only school in our class, it is never a "sure thing" that we will win. It's always a nail-biting adventure. When we do get an award or are announced as the winner, Jenison band members will not break into applause and cheering for themselves, but do not be fooled, they are very excited. To show respect for their competitors they will not celebrate in front of them. Some audience members will understand and appreciate this because no one likes obnoxious winners. On the other hand, some audience members will see this lack of reaction as arrogant and obnoxious anyway. However, the good thing is, parents can cheer all they want!
As you can imagine, getting out of any high school football stadium parking is a nightmare. There are lots of people and some of them have run out of patience. Be watchful while crossing any paved area. Pay attention to the parking lot attendants. They are there (hopefully) to help the pedestrian and vehicle traffic flow. They will stop all spectators to allow school buses unhindered access to the exit. Don’t panic. If the band makes it back before you do, they still have to do some things before they can leave. So, it’s not a big deal. You will be able to pick them up at the pool entrance.
Well, enjoy these competitions. Enjoy the variety of music and themes. Make sure to tell a volunteer parent thank you. They work hard to make it more enjoyable for us.