FAQ

The Answers You Need

Frequently asked questions

Marching Band

What are the uniform requirements for the Mighty Hawk Band?


Each student will be issued a uniform for marching band. In addition, every member of the marching band will be required to purchase gloves, black marching shoes, and black socks.

All uniforms are stored at school and issued to students on game day. On the day of performances students will be required to arrive at school in their band t-shirt, shorts, black socks and black shoes. The uniform will be checked out immediately after school. After the game, the uniform should be hung neatly and turned in to a Uniform Committee member.

The marching uniforms will be cleaned periodically during the marching season.




How long is the marching band season?


The marching band season starts early August and goes through early November. *schedules varies for student leadership




Does my child have to ride the bus to and from every event?


All students are provided bus transportation through the Rockwall I.S.D. Contact Mr. Sumrak to request alternate transportation.




Where should I pick up my child after marching band events?


Parents can park in the parking lot that faces the band hall. Please do not line up your car around the band hall as bus drivers and our equipment trailer driver need to pull into that area to park and unload. Upon arrival students will return to the RHHS Band Hall to change out of their uniform and turn it in as well as to return for their belongings (backpack, etc). Students are not allowed to bring backpacks on the bus since maximum space is needed for uniform garment bags, hat cases and instruments.




Which marching band events are families and friends allowed to attend?


Everyone is welcome to attend all the performance shows such as the Band Showcase (Aug), football half-time shows (Aug-Nov), marching band competitions (Oct). Please check the event page for more information.




What is Summer Band Camp?


The marching band begins learning music, drils and formations during Summer Band Camp prior to school starting to prepare for the UIL Marching contest season as well as half-time performances. UIL does not allow bands begin show preparation until August 1.




What is an Alternate?


This is the term that is used for students who do not have a spot in the competition show. Sometimes the student’s abilities do not meet the demands of the marching show. Alternate students still participate in every band activity and are very much a part of the group. These students usually get to perform on Friday nights.




What is the marching band student leadership?


The student leadership serves as the band council that represent the student voice to the directors and boosters. They also lead the students under the guidance and supervision of the directors and serve as mentors to the younger students.




What are the band fees?


The marching band fee ranges between $230-$350 depending on instrument rental. Each member is required to pay the band supplies in August during Band Supply Day. The directors and the boosters do their best to make the fee the most cost effective as possible.

Marching Band Fees

  • Summer Uniform Hat

  • Summer Uniform Shirt

  • Summer Uniform Shorts

  • Show Shirt

  • Game day meals

  • "H" Water Jug

  • Intrument Rental (if needed)

*prices may vary each year

We never want finances to be the reason a student does not participate, please e-mail the Director if financial assistance is needed.




Will my child be able to earn a letterman jacket in band?


Yes. There is a point system awarded to students on an individual achievement basis. In order to be eligible to receive a letter jacket from the band program a student must qualify by earning at least 100 “points” in one of two tracks: Instrumentalist or Color-guard. Each member may only earn one letter jacket. Points are to be awarded as follows:

All Members:

  • Membership in the Mighty Hawk Band Program:
    • Year 1 – 10 points
    • Year 2 – 15 points
    • Year 3 – 25 points
    • Year 4 – 50 points

Instrumentalist Track:

  • Earn membership and participate in one of the TMEA All State Concert Bands, Jazz Bands, or Orchestras (on a wind or percussion instrument)
    • TMEA All State Ensemble Member – 100 points
  • Earn a first division rating on a Class 1 solo at UIL Texas State Solo & Ensemble Contest
    • TSSEC Solo 1st Division – 100 points
  • Earn membership and participate in one of the TMEA All Region Bands
    • 1st time membership – 20 points
    • 2nd time membership – 80 points
  • Earn a first division rating on a Class 1 solo at UIL Region Solo & Ensemble Contest
    • 1st time award – 20 points
    • 2nd time award – 80 points

Color-guard Track:

  • Earn a first division rating (95 or higher) on solo performance at NTCA All Star Weekend
    • 1st year – 20 points
    • 2nd year – 80 points




Will the band compete outside of UIL contests?


Yes. There are several districts that host marching band competitions which gives the band an opportunity to prepare for the UIL marching contest. These invitational contests allow bands the opportunity to advance from prelims to finals.




What is a UIL rating?


The UIL rating system is awarded as follows:

1-Superior

2-Excellent

3-Average

4-Below Average

5-Poor




Does the band go to playoffs in their contests?


On the even numbered years, Class 6A districts have the opportunity to advance to area and state marching contest. During the odd numbered years we will compete in the region level regardless of our rating.




What is the 8 hour rule?


UIL restricts all marching bands to no more than 8 hours of extra rehearsal time outside of the school day. This does not include performance days such as contest days.




Why is attendance important at every event?


Unlike other activities, all of the students in the marching band “guide” and “cue” off of other students in the presentation. Having students missing can be detrimental to the group’s success. Please try not to schedule doctor/dentist/ortho/etc appointments during rehearsals or other band activities.




Should my child be practicing something over the summer?


Yes, this helps prepare their embouchure for the long rehearsals of Summer Band Camp.




What does my child need to wear and bring to Summer Band Camp?


Students should come to rehearsal prepared to handle the heat. Rehearsal dress includes shorts, light colored t-shirt, hat, sun glasses, low cut tennis shoes and socks. For safety reasons, students will not be allowed to rehearse in any other footwear. In addition, every student should have their own water jug labeled with their name and sunscreen. Water breaks are given every fifteen minutes, but if a student chooses to wear their water bottle, they may have water at anytime. As the temperature drops, water breaks will become less frequent. Students are closely monitored and should sit down immediately if dizzy or faint. A sure sign of dehydration is a lack of perspiration. All students should consider their diet and water intake, especially during marching season! Be sure to eat healthy foods and drink plenty of fluids throughout the day. Here’s a good rule of thumb: every time you pass a water fountain, take a drink!





Concert Ensembles


Percussion


Color Guard

What is color guard?


The color guard is a part of the marching band and is therefore governed by all the same rules and regulations as set forth by the band director. The purpose of the color guard is to enhance the performance of the band in a visual manner. It is the director’s prerogative to restrict performance when and if he/she feels the performance unsuitable. **Alternates for color guard are subject to change based on attitude, attendance, and ability.




What requirement do students need to meet in order to audition?


Members of band auxiliaries performing at school sponsored functions will meet the following criteria in order to be auditioned:

  • Be a student at Rockwall-Heath HS in grade 9-12.
  • Be a student in good academic standing.
  • Attend camps and workshops to prepare Bafor the audition.
  • Attendance at ALL rehearsals is required.
  • Audition on the given date in the Spring.
  • Be willing to register for color guard for the fall (if not already in band).
  • Be willing to meet the added financial obligations of the organization in a timely manner. (Varies year to year)

Auditions and selections will be the responsibility of the band directors and a team of expert judges. Every color guard member, including officers, must audition each year. In the event that an instrumentalist enrolled in band and color guard decides to drop band from their schedule, they must sit out a full year before auditioning for color guard only. The number and types of auxiliary units may vary from year to year, depending on the size of the performing band and the availability of talent. Performances, frequency of performances, and uniforms will be determined by the band directors and color guard instructor.

Winter Guard members must follow all of the rules stated above. Rehearsals will be designated by the instructor in the Spring.





General

What awards are given to band students?


Awards are given to deserving band students at the annual Band Banquet held in May. Awards are presented in several categories for outstanding improvement or achievement on a particular instrument or in a particular performing ensemble.

Nationally recognized awards of distinction are presented each year to the outstanding band members in the ensembles. These awards are generally given to a junior or a senior who have exceeded expectations and are exemplary musicians. They are as follows:

  • The National School Marching

  • Patrick S. Gilmore

  • Louis Armstrong Jazz

  • Woody Herman

  • John Philip Sousa Band Award

All awards are given to recognize hard work and excellence in music, citizenship and service. So, GO FOR IT!




How do I set up a membership?


If you are viewing the website through a computer click on the top right hand menu. Follow the prompts to set up an account. Your account will be approved by a staff member to verify your membership in the band.




Why do I need to set up a membership?


Due to safety precautions we restrict certain information for students and parents to access through membership.




What are the boosters and what is their role in band?


The boosters are a group of dedicated band parent volunteers that help promote, support, and assist in the betterment of the Rockwall-Heath High School Band as follows:

  • promote the involvement of parents in band oriented activities.

  • provide supplemental funds for needs of the band which are not budgeted or paid for by the school or district.

  • cooperate with the Rockwall-Heath High School band directors, administrators, and staff to promote the band and the education of band students.

  • All parents, guardians, and friends of the band are encouraged to participate in the Rockwall-Heath Band activities.

Remember, behind every great band is a great Booster organization! Please lend a helping hand by signing up to volunteer.




Why does the band fundraise?


Participation in fund raising activities is highly encouraged to help students and parents defray the cost of operating the band, and to raise funds for the spring band trip. The students will be given several opportunities throughout the school year to raise funds for the Band Boosters and their spring trip. It is never refundable, yet carries over from year to year. Upon graduation, if a Senior band member still has a balance remaining in his/her fund raising account, it may be transferred to a younger sibling’s account or becomes part of the general band fund. Remember, this information pertains to money earned through fundraisers. Your personal contributions to the student’s travel fund are generally refundable under certain guidelines which will be outlined in a separate document when the trip draws nearer. Deposits on trips are always non-refundable regardless of whether they are paid with money raised or personal contributions.

If the family of the students prefers to opt out of fundraising they can do so by paying the fundraiser buyout of $300/student at the Band Supply Day held in August.




Does my child have to take private lessons?


We are fortunate to be able to offer our students a fully-staffed faculty from which private lessons are available. Each faculty member is approved by the Rockwall ISD and most are performers in local orchestras and chamber groups. This program is designed to assist students one-on-one with a specialist on his/her instrument. It is a convenient way for students to get extra help because many teachers schedule lessons during band class or after school. Not only is it convenient, but is offered at an inexpensive rate of $19.00 per 30 minute lesson. Private study is strongly recommended for each student, however, is not required. Private lessons may help a student progress twice as fast as group instruction and may help the student better prepare for participation in concert band activities, region band auditions, and solo-ensemble contest. If you are interested in studying privately, see your director as soon as possible.




What are the eligibility requirements?


The privilege to perform as a band member must be earned in your academic classes. A grade of 69 or below on a report card can deny your performance privileges for three to nine weeks. In the event that a student becomes ineligible, they will be suspended from participating in competitive activities until the end of a three week period in which hopefully such a student achieves a course grade average of 70 or above in every course. Such suspension shall become effective seven days after the last day of the grading period during which the grade lower than 70 was earned. Re-instatement shall occur seven days after the official three-week grade check period or the end of a grading period in which all subjects are passed with at least a grade of 70.

In the event that a student becomes ineligible, they will be suspended from participating in competitive activities until the end of a three week period in which hopefully such a student achieves a course grade average of 70 or above in every course. Such suspension shall become effective seven days after the last day of the grading period during which the grade lower than 70 was earned. Re-instatement shall occur seven days after the official three-week grade check period or the end of a grading period in which all subjects are passed with at least a grade of 70. To avoid eligibility problems, do yourself a favor and meet your teachers halfway. They want you to succeed, but you must do your part.




Can I rent an instrument?


In the majority of cases, students are expected to furnish their own instrument, however, the following instruments are available to rent from the school as available: oboe, bassoon, bass clarinet, baritone sax, French horn, marching French horn, euphonium, marching baritone, tuba, sousaphone and percussion. Students using school-owned instruments are required to fill out the proper forms and pay the maintenance fee. Many school-owned instruments are in new or exceptional condition. If a student habitually mistreats an instrument, the band director reserves the right to take the instrument away. In addition, if damage to the instrument is caused by careless actions or negligence, the student will be expected to pay for the repair.




What supplies are needed for instruments?


All reed and double reed players will be required to have a swab, cork grease, a lyre, and at least three playable reeds at all rehearsals and performances. Flutes should have a tuning rod, swab and a lyre. Brass players should have valve/slide oil, slide grease, a lyre, and any mutes required by the music. Percussionists should keep a stick bag with all mallets and sticks appropriate to the instruments they play. See the percussion instructor for specifics.




Should I pay for insurance on my child's instrument?


It is strongly suggested that parents insure their child’s instrument. Most problems with missing instruments can be avoided if the student will leave their instrument in the band room during the day and not carry the instrument with them from class to class or leave it in their locker. The district does not carry insurance for personal property and neither the school district nor its employees will be held responsible for loss or damage to an instrument.

Tip: Keep a record of the serial number of the instrument. Write it down and/or take a picture of it.




Does my child need to practice at home?


Practice is ALWAYS NECESSARY! A Student’s playing improves only by experience gained on your instrument. One gains experience by the amount of time spent with “horn to face” or “sticks on drums”, or “flag in hand.” The best way to make practice more enjoyable is to have a set routine that you will follow every day. Your goal should be to practice AT LEAST six days a week for one hour. Always look for improvement and focus on strengthening your weaknesses. Practice the more difficult passages and refrain from going over the parts you do know over and over again. Concentrate on getting a GOOD CHARACTERISTIC SOUND at all times. It makes no difference how loud, high, or fast you can play if the tone is not enjoyable to listen to. Never sacrifice accuracy for speed. When a student’s playing improves, then all the time spent practicing will have been worthwhile.

Daily home practice is expected and required. Instruments and music folders left at school overnight, especially on weekends, will affect the six-week’s average (not to mention the effect it will have on the band as a whole)! Your goal as a musician is to add to the band’s sound, not detract from it. Practice to be perfect.




What evaluations do students receive in determining their band grade?


In determining your band grade, the following areas will be considered:

  • Performing progress on your instrument, including improvement and maintenance of music skills.
  • Attendance at rehearsals and performances.
  • Responsibility for individual musical part and equipment.
  • General musical knowledge and aptitude.
  • Play-off assignments and exams.
  • Attitude and effort.
  • Practice methods.
  • Specific requirements for each band as outlined in the “Description of Bands” section.

Contrary to popular belief, band is not an “easy A.” Grades are distributed according to the above criteria, are kept on record, and available to you at any time to keep track of your progress. The “A” student will:

  • Be on time and be prepared for rehearsals.
  • Have parts memorized and/or prepared as assigned.
  • Have all equipment (uniform, instrument, coordinate sheet, etc.) in order.
  • Meet or exceed director’s expectations in the areas outlined above.




Is transporation provided for band students?


School transportation is provided for all football games, festivals and competitions. Parents will be asked to complete the Medical Form during band registration which will suffice for travel permission throughout the school year.




What time do I pick up my child and where should I park?


TO PARENTS OF STUDENTS WHO DO NOT DRIVE: Please be on time to pick up your child from school. After away games, students are generally back at school between 10:30 and 11:00pm depending on how far we travel. After in town games, students may be picked up from school at approximately 10:00pm.

After school rehearsals: Students should be picked up in a timely manner. They will not be permitted to “hang out” after school hours. The school administration is cracking down on this problem for the safety of the students. For the most part, students who “hang out” are unsupervised and could either be put in a dangerous situation or be the cause of a dangerous situation.

ALL STUDENTS SHOULD BE PICKED UP BY 6:45 PM EVERY DAY AFTER MARCHING REHEARSAL. PARENTS SHOULD PARK IN A PARKING SPACE WHEN PICKING UP THEIR STUDENT. WAITING IN THE FIRE LANE IS AGAINST THE LAW AND CAUSES MAJOR TRAFFIC BACK UP.




What auditions are required for students?


Students are required to audition for all select performance ensembles. The band staff will determine audition requirements and will notify students of auditions well in advance. The band staff will serve as evaluators and will post results in a timely fashion. Students may be re-evaluated periodically for participation in select performance ensembles. A student who does not audition will not be placed in a performance ensemble and is subject to dismissal from the band program. All auditions are live and done individually.

Auditions for drum major, section leader, drum line, and color guard, will take place in May. RHHS band staff will evaluate the section leader, drum line and color guard auditions while outside judges will be used for the drum major auditions.




What type of fundraising does the band do?


The band hosts several types of fundraisers such as

  • Car Wash
  • Corporate Sponsorship Sales
  • Park Lane Jewelry Sales
  • Butter Braid Sales
  • Snap Raise
  • Spirit Wear
These events and/or products may change from year to year.




How does the corporate sponsorship program benefit my child?


Students will receive a 25% credit towards money owed to the band from donations after the $300 fundraising goal has been met and cost of advertisement for the company making the donation has been applied. Credits from donations can only be applied to money owed to the band and will not be available to the student as a cash payment. Once the $300 fundrising goal and band fees have been paid in full, donation credits can then be applied to the band trip.




How do I make a payment on Charms?


Charms accepts credit card payments through PayPal. Follow these instructions to make payments.

  1. Log into Charms. (Login: Parens/Students/Members, School Code: RockHeathHSB, enter charms student password which could be the student id number unless you have reset the password.
  2. Click the Finances Icon (red circle with dollar sign)
  3. Click either blue button "Pay Fixed Payments" or "Make Miscellaneous Payment" depending on charges being paid.
  4. Complete the Paypal fields shown. Note: a fee of approximately 3% will be applied to your payment. The fee will cover the transaction charged by Paypal to the band for processing the payment.
  5. Follow the prompts until payment is complete.




What is Charms?


We use the software called CHARMS as our database system to keep track of our students demographic information, class schedules, instruments/uniforms checked out, finacial statements, etc. We also access CHARMS to communicate by e-mail.




How do I login to Charms?


Follow these instructions:
Login: as Parent, Student, Member School Code: RockHeathHSB Enter Charms Student Password: Initally the password is the studetn's ID number, but you can change it as you please.





Competitions

What is the UIL Solo & Ensemble contest?


The UIL Solo and Ensemble contest is held in February at Rockwall-Heath High School. Students in the Wind Symphony and Symphonic band are required to participate, while students in Concert band are highly encouraged to participate. This contest gives students opportunities to showcase their ability through solos and/or in small ensembles. Assistance in selecting music, hiring an accompanist and rehearsing the music is provided by directors and private lesson instructors.




What is the UIL Marching Band Regional Level competition?


This contest has been sponsored by the UIL for over half a century and takes place in the 28 different designated regions in the state in October each year. Bands march shows of no less than 5 minutes and no more than 8 minutes to be given a rating by each of three independent judges: 1=superior; 2=excellent; 3=good; 4=fair; 5=poor. The judges cannot confer about their ratings and the FINAL rating is a consensus of the three NOT an average. For instance, a I, I, Vis a ONE. AV, V, I is a FIVE, etc. Theoretically, EVERY band can get a I=superior or a V= poor. The competition is NOT among the bands themselves but against a standard of excellence that has been established through the many decades of this competition. This contest was the primary competitive goal of Texas bands until 1979 when the State Marching Contest was founded. It is still the first of three parts of a "Sweepstakes" which includes Marching, Concert, and Sightreading.




What is the UIL Marching Band Area Level competition?


This contest is held every two years in the "even" numbered years. Its sole purpose is to choose the State Qualifiers from the regions within our area: 25, 24, 5, 7. One band per 5 entered will advance to State. The contest uses 5 judges: 3 music judges and 2 marching judges. Each judge ranks the bands from top to bottom and the total ranks are added for a "rank total." The lowest rank total is first place!




What is the UIL Marching Band State Level competition?


The contest has been held since 1979 to choose a State Champion in each class. It is now held every two years in even numbered years and has been moved to the Alamodome in San Antonio to prevent weather interruptions. The contest is similar to the Area Contest with five judges and the lowest total of "rank points" becomes first place.




What is the UIL Concert/Sight Reading contest?


This is the staple competition for UIL, occurring every year in the spring in all 24 regions of the state. Bands prepare a concert program of three pieces chosen from the Prescribed Music List and perform for a panel of three judges who rate the bands with one of five ratings, just as in regional marching competition. Again, the comparison is only with a standard of excellence, not with other bands in the contest. Theoretically, every band could earn a First Division or a Fifth Division! Immediately following the concert, bands move to another room to sightread a piece of music chosen to be read by all the bands within a class statewide! The music for sightreading is composed specifically for the contest and addresses certain fundamentals that are aligned with the curriculum for each classification. This is the musical equivalent of a statewide achievement test for Band.




What is the UIL Solo-Ensemble Contest?


The only "individual" competition that the UIL sponsors for instrumentalists is held in the winter, usually at the end of February each year. Students choose a solo and/or an ensemble from the Prescribed Music List for their instrument and begin work in November/December. Solos must be memorized so that students can earn advancement to the State level by making a First Division at the region level. Non-memorized solos cannot advance. Once again, judges are rating each performance compared to a statewide scale of excellence, not as a comparison of one student to another. Students earn medals for First Divisions as well as qualification to State.
The Texas State Solo-Ensemble Contest is held in Austin each year during the last weekend in May. Students who compete perform for judges with national and international experience, often major symphony performers and college educators. Students who earn a First Division receive a state gold medal and a few students are selected to be "Outstanding Performers" and receive State Champion medals for their work. Nearly 20,000 students participate in this two-day event.




Waht is the TMEA All-Region/Area/State competition?


The Texas Music Educators Association sponsors individual competitions every fall that culminate in the selection of the All-State Bands, Choirs, and Orchestras that perform at the annual convention in February.
The 24 Texas regions hold the first level of competition and the top students advance to the Area level held in January. In each of the seven Areas, a designated number of the top students are selected to All-State. At each level of competition, students perform for a panel of 5 judges in a blind audition where judges are screened from sight and do not know which students are performing. Just as in other head-to-head competitions in Texas, each judge ranks each student in comparison with each other and the lowest total of rank points is first chair! The All-Region Bands perform in a concert in the middle of January each year, but the Area Band is for qualification purposes only. The All-State groups rehearse for 3 days in February prior to their performances with internationally acclaimed conductors and educators!




What is the TMEA State Honor Band competition?


TMEA also sponsors competition every two years in the "odd" numbered years for concert bands to be named "State Honor Band." Bands across the state choose to record as many as five different performances of their concert programs and submit the best of these for consideration at the region, area, and state levels. At each level, a panel of five adjudicators hears the recorded performances without knowing the school identification. The judges rank the performances from top to bottom and the top 2 at each level advance to the next level. The performance with the lowest total rank points is first place at each level. Fourteen performances are heard at the final level to select the finalists and the State Honor Band in each class. The band that wins the competition is known as the "State Honor Band" and performs the following February in San Antonio for the Texas Music Educations Association. RHHS placed 6th in this competition in 2018. (meaning- we were the 6th best 6A band in the State of Texas!)




What competitions does the Jazz band participate in?


The Texas Music Educators Association sponsors a series of auditions to all eligible students in grades 9-12 for the purpose of selecting students for participation in region, area, and all state honor bands. A list of required audition music will be available from the directors or the local music store by the end of July. Any student interested should see the director as soon as possible. The preparation for Region Band auditions will greatly improve student musical ability and provide valuable experience for future auditions. The All-Region Jazz Auditions will be held in September. Students that earn a seat in the All-Region Jazz Band will rehearse and perform in November at one of the high schools in the region. Students that earn a seat in all state jazz band will rehearse and perform in February at the TMEA Convention held in San Antonio.





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