Do I have to be in Marching Band or can I just be in Concert Band?

The Granite City High School Band is a comprehensive band program.  Yes, all students enrolled in the GCHS Band Program will be required to participate in one of two Marching Bands during the Fall semester – either the Varsity Marching Band or the Junior Varsity Marching Band.

  • Junior Varsity Marching Band – This group performs at two concerts during the fall semester and at all home football games.  Any student that does not meet the competitive marching band audition requirements or rehearsal schedule due to a conflict with another school organization or sport may be placed in the Junior Varsity Marching Band.  The student must meet all financial obligations and agrees to attend all performances.
  • Varsity Marching Band – This group performs at all home football games, parades, concerts, and several marching band competitions.  A substantial amount of after school rehearsal time goes into the preparation of these performances.  The student must pass the audition requirements, meet all financial obligations, and agrees to attend summer rehearsals, GCHS Band Camp, and all after school rehearsals and performances.

What are the benefits of being in Marching Band?

Socially, for freshmen, you’ll already have over 100 new friends when you first hit the halls at GCHS! You have upperclassmen available to you for information, who won’t sell you an elevator pass, pool pass or any other non-existent item. You will have people who want to see you succeed and will look out for you.

Your four years in band will provide awesome leadership opportunities! You have an opportunity to grow in the community as well as the school by being seen at the many performances of the band. You entertain during games and performances, and lead your audience to a place of excitement. You may become a member of the band leadership team and help to lead the entire organization as we strive to succeed on the field and off.   Marching Band helps you to develop a greater sense of discipline in all areas of life.

Varsity Marching Band students have the opportunity to waive PE during the fall semester, giving them the chance to take other classes.  You earn credits towards your high school diploma.

Band does fantastic things for your college application process in terms of recommendations, personal contacts and showing your talent! You will gain the experience you need to participate in a college marching band. It also increases your desirability to colleges because they want to see that you are doing more than just coming to school and going home. Colleges are looking for students who can do something more than just go to class!

Band gives you tons of cardiovascular exercise, builds your posture and works to help you maintain it, and you get a great tan for free. The “chops” you gain during the fall marching season will aid your performances during concert season, at church, in community bands, or any other performance area you are a part of. You will perform more in the first nine weeks than in all of your middle school experience combined. That is why you practiced all these years, to perform!!

And last but certainly not least, the Marching Warriors Band maintains a “family” atmosphere with opportunities to make friendships and memories that last a lifetime.

Is the high school band just Marching Band?

No, in fact, the Marching Band is only a small portion of the total high school band experience.  The Marching Band season only lasts through October.

What other performing ensembles are there at the high school?

The total high school band program is centered around the concert music program and developing creative, artistic musicians.  Since its inception, the Granite City High School band program has quickly established a reputation for musical excellence through the training received in our three concert ensembles: the Wind Ensemble, the Concert Band, and the Symphonic Band.  Each of these ensembles meets for fifty minutes every day and performs 3-4 concerts each year.

With the concert bands at the core of the curriculum, students also have the opportunity to participate in a variety of extra-curricular ensembles offered through the department. These include a very active chamber music program, jazz band, jazz combo, two pep bands, musical pit orchestra, and concert percussion ensembles.  In addition, the Band Parents Association sponsors a private lesson program with an outstanding faculty of professional musicians.

Does the high school band conflict with academics?

No, research shows that it enhances academics!

  • Students with good rhythmic performance ability can more easily detect and differentiate between patterns in math, music, science, and the visual arts.
  • Music students demonstrate less test anxiety and performance anxiety than students who do not study music.
  • Students participating in band for two years average 61 points higher on the SAT Verbal and 42 points higher on the SAT Math.  And gains increase with each additional year!
  • Students who participate in All-District and All-State music ensembles consistently score over 200 points higher on the SAT than non-music students. This figure indicates that students can pursue excellence in music while also excelling academically.
  • A study of public schools found that greater music education opportunities led to fewer disciplinary infractions and higher attendance, graduation rates and test scores.
  • A university study indicates that a student who participates in at least one college music course is 4.5 times more likely to stay in college than the general student population.

GCHS Band students have been accepted to excellent universities: University of Illinois • Northwestern Illinois University • DePaul University • Belmont University • Southern Illinois University – Edwardsville and Carbondale • McKendree University • Eastern Illinois University • St. Louis University • Washington University • Webster University

Can students participate in other activities and band at the same time?

Band students are members in almost every club – Debate Club, Drama, Foreign Language, National Honor Society, Renaissance, Scholar Bowl, Speech Team, Spirit Club, Student Council, Varsity Club, Yearbook, and more!  Band students are also athletes in golf, football, softball, basketball, track, baseball, swimming, soccer, and volleyball.

What are some of the music opportunities outside of Granite City High School?

Many honors groups are available to Granite City High School Band members. Students in the GCHS Band are consistent members in the ILMEA District Concert and Jazz Bands, ILMEA All-State Bands, SIUE Bi-State Bands, EIU Honor Bands, and SIUC Heartland Honor Bands.

All Granite City High School Band Members are strongly encouraged to participate in IHSA Solo and Ensemble Competition. This participation may take the form of a solo performance, or as a member of a small chamber ensemble. 

What financial responsibility do I have once my student enrolls in band?

The amount of money that the band receives from the school district each year does not begin to cover the cost of operating our total band program.  Therefore, in order to be able to afford to run a band program with the national reputation for excellence that Granite City High School has achieved, the Band Parents Association supplements funds for enrichment.  In return, we ask that each student enrolled in band participates in several general budget fundraisers to cover the remaining cost of running the total band program.  All other student fundraiser earnings may be used on other band-related expenses.


What about fund-raising?

The GCHS Band program is funded through support from the school district and fund-raising projects organized by the GCHS Band Parents Association. Throughout the year there are many opportunities for both parents and students to raise money for the band program as a whole, and for their individual student accounts.

What is a student account?

Students may earn money by participating in a variety of Band Parents Association fund-raising projects.  The student accounts are updated weekly and posted in our band Charms website.  Student earnings can be used to pay for all band fees, uniforms expenses, and other instrument equipment needs.

What other expenses should I be prepared to pay while my child is in band?

All band students will be required to purchase the following band uniform parts:

Varsity Band: MW Jersey, t-shirt, and marching band shoes.

Junior Varsity Band: MW Jersey and t-shirt.

Wind Ensemble: Concert tuxedo or dress and black shoes.

Concert Band and Symphonic Band: Concert tuxedo shirt with bow tie, black pants, and black shoes.

In addition, students may order instrument accessories through their band accounts including reeds, valve oil, sticks, mallets, and other necessary equipment.  Meals on trips and before certain events, as well as miscellaneous other expenses will be incurred by your student while he/she is in band.

Every spring the band tours an exciting new destination.  While on tour, students will have the opportunity to perform at a wide variety of music festivals and competitions, visit the museums, concert halls, and amusement parks of our great country, and increase their awareness of the diversities of our culture. This trip will be planned to provide additional educational experiences and reward the students for their hard work and dedication.  The trip will be optional and not required for students to attend.  Expenses for these types of trips would be in addition to any other band fees.

The Band Parents Association provides support for extra-curricular activities like marching band, jazz band, percussion ensembles, a private lesson program, and spring band tips.  If your student chooses to participate in these opportunities, you accept responsibility for additional fees for those activities.  However, the Band Parents Association provides many services to parents and students such as payment schedules as well as a variety of fundraisers designed specifically to create opportunities for families to cover additional fees through their personal participation in these fundraisers.

What is the required concert attire for my student in band?

Wind Ensemble students are required to wear the appropriate concert attire, which consists of a full tuxedo for guys and a black concert dress for girls.   Students will be fitted during the first week of November.  The concert attire will be purchased through the Band Parents Association.

Concert Band and Symphonic Band students are required to wear the appropriate concert attire, which consists of a white wing-tipped tuxedo shirt and a black bow tie, belt, pants, socks and shoes.  Students will be responsible for purchasing their own black belt, pants, socks, and shoes.  Students will be fitted during the first week of November for the white tuxedo shirt and black bow tie, which will be purchased through the Band Parents Association.


MARCHING BAND QUESTIONS (includes Colorguard, Winds, and Percussion)


Is there a prerequisite for Marching Band?

All students enrolled in the GCHS Band Program (grade levels 9-12) will be required to participate in one of two Marching Bands in the Fall Semester and the appropriate sectional for their instrument.  Students must complete an audition prior to placement in the Varsity Marching Band.  Students are not required to complete an audition for participation in the Junior Varsity Marching Band.

What forms and fees do I need to turn in for my student to march?

All students must turn in the Marching Warriors Registration Form at the Marching Warriors Orientation in order to participate in marching band.  The Registration Form will be available in the band room at Coolidge Junior High School and Granite City High School.  You may also contact Mr. Roberds at wyatt.roberds@gcsd9.net to request a Registration Form.

Varsity Band Members will be required to pay a Band Camp Fee, Uniform Rental Fee, and purchase Merchandise Items (MW Jersey, t-shirt, gloves, shoes, and concert attire).  Failure to pay the required fees by the payment due dates listed on the Varsity Registration form will result in the possibility of the student being moved from the Varsity Band to the JV Band for the fall semester.   Several fundraisers will be made available to assist students in paying band fees.

Junior Varsity Band Members will be required to purchase a MW Jersey, t-shirt, and concert attire.  Failure to pay the required fees by the payment due dates listed on the Junior Varsity Registration form will result in the possibility of the student being removed from the band program for the fall semester.  Several fundraisers will be made available to assist students in paying band fees.

What is a Marching Band Alternate?

Marching Band Alternates are students that do not currently have a permanent “spot” in the Varsity Marching Band Show.  Students are not designated as “permanent alternates”.  Band members who are alternates may be worked into the competitive show as spots open up or as necessary to replace other students who are having a difficult time with the drill, have an injury prohibiting them from marching, or are having attendance problems.

Students may be designated as alternates for the following reasons:  not having the marching band show music memorized by the first day of band camp, not being able to perform the marching basics warm-up routine by the end of band camp, or any other situation deemed necessary by the band directors.

Marching Band Alternates are an integral part of the Marching Warriors Band program and are expected to attend all rehearsals and performances.  Alternates WILL perform at all home football games and local parades.

When are rehearsals for marching band?

The calendar for the marching season will be posted on our Charms website.  Please remember that work, doctor’s appointments, homework, etc. are not excused and these conflicts are to be avoided.  It is critical for your student to attend all rehearsals and events.  After school rehearsals are on Monday, Tuesday and Thursday, with football games on Friday nights.  There are also weekend events that the student must attend (i.e. competitions, mini-camps, , etc.).


What is Band Camp?

Band camp is the culmination of the creative process for the marching band show. Marching band camp is held on the campus of Granite City High School.  Students will learn how to march, play while marching, play in the outdoor environment, and the importance of team membership to create a musical experience.  Students will receive instruction from staff members in marching and playing in both individual and ensemble settings.  Many bonds are formed in the marching band camp.  Aside of marching and playing, ideals of trust, responsibility, teamwork, goal setting and achievement, and character are all components of the camp experience.

Is Band Camp mandatory if I plan on being in the marching band?

Unless previously discussed with the directors, yes, the marching band camp is mandatory. We will cover the equivalent of nearly six weeks of regular rehearsal hours in the two and a half weeks of camp.  The process of learning marching drill is dependent on the “dots” in the drill being filled.  Without every marcher in attendance at any given time, it becomes a hardship to those around him/her to successfully march their drill.  Likewise, promptness to all rehearsals is required, so we may all begin at the same time.  When the rehearsal time is posted, please plan to arrive 15-20 minutes prior to be ready to begin at the given time.  We also ask that unless already cleared in writing that all doctor appointments, unless an emergency, not be scheduled during band camp.  Attendance and promptness will be documented at each rehearsal per handbook policies.


What should I do if my student is sick?

If your student is ill on any given morning of band camp, it is imperative that we are contacted in the band office (618) 451-5808 x.2528.  Do not assume that we will know they are sick if they are not in attendance.  Upon returning, whether it is that particular day or another day of band camp, please send a written excuse for your child’s absence.  Any student present for the school day is expected to be present for any after-school rehearsals.


What should I wear to Band Camp?

T-shirts, shorts, and tennis shoes are the suggested attire for camp.  Please remember that attire must be school appropriate and school dress code rules are in effect.  Bare midriffs, cut-off T-shirts, bathing suit tops and T-shirts containing suggestive material or advertising/advocating drugs or alcohol will not be allowed.  You will be asked to return home to change.  Your feet are very crucial to your success as a marching member, therefore please wear athletic shoes that will be comfortable and allow you flexibility to move easily.  Flip-flops, swimming shoes, skater shoes, and sandals are not allowed for any marching rehearsal including band camp.  Students must wear shoes at all times while at camp.  Stepping on a sharp object could potentially take you out of the show for the season.  Please bring sunscreen, baseball caps, sunglasses and lots of water to drink.  You will spend approximately 4 hours per day, minimum, in the sun.  Be prepared and take care of yourself during these hours.


What is the daily schedule like during Band Camp?

Band camp begins each morning at 7:30am with all students on the band practice field.  We start each rehearsal with stretching, strength building, and a light jog around the field.  The rest of the moring is spent learning marching basics and setting the drill spots with the music.  The students eat lunch in the high school cafeteria from noon to 12:45pm.  We resume practice at 1:00pm indoors with sectionals and full band rehearsal ending at 4:00pm .  A detailed Band Camp itinerary will be provided.

Will my student be supervised by adults, other than the staff during camp?

The band directors and other staff members are on hand during all rehearsals to assist your student in all facets of the day.


What should my child eat during Band Camp?

Please see that your child eats a good breakfast each morning (preferably no dairy).  They will start the day running and will use lots of physical energy during the morning rehearsal block.  Many students who typically do not eat breakfast find this a difficult four hours and can become ill due to the lack of nutrition.  We strongly encourage your student to eat all meals well during camp and to avoid caffeine to help prevent dehydration.


What do I need to bring to camp each day?

You need to bring your well-maintained instrument.  Please have the instrument in good playing condition for band camp.  You will be spending a lot of time playing and poor conditions will not aid in your progress during the week.  Please have valve oil and extra reeds, as well.  If you will be using a school-owned instrument (percussion, sousaphone, marching baritone, etc.) you will be issued an instrument.  A form will be sent home with you for your parent’s signature outlining the responsibilities of using a school-owned instrument.

You will be issued a dot sheet with your individual drill.  It is required that you bring your dot sheet to every rehearsal and have it in a pocket or around your neck for quick referral.

Please plan to bring a water cooler full of ice water at the beginning of each rehearsal.  Fill it up before you come to school!  Everyone is expected to bring his or her own water.  Do not plan on sharing!  Water and sports drinks are recommended.  Caffeine should be avoided when participating in outdoor activities.  PREHYDRATION is a must!  Remember that 8 glasses of water a day is for “normal” exertion.  Students should increase water intake three days prior to band camp and should replace fluids every night during camp.

Your name should be clearly marked on your water cooler, and EVERYTHING else that you bring to camp.  Every year, we give away DOZENS of coolers, shirts, shorts, etc. because they are left in the band room and have no name on them.


What are Marching Fees and what do they cover?

The amount of money that the band receives from the school district each year does not begin to cover the cost of operating our marching band program. Therefore, fundraising and marching fees become the financial support for the marching band.  Marching fees cover the cost of individual and group instruction during band camp, marching show t-shirt, medical supplies, specialized instruction for colorguard, percussion, brass, woodwinds and drum majors during and after band camp, equipment transport to competitions, cost of prop construction and movement to locations, water at football games and at competitions, purchase of new uniforms, etc.

How much are Marching Fees?

All band members will pay a Marching Band Camp Fee and a Uniform Fee.  The Marching Band Camp Fee totals $125 for the year. The Uniform Fee totals $40 and helps to pay for uniform cleaning and maintenance throughout the year.  All fees will need to be paid in full by the first week of May in order for the student to participate in the Varsity Marching Band.  Students who have not paid all fees prior to the deadline will be moved to the Junior Varsity Band.


What other expenses will I incur in marching band?

Each student will need to purchase marching shoes, gloves, a performance t-shirt (to be worn under the uniform), and the MW Jersey.  These items are available through the Band Parents Association.  Colorguard members will need to purchase their fall guard uniform, guard shoes, gloves, a performance t-shirt, and the MW Jersey.  In addition, there will be expenses for some meals, etc.



What is the Colorguard’s role during Marching Band Season?

The Colorguard is most noticeably a part of the Band during Fall Marching Band Season, rehearsing as one with the Band to put together the show that is performed at competitions and football game halftimes. The Colorguard is a section, like Flutes or Percussion are sections, in order to make the whole that is the Band.

Do I audition to be in Colorguard?

Yes. Auditions are an opportunity for prospective new members to learn how to spin a flag and see if the Colorguard activity might be a good fit for them, as well as for the instructor to see if the student has the attitude and work ethic for Colorguard. No one who has ever been a member of the GCHS Colorguard has known how to spin a flag before they auditioned!  The Instructor will teach prospective members beginning flag technique. No previous dance experience is necessary, only helpful.


Do I have to be enrolled in band to be in Colorguard?

Yes. The Colorguard meets during the 7th hour Band Class. Students will receive credit, and will have the opportunity to receive a PE waiver for the fall semester. If, after auditions, a prosective member makes the team, the Band Director will help the member work with the Counselors to get enrolled in the class.

Can I still change my school schedule after Colorguard auditions?

Yes. The Band Director will help facilitate the schedule changes with the Counselors.


What is the time commitment involved with Colorguard?

In order to be great, the Colorguard puts in many hours of rehearsal outside of class. Rehearsal attendance is always mandatory for members, because Colorguard is a team activity, and the entire team must rehearse for the entire team to get better. Rehearsal, while rigorous, is fun, too – members are learning and improving with their friends on something that everyone enjoys doing. In the thick of the competitive seasons, a member should expect to be involved up to eight hours a week outside of class, not including performances.