Since When Did Marching Band Become A Contact Sport?

2013 August 6

Hard to believe but in my town here in South Carolina, Marching Band is Bigger than Football!

And the South is huge about football so you know that means something.

150 kids show up 4 weeks before school starts with clarinets, trumpets and piccolos in hand to first participate in ‘music camp’ for 2 weeks, 4 hours a day learning the new musical number for the upcoming year’s shows, competitions and… okay… football halftimes (if they HAVE to).


How cute right? Band Camp means they meet in the woods for musical bonding and marching games?

NO. This is more like boot camp! 9AM till 9PM—12 hours of intense marching drills, music practice and choreography out on a made-just-for-marching field.

Remember it’s AUGUST. And it’s hot here in the South! 90+ degree days and humidity is 80 percent or more. A hot lunch and dinner are served to the kids by volunteer parents each of the 8-10 days of Band (or should I say Boot?) Camp.

The list of items we were instructed to have the kids bring:

  • 1 Gallon Container of Water – not flavored, not sweetened or not nuthin’… just WATER!
  • 1 Package of Poker Chips (huh?)
  • Multiple changes of clothes, including sweatshirts and pants!?
  • Extra pair of walking shoes.


12 hours of Marching? This IS a contact sport! I was relieved to find out the kids march for 3 hours in the morning then break for lunch indoors and music practice. Later they head back out for 3 more hours of marching after dinner.

The poker chips are to help the kids map out their steps and memorize the choreography. And when they head indoors for lunch after hours in the heat and humidity they freeze indoors and need to change out of their sweaty clothes into warm clothing to be comfortable!

What is all this for?

The band travels to competitions locally and several further away. They will compete in a total of 5 competitions before November. Recently this High School was invited to participate in the Macy’s Day Parade (ARE YOU KIDDING ME!?). And. Yes, they march during football games… but clearly that is not the main focus for this band.

Anything special planned this year?

Oh.. they’ll be traveling to Hawaii in the spring for a Pearl Harbor Memorial celebration.
No big deal. Yeah RIGHT. Freaking AMAZING!!!

Let the fundraising commence!


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