Marching Season is the competitive part of our year. The Band and Guard are equivalent to one huge sports team and it is essential to understand that we need everyone at every performance to be competitive since we compete against the finest bands in Southern California.
Band and Guard competitions are a lot of fun and exciting to participate in as well as being a spectator at the events. These competitions promote good sportsmanship and are a great learning tool to help us become better musicians and performers.
During August and September, the band members memorize and perfect their show music and learn their field show drill. The Color Guard Team learns their drill and choreography. Once all the hard work is put into the show, the Marching Sundevils are ready to start competing at tournaments. Everything the Band and Color Guard work for during marching season culminates at the Saturday tournaments during marching season. Tournament season begins the first week of October and goes through the first Saturday of the Thanksgiving break in November. This means all band and guard members need to keep all the Saturdays in October through the first Saturday of Thanksgiving break open for our competitions. Most of our field tournaments will occur on Saturday evenings from approximately 5:00 PM to 9:30 PM.
Mt. Carmel also will compete with the auditioned “Competitive Parade Band” in three to four parades during some of these Saturdays. Every student is given the opportunity to make our elite competitive parade band through an audition in the first week of October. Students need to be able to play the year’s chosen march by memory at a proficient level and be able to march in step while playing. See the schedule for details. Not every student will be in the competitive parade band and will therefore only perform with the field band.
Because marching season falls under the umbrella of the performing arts curriculum and P. E., the performance is equivalent to a major test in any other high school course and is part of the Marching PE grade for all band and guard members. When a member misses a performance, it will affect everyone in the Marching Sundevils as our competitive score will be lower if members are missing during a performance. If a student does miss a tournament or performance, he/she will lose a letter grade on their report card as there is no way to recreate a performance for that single individual to be given performance credit. Only in very special circumstances can a student obtain an “excused” absence for a missed performance. The absence needs to be cleared through the Band Director, Mr. Fierro as soon as an issue is known and needs to be addressed well in advance of the performance date.
At the beginning of every competitive week, the Director will have a “weekly schedule” that will be passed out to every student and posted on this website with all “call times” (this means what time you need to report) for every performance that particular week. Please make sure your student has been fed a nutritious meal and are well hydrated before they arrive at a tournament so they have plenty of energy to put on a great performance.
When the student arrives at call time for a performance, they will look for our semi-trailer in the school’s parking lot and look for their section leader. The student will need their instrument and have the proper undergarments and marching shoes that will be worn with their uniform or costume (see “Uniform care and rules” on this site). The student should also bring regular street clothes to change into after the performance.
Students will first stretch, then change into uniform/costume and then begin instrument/equipment warm-up with their section. About 30 minutes before the performance, the band will tune and do a final warm-up with the Director and then go to the staging area at the stadium and wait for:
“Mt. Carmel, the Judges are ready!”
After the performance, the students will go back to our semi-trailer, change out of uniform and return to the stadium for the awards ceremony. Tournaments and parades are judged by a panel of respected music educators and give scores to bands and guards in each division which is regulated by the size of the group. Awards generally given are 1st place through 4th place groups for Band and Color Guard with the top scoring group receiving the coveted “Sweepstakes” award. The Bands and Guards are judged in the areas of Music Effect, Visual Effect, and then a separate Guard category.
Most of our tournaments are local in the San Diego area and parents will need to deliver their students to the events. Usually, there will be two or three events that we will take buses to the parade or tournament. We also encourage our parents to buy an entry ticket to the tournaments and enjoy a great evening of entertainment by all the area’s band students as well as cheering on our own Marching Sundevils. An Awards ceremony happens at the end of the tournament and then you may collect your student and go home. Band Tournaments are very exciting and we hope all parents become Marching Sundevils fans and go to all the performances!