What to Expect on Contest Days

Contests usually begin with a preliminary performance by each band. After prelims, an exhibition band will perform, followed by a presentation of awards. (This is when we find out if our band made it to the finals.) There will be a small break, and the finalist’s band directors will meet to find out what time we play in the finals. The finalists will perform again in the evening. After that we sit in the stands anxiously awaiting the results. There is a final presentation of awards. In the event that the band does not make finals, we sometimes stay to watch the finals.

Arrive Early

No one is allowed to enter the stands during a performance so don’t be surprised to see stadium staff at each entry to stop spectators. (I’m talking about entry into the stands, not the stadium) You will have to wait until the band is finished playing before stadium staff will let you in. Quickly find your seat before the next band begins their performance. This may seem silly but it is disruptive to the judges, the audience and the band. We want to be respectful and courteous to all involved. We want them both to be able to focus on their jobs without distraction from us. Please note that parking is usually a hassle so allow time for that.

Show Support

Wear your school colors and sit together in the stands. In the past, the kids have commented on how great it is to look into the stands and see the big splash of red, cheering them on. VRHS Band knows we are there to support and encourage them and we are a proud bunch! If you are there early, claim your spot and when you see familiar faces or shirts entering the stands, wave them down. The prime spot is on the 50 and up high! This is a wonderful time to enjoy the camaraderie of the band family.

Know When to Make Noise

Cheer like mad when the band enters and exits the field. This really pumps them up and makes a statement to the judges. Bring signs, wave banners, whistle, scream, and clap. The more cheering, the better!

Know When to Cheer/Applaud

When a really cool formation takes shape, whenever you see the horns tilt up to the press box for an impact statement and you hear that really big sound, when the soloists or ensemble complete their piece, whenever a featured section (i.e., drum line) knocks your socks off with their playing, when the Starline Dance Company creates a visually stunning special effect, and when you get goose bumps because the sound is so awesome.

Know When Not To

During the performance do not use any Noisemakers or Whistle as that might interfere with the judge’s ability to hear the music and it will distract the performers.


Remember that as parents we are also representing our band and are an example to our children. Certainly applaud for other bands; especially Leander, Rouse, Cedar Park and Vandergrift when they look and sound great, but save some for when our band is on the field! Please have some common courtesy for others by turning off cell phones or putting them on vibrate and wait the few minutes it takes for the program to end to return that call. Keep talking down to a whisper during the performance and do not enter/exit the stands, change seats, etc. Please refrain from talking negatively about another band’s performance. You never know when a family member of that group may be sitting near you and hear your conversation. We want everyone to represent our school with class and professionalism.

Professional Pictures

Jolesch Photography will be taking group pictures after some performances and sometimes manages to get some great sectional & actions shots on the field. You may place an order at the event, mail payment or pay online at www.jolesch.com. Participants that order the photo at the contest and do not forward payment within 21 days will receive them on a C.O.D. basis. Personal photography cameras are allowed.


There are plenty of opportunities here. T- Shirts, videos, patches, jewelry, etc. There is usually an “event” t-shirt which lists the performing bands on the back and an event patch. You can also order these on line. Almost everything on sale at one contest will also be on sale at another one so don’t feel pressured to buy.


You can buy separate tickets to the prelims and finals or you can by a day pass which will get you in to both. Please note that the stadium is completely cleared between prelim and finals. If you are going to both, it is probably better to purchase the day pass.

Student Contest Schedule

The directors will usually send a schedule home with the students by Tuesday or Wednesday. It will include report time, rehearsal time, departure, lunch, and other pertinent information.

Charter Buses

Buses are generally icy cold so send your student prepared with a jacket or small blanket. (Blanket sharing is not allowed). Send snacks for the return trip, but know that buses are generally full so any cooler must be able to slip under the seat. Sharing coolers is a good idea. Students can bring movies to watch on the bus but only G or PG is allowed. This is a district policy; remember some of our students are barely 14. Personal music players are allowed but they are the students’ responsibility.

Medical Needs

The med bag is stocked with only the basics. Send any specialty drugs in their original bottle clearly labeled and the band staff and the “nurse” will keep it and administer as instructed.

Parking Lot Protocol

Upon request of the Band Directors, do not try and track down your student in the parking lot or warm up area BEFORE the competition. They start preparing for the contest before they step off the bus and they are on a strict time schedule. If you are worried because they haven’t been feeling well, rest assured that there is a designated chaperone with the med bag that follows the band around to address needs. Every contest has also EMS on the premises.

After the performance, you can try to track them down to congratulate them on a great show before they board the buses. However, be aware that ONLY BAND MEMBERS AND STAFF may board buses. This is a security issue. Students leave all of their belongings on the bus and the staff takes every precaution to safeguard them. Also, the buses are very crowded as it is and some of the students are trying to rest. If you need to speak with your student, ask a chaperone or another student and they will gladly get him/her for you. Parents, siblings, relatives and friends are asked not to board buses at any time.

Checking Your Student Out

If you need to check your student off the bus after the contest, you must send a written request to their band director prior to the contest day. It is rare, but the situation may not allow for individuals to depart early. The band directors are very gracious in trying to grant these requests, but occasionally it is just not possible. It also makes it more difficult for chaperones and directors to be accountable for the many students involved in that trip/contest. It is appreciated if all can depart and return together. When permission to depart early is granted, the written request you sent will be placed in the bus folder so the chaperone of that bus will know ahead of time. You will have to track down the bus in the parking lot (follow the band out of the stadium) and check them out with the chaperone by showing proper I.D.

Ineligible Students

UIL Rules state students who are ineligible to participate because of failing grades may not associate with the band in any way before, during or after the contest. (This is also true for games.) Failure to abide by this rule could bring on sanctions by U.I.L for the entire school.

Additional BOA Contest information:
No Video or Audio Recordings

BOA (Bands of America) has specifically asked us to inform you that there is absolutely no video or audio recordings allowed in the stadium. No personal recording devices will be allowed into the stadium. Any such recording will be confiscated. There will be a professional video production company which makes and sells tapes of the performance. They are expensive. (Personally, I would pick up the order form at their booth and decide later if you want to order. On the order form it has the address and number and probably the website). However, video and audio recordings are allowed at U.I.L. Marching Contests.