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Marching Band

Band Camp 2017

Registration for Marching Band and Color Guard begins at 11am Monday, July 31st at the SVHS Music Room. 

Band Camp begins at 11am outside the music room at Simi Valley High School.  Bring your paperwork including mandatory physical/medical form signed by your doctor. If you have any further questions, please contact Mr. Pracher at  Band Camp is 12PM-9PM (to facilitate summer school during the morning hours).


Things to bring or wear:

  • Sturdy Walking or Running Shoes
  • Shorts and breathable, light colored Shirts. NO JEANS
  • Hat, Sunglasses, Sunscreen
  • Healthy Lunch
  • 1 liter or larger insulated Water Jug
  • Camelbak
  • 3 Ring Binder and Sheet Protectors for storing music
  • Pencil
  • Towel (large enough to protect your instrument when instrument is placed on ground)
  • You may bring your own Metronone/Tuner
  • Instrument and needed accessories: reeds, valve oil, sticks, mallets, etc.


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What happens at Band Camp?

During the two weeks of August prior to the start of the school year, the entire Corps meets for band camp. This is where they begin to learn the drill for the year’s field show. They work on marching routines and music for the field show/band reviews for the new marching season. Expect HARD work and HEAT - they should eat breakfast before arriving and bring plenty of healthy snacks and liquids (water AND electrolyte drinks such as Gatorade or Powerade are fine), along with lunch. Your student will come home with an appetite and will be tired - make sure they get their rest! Comfortable shoes are needed for plenty of walking and marching, sometimes in wet grass and mud.

What is the Student Leadership?

These are students who audition to become more involved within the instrumental music/color guard program. The Student Leadership is responsible for directing activities and maintaining general order, maintaining our equipment and facilities, and to keep all members informed of upcoming events, etc.  The auditions for leadership occur in the spring of every year and are open to any member of the ensemble. 

What is the Marching Band “Corps?”

The entire Corps is comprised of several different performance and instrumental sections.  These include the battery, pit, colorguard, and winds.  During the fall semester, some of these units meet for class at different times, including during 7th period and during the evenings, to practice as individual sections.

What is drill?

The drill contains the diagrams that detail the marching band’s field show routine (all the movement you will see on the field). A field show is made up of up to 100 drill charts that show the movement of the Corps members throughout the performance.  I write the drill on a software program called Pyware that allows me to create a 3D video of the drill once it has been completed.  It gives a great preview of what the show will eventually look like. 

What is a field show?

A field show is similar to what you see at halftime at a football game. It is a performance by the Corps that must fit into a 15-minute time slot, including marching on and off the field. The Corps is judged and scored by a group of judges reviewing and critiquing the quality of their performance. Our field show is written and arranged by our staff. We design the music, drill, choreography, pacing, and staging. For field show competitions, each high school corps is ranked in a "Class" based on their overall size, type and ability.  We compete in the SCSBOA 1A division.   In each Class, each Corps is reviewed for the quality of the music played, marching ability and the overall effect of the performance. Following the competition, numerous awards are presented to the top scoring Corps performing in each Class of the competition. Awards are usually given in each class for 1st, 2nd, and 3rd placement in the scoring, and for individual Corps high scores in areas such as music performance, marching, and general effect. The Simi Valley High School Marching Band annually hosts one of the SCSBOA field tournaments in southern California each October, the SVHS Band Spectacular. (Where everyone's help is needed!!!) 

What is Marching Season?

Marching season occurs during the fall semester, from August through November. The band will attend between four and six events (usually on Saturdays) during this period. In addition, the band performs at Varsity home football games, and at other events as requested. 

What is a day at an event like?

Expect event days to begin very early and end late. The day begins with arrival at the band room. Parent volunteers and students pack the equipment trucks with the equipment and instruments needed for the field show, the students are “packed” onto buses, and off they go. Booster volunteers go on the bus, as well as the instructors, to provide adult supervision. Other Boosters drive the equipment trucks, pull trailers, and drive themselves to the events. At the event the students begin to prepare to perform. They stretch and exercise, eat lunch, get into uniform, and begin warming up musically. Just before the performance, the Corps, with help from the Parent Volunteers prepare for entering the field for their performance. This is a stressful time, but everyone works together to make it happen quickly and smoothly, and the Corps steps off at the required moment to start their performance. The Corps and Parent Volunteers bring the equipment off the field at the end of the performance, and march back to the parking area. There is usually free time up to the Awards ceremony, snack and/or dinner made available while the equipment is packed, and the Corps takes its designated seats for Awards.  Following the Awards presentation, a last check to made to insure that all equipment is packed, everyone is loaded back onto buses, and everyone heads back to SVHS to end the day.

"A friend and I who have eight children between us who have all gone through high school have a theory about extracurricular activities.

The theory is this: The best extracurricular activity at many high schools is band, particularly marching band.

The reasons have little or nothing to do with music, and everything to do with the unique characteristics of high school band and its ability to promote positive social relationships.
Here’s what makes band unique:

  • Counting summer band practice, it’s often the only school activity that’s year-’round. So, unlike sports teams or the theater cast or the forensic team that’s close-knit for the several months the members are together but not so much for the rest of the year, band members are together all year, which tends to create close friendships.
  • The fact that band is a class as well as an extracurricular offers two advantages. One is that band students get a teacher that they’ll have for all four years, which can be a real asset in terms of having a school adult who gets to know them particularly well. The other advantage is that, since their class schedule is built around band, band students tend to have other classes and their lunch period together, helping to reinforce band friendships.
  • At the risk of making a broad generalization, band kids tend to be the kind of high-achieving, relatively well-behaved students whom a parent would want for his or her child’s social group. And peer relationships are a huge factor in whether a teen’s high school years are productive or a train wreck.
  • Band is unusual in that it groups all four grades together. Unlike sports, band doesn’t divide students into freshman, junior varsity and varsity teams. That makes for a more united group as kids move through their four years of high school and gives more opportunities for older kids to mentor young kids. Incoming ninth-graders who participate in summer band practice or camp before entering high school have junior and seniors greeting them in the hallways even during the first week of school.
  • Marching band is an excellent vehicle for teaching a host of skills such as discipline, teamwork and the importance of following directions. There’s nothing like being the person who messes up a formation in a marching-band competition or hits a sour note during a concert to drive home the point that every individual’s contribution counts, for better or worse. True, band is not unique in this respect, but I would argue that it drives those skills home exceptionally well. Band also is an activity where practice really does make perfect. It teaches teens that simply relying on raw talent doesn’t cut it.
  • Band directors, particularly of marching bands, like big numbers and typically work to accommodate every student. For teens who think they’re not good at anything, band can be an activity where their contribution is valued and they can feel part of something big and important. It’s also an area where struggling students can shine. Until he graduated, one of the best percussionists in my daughter’s band was a boy who was developmentally disabled.
  • Many other school activities don’t pay off until junior or senior year. With band, even if teens want to move on in the upper grades, they’ve already received the benefits.
  • I fully realize the benefits of other activities. I’ve had kids in everything from mock trial to track and cross country to school musicals to the Art Honor Society, and they’ve all been wonderfully enriching experiences.


But if I had an eighth-grader who was worried about making friends and nervous about high school, I’d be encouraging that child to give marching band a hard look. If the child doesn’t play an instrument now, the band director likely will find a spot somewhere for that child.


Experts say that the key to high school success is rigor, relevance and relationships. Band hits on all three: It offers the rigor of learning to play music while marching in complex formations; the relevance of the discipline and team skills that benefit teens long after high school, and relationships that can  develop and deepen over all four years of high school.

As for the music? That’s the icing on the cake."

This column was written by Julie Mack for the MLive/Kalamazoo Gazette. Contact her at or 269-350-0277, or follow her on Twitter at Click here for more columns by Julie Mack.

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