Excellence...Our Heritage, Our Commitment
The Union City High School Band has a long standing tradition of excellence in music education. One out of every four students at Union City High School is a member of the Golden Tornado Marching Band. The Union City Band has been named a Class Champion and Finalist at Bands of America Regional Championships in Atlanta, St. Louis, Murfreesboro and Indianapolis. The band has represented the great State of Tennessee at the Rose Bowl and Fiesta Bowl Parades and has performed concerts at the Battleship USS Missouri in Pearl Harbor, Hawaii. Union City has been recognized as one of America’s 100 Best Communities for Music Education and the Marching Band was a 2017 Sudler Shield Nominee.
What are The Boosters?
The Union City Band Boosters are a nonprofit organization whose purpose is to help promote instrumental music in the Union City school system and to help ensure that the Band Program maintains the highest possible degree of efficiency. Membership is open to any band member, alumni, parent, or other person interested in the progress and development of the Union City Band program.
What role does the Union City Boosters play in the UCHS band program?
The Union City Band Boosters assists the band in activities beneficial to the future of the band program. They lend moral support to the general instrumental music program in Union City, and provide for the band members those things over and above that which is provided by the school system. They provide awards and assist in the planning of various fund raising activities. Additionally, The Boosters serve as a means of communication between parents of performing members and other interested parties. There are many different ways the Boosters achieve these goals, through group and individual efforts. Many times this involves physical work, such as helping build props, move equipment, and carry out improvements on the band semi-trailer and other equipment. Sometimes it is intellectual activity – many great ideas that have improved the way the band program operates have come from the Boosters brainstorming sessions. And sometimes, the best thing the UC Boosters do is just being there and being available to support our students during band events.
What kind of things do the Union City Band Boosters do?
The Boosters have a wide array of responsibilities which include the following: Uniform Coordinator: fitting and issuing uniforms is the prime responsibility, along with overseeing the check in process after each game and assisting with uniform problems that come up during the season. Color Guard Mom: usually a parent of a member of the color guard who assists the Guard staff with equipment, water at performances, helping the guard members get ready for performance, washing uniforms, and other details particular to the fall guard. The Front Ensemble Pit Crew Coordinator: this group of energetic volunteers moves the sideline percussion equipment to and from performances and assists in setting up the instruments on the front sidelines for the actual performance. Truck Crew Coordinator: although the students are primarily responsible for the loading and unloading of equipment, it is important that some adults are around to watch and lend a hand when needed. In addition, the truck coordinator is responsible for locating driver(s) and ensuring that everything is scheduled and in order each time the marching band travels. Food Wagon and Concessions coordinator: this person coordinates providing water, soft drinks, hot chocolate, etc. for the band at performances.
How can I get involved?
The Union City Band Boosters have general meetings throughout the year. The Executive committee, which consists of band parents, also meets several times to prepare for the general meetings. The scheduled meeting dates are usually available on The Boosters section of unioncitybands.com. Attending meetings of TheUnion City Band Boosters is one of the best ways to get involved.
How is the best way to know about the UC BAND Boosters, fundraisers, and news about the band?
The Union City Band website is the best way to keep informed of current events, announcements, schedules, etc. Visit www.UnionCityBands.com
Can you tell me about the band classes at UCHS?
All students participate in marching band in the fall semester. This ends at the conclusion of football season (approximately 14 weeks). After marching season, The band divides into two groups for the concert season, the Symphonic and the Concert Bands. Both concert groups rehearse during seventh period and likely compete in the spring. The difference between the groups is the difficulty level of the music they perform. The division allows for more individualized instruction and keeps the students progressing at his or her own level. Jazz Band is also available to all members of the Union City Band..
Can I get all the classes I need and still be in band?
Union City’s seven-class schedule will allow you to be in band for four years in high school (including 9th grade) and get everything you need to graduate!
How much time does band take?
There is some extra time required for rehearsals and performances. However, if you compare it to other band programs or other types of school activities, you will be surprised at how little extra time is actually required. Marching season generally runs 13-14 weeks out of the 36-week school year. A few extra rehearsals are called during concert season. Many band members continue private lessons outside of school time, but this is optional, although highly recommended. Band does require some extra commitment, but as with anything worthwhile, the more you invest, the more you get out of the program. Remember that anything done well takes an investment of time.
How often does the band perform?
The Union City Band will typically perform at all football games and 6 competitions or other events. After marching season ends, concerts are presented during the second semester. Students have the opportunity to perform in honor bands such as All West, All-State, and Solo and Ensemble Festival.
How much time do parents invest in band?
This comes down to how much you have to invest, and how involved you want to be. We have many things you can do, from assisting with uniforms, meals, and equipment to chaperoning on trips for football games, contests, and overnight trips.
How do I help my child be successful in band?
First of all, be supportive – very few things can be as destructive to a child’s success in the program, and thereby jeopardize the success of the entire program, as a parent who does not support what a child is doing. Now that doesn’t mean you have necessarily be at every performance cheering the band on (although you may find following the band is addictive and will become a highlight of your week if you just try it), but by all means don’t take a negative approach to your child attending rehearsals and performances. Yes, having a child in band may mean making some sacrifices – just as it does if they are taking dance, or karate, or piano lessons, or tennis lessons, or riding lessons, or playing a sport, or just about anything else. But they won’t be children long, and the time they have to do these things that will enrich their lives will fast get away. Don’t become an enabler – if they want to miss a practice or (even worse!) a performance, make sure you don’t make it easy for them to bail out on the commitment they have made. Once we start, it gets easier and easier to let our responsibilities slide, and this is definitely not a road we want our children headed down.
What happens if my child misses a rehearsal?
When one person is missing during marching practice, the problem is amplified many times over. It is simply impossible to learn to march a show if there are "holes" instead of bodies on the practice field. Those students who are at practice can't figure out where to go because the people their drill relates to are missing and the people who are missing don't know where to go when they return. Everybody loses.
The purpose of concert band rehearsals is to learn everyone else’s part and to fit them together for a true ensemble experience. If your child is missing, we cannot fit all of the parts together. If your student MUST miss rehearsal or part of a rehearsal, you need to explain this to a director as soon as possible. This does not automatically excuse the student from the rehearsal. We will deal with these on an individual basis. Band is a participation related grade and if a student is absent they cannot be rewarded for participation that day. One reason we schedule rehearsals at 6 is to give you the opportunity to make, doctor and dental appointments, etc. after school. Most are closed after 5:30 and we rehearse at 6. Read the next topic and you will see why it is so important to be at every scheduled rehearsal!
What do you mean by "the show"?
The Competitive Marching Band Show is the performance the marching band spends hours and hours perfecting for marching competitions and halftime performances at football games. The contest show is around 7-9 minutes and consists of several different segments. Often there will be a concept or thematic thread that will run through the contest show that will be “played out” on the field as the show unfolds. Watching a Union City High School Band show is kind of like watching a three ring circus - there is more going on than you can possibly keep up with. At any given time, there may be flags, rifles, sabers and dancers, in addition to the horn line, drum line and front ensemble! Occasionally we will use "props" in our production, if the concept calls for it, but more often we try to make the show come to life with music and movement alone. The shows comes together a little at a time, week by week. During rehearsals at the beginning of the season the band learns several new "pages" or "sets" each day. Pages" are designed by the drill writer with a computer, which then prints out charts and a “coordinate sheet” for each band member. Band members are required to bring their charts and coordinate sheets to each rehearsal, in the notebook or on their smartphone program provided to them at the beginning of summer marching camp. The coordinates tell each student where they should be standing at certain points in the music and how many steps it will take them to get to that point from the last point. A "set" is made when band students form up as indicated on their "coordinate sheets". You can see now why it is SO important not to miss a marching practice! The show is made up of many chunks (different parts of the show). It is nothing short of awesome to watch our kids put it all together on the field. A typical Union City Marching Band show will consist of 100 to 120 "sets".
What do I need to know about contests?
The Union City Band Boosters and parents play a large role on competition days. There is so much to be done that there is no way the band performs successfully without tremendous support from The Boosters and parents. Making certain everything needed gets to the performance, everything set up, students fed at the right time, water made available before and after performances – these and many other tasks are accomplished by very supportive parents. Even if you are not on duty in those ways, a prime responsibility is to take your place in the audience. Our parents have a reputation for being some of the most supportive of any at a competition – not just of our own band, because that’s easy and natural, but also of the other bands performing. Every band works hard to achieve their level of excellence, and deserves to be cheered and applauded and to receive a standing ovation from everyone in the audience, because what marching bands do today is nothing short of miraculous. So the expectation is that our parents will give their support to every band that performs. Even though there are some parents from other schools that act as if their support for another band is disloyal to their own child’s band, that is not the stance we want our parents to take.
Please explain the terms, "horn line," "drum line," "front ensemble," and "guard."
Simply put, the "horn line" is all the students who perform on brass and woodwind instruments in the marching band – the flutes, clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, french horns, trombones, baritones (or euphoniums – used interchangeably) and sousaphones (the tuba player’s marching instrument).
The drum line is made up of the percussionists who march, carrying their instruments – snare drums, tenors (five drums - one person) and bass drums. The marching percussion are often referred to as "battery" percussion.
The "front ensemble," or "pit" is made up of the stationary percussion instruments and the students who play them. The front ensemble is a critical element of the band. These instruments form up on the sideline at the 50 yard line facing the audience. Although the pit members don't march, they move from instrument to instrument along the sideline.
The FrontEnsemble Pit Crew is made up of parents who volunteer to help move the pit instruments. group moves the equipment to the field and helps to position the vast array of instruments along the sideline. They watch the show from the track area and then help to quickly clear the instruments away after the show. We could not function as a band without the help of The Front Ensemble Pit Crew. You are more than welcome to join this awesome group of volunteers.
The "guard," or color guard, are the visual performance ensemble, using dance-type movement, rifles and flags to visually portray a vast array of emotional content contained in the musical elements .
How do I know when to pick my child up after an event?
The staff tries very hard to end rehearsals on schedule, or very nearly so. This is not an exact science, and sometimes it takes a few minutes extra to bring adequate closure to the rehearsal. At any rate, after rehearsal the students have to put away equipment and get their stuff ready to go home, so to make it easy on yourself, allow 5-10 minutes after the announced end of rehearsal before you would expect them to be ready to get in the car. You are also welcome to come a few minutes early to watch the band from across the street. Please turn off your engine as soon as you have parked.
How does the weather affect rehearsals and performances?
Rehearsals are never canceled due to inclement weather. We will not usually rehearse outdoors in the rain, unless it is just drizzle or intermittent light rain. In the event of steady rain, we will rehearse indoors and go out at the first opportunity. Students should dress for the weather, whether hot or cold. Not having the proper attire is not a satisfactory reason for having a poor rehearsal. Students should wear comfortable shoes (preferably low-topped tennis shoes but never Sandals) and socks for rehearsals. This is important in that the style of marching step we use requires that the foot and ankle be permitted to move freely. Caps and sun block are recommended. There will always be water at rehearsal, and in extreme cases of cold or heat the rehearsal format may be altered, but the rehearsals are never canceled.
Very rarely a marching competition will be canceled due to rain. If it is raining on a competition day, we will still load up and travel to the site unless we are notified that the competition has been canceled. We will then assess the weather and our chances of presenting a creditable performance after arrival. Students will not be asked to stand or sit for lengthy periods in the rain – if we can find no other shelter we will return to the buses. For home football games, a rainy Friday night can be a pain, but we generally wait in the band room to see how the rain is going to develop. If it is possible by half-time to go out and perform and remain for the rest of the game we will – if not, we will decide to dismiss when it becomes apparent that we will not be able to perform. In the very rare event that we get information that conclusively points to cancelling a performance far enough in advance, announcements will be put on unioncitybands.com, Facebook and twitter. Many instruments are very easily damaged by the elements and may result in thousands of dollars worth of damage to school owned and privately owned student instruments and equipment. While it is our goal to lead the school in a show of spirit and support for our fellow students we must be cautious with equipment.
What happens after marching season ends?
Some people think that everything is over at the end of marching season, but nothing could be further from the truth. Auditions for All-West and All-State are in January and February. Several of our students are usually selected to both of these groups and the Honor Band performances are in January with the All-State performance in February. In April, our students have the opportunity to perform at Solo and Ensemble Festival. Concerts are presented in, February and May and the Jazz Band performs 2-3 concerts during the spring semester. Color Guard performers return to one of the instrumental ensembles.
How much does it cost for my child to be in band?
There is a $TBA fee to participate in the marching band program in Union City. These minimal fees for Camp Instruction and other related fees. The year's Band Tee Shirt is included in this fee. Color Guard members may have extra fees for makeup, and warm-ups. The Union City Band Boosters also fundraise to provide funds for The Band. This money is used to supplement the school budget.
Why does the band need so much money?
Just like with any family, it takes a lot of money to keep The Union City Band "up and running." While the band receives money from the school system, there is still not enough to accommodate and provide for a band of this caliber. We feel it is our responsibility to offer the students at Union City the best opportunity to succeed at a Regional and National Level. We hire the best instructional staff available to us in order to assist our directors. This created more one on one instruction and provides for more individual and ensemble success. We travel to the most respected Contests and Festivals in our Region. This allows for quality input from nationally recognized educators to help us grow as performers, and educators. We often compete with the finest bands from Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, Texas, Oklahoma, Kansas, Georgia, Alabama, and Mississippi. That is why it is so important for students and parents to help with fundraising activities that benefit the band program. Though travel, instructors, and equipment are a huge portion of the budget we spend most of it on the intangibles which means it is directly invested in student development.
What's in it for me?
You’ll have the opportunity to spend quality time with your child and over 100 outstanding young performers. The chance to see our young people at their very best may be the number one thing parents get from their child’s involvement in band.