Union City High School Band Student Handbook


This handbook describes the Union City High School Band Program and its policies, rules, and regulations.

Band members are required to follow the policies, rules and regulations of the Union City Schools and the Band Program. School rules and policies are in force at all times that a member is directly or indirectly involved in any activity sponsored by or in the name of Union City High School. School policy shall have priority over band policy in the event of any policy conflict.

The band directors shall have authority to suspend or amend any band policy at any time deemed necessary in the best interest of the overall band program.

The Union City Bands form an integral part of school life and are recognized as an all-school activity. Band is the largest and most active voluntary student organizations and its members form an active group.

The primary objectives of the band program are:

  • Cultural - To foster the continued development of music appreciation and understanding through the study and performance of the best in music.
  • Educational -To develop interested and discriminating listeners, provide a well-rounded musical education and prepare members for musical activities beyond high school.
  • Service -To lend color and atmosphere to certain school and community affairs while promoting and enhancing the dignity and reputation of Union City High School at all appearances.
  • Citizenship -To develop the ability to function as a responsible member of the group, to enhance the member’s ability to interact with others in a positive manner, and to develop the ability to function as a responsible member of the community.
  • Recreational - To provide all members with the opportunity for worthy use of leisure time, an emotional outlet, and good social experiences.

Band Program Offerings

Because the marching band performs so often in public, concert season seems “forgotten”. This is far from being true. Concert season is the time when the majority of musical training takes place. Each band member will be placed in one of two ensembles during band class  based on the number of members applying and the applicant’s playing ability. Tryouts are held in late fall. Two concerts are presented at the High School and are open to the public. These are wonderful, well-attended concerts and you will hear challenging music. This is a great time to invite the grandparents, aunts and uncles and let them hear “what else the Union City Bands can do”.

The West Tennessee School Band and Orchestra Associations Concert Festival is held in March. The concert bands travel to local high schools where they perform and are critiqued and scored by judges. Each band performs their concert music followed by the sight-reading portion of the contest. The band is given music they (or the directors) have never seen or heard and have approximately 8 – 10 minutes to talk their way through the piece. They then receive a “one-time-shot” at their performance. Many do not understand that WTSBOA concert festival is open to the public. Even though performance times are sometimes inconvenient, parents are encouraged to come hear and applaud the bands.

This Festival is usually sponsored by the WTSBOA. These contests give the band member and director a good idea of how each member is progressing musically. Solo and Ensemble festival is usually held in February. Students will be given plenty of time to prepare a solo or ensemble performance. All band members are strongly encouraged to participate.

Individual band members are strongly encouraged to tryout for these bands. Pre-selected tryout music is available to all students during the fall. The band tryouts are held in early November with Concerts in April.  Band members who become All-State musicians are highly praised and honored. These students assemble in April to perform at the Tennessee  Music Educators Association convention. The bands and orchestras made up of these wonderful musicians represent the top high school band members in the state of Tennessee. Advancing to All-State is the highest individual honor a high school musician can achieve.

Private lessons give the student a chance to progress at an accelerated rate towards the mastery of his/her instrument. The private instructor is able to work with the student on an individual level, gearing the lessons to fit the specific needs of the performer. The student is able to hear the improvement in playing almost immediately, unlike the full band setting where players can “hide” or cover their areas of inexperience by allowing stronger players to carry the weight of the section.  The cost per lesson varies with the instructor, as does the location. Some teach at home, others at area music stores, and some at our neighboring universities. Depending on availability, private lessons can be scheduled during the school day during band class. It is well worth the time and effort of scheduling lessons if the student can achieve higher ranking in his musical ensembles.Please contact one of our directors to help you find a private instructor.

The Spring semester is a very busy times for all band members. Tryouts, drum majors, marching band, color guard and drum line are all held during this time. Selection of the leadership team also takes place. Your band member will be able to get information from the directors if they choose to tryout for any of these positions.

The Union City Jazz Band is a volunteer ensemble who performs for the joy of performing. Admission to this group is offered to all UCHS Band Students. The jazz band performs at various events.​

The Union City High School  Marching Band is a highly competitive marching band. It explores the latest trends in competitive marching band. The UCHS Marching Band is an extra- curricular activity for members at Union City High School. The UCHS marching band provides an outlet for members interested in the realm of state-of-the-art design, performance, social, and competitive opportunities.

Membership is voluntary into this extra-curricular ensemble; however, an audition is required. The Color Guard and Percussion sections require a specialized audition and is considered a select ensemble of the Union City High School Marching Band. Potential members that audition will be granted membership based on their performance ability – both musically and visually. Students who do not achieve performer status with the marching band may be offered other opportunities within the marching band program. We will always have a place for determined young people who are willing to make a positive contribution.


The UCHS Band Horn line is selected following the musical and visual audition that takes place in conjunction with the May Audition Camp.

The UCHS Band Color Guard is a part of the Union City High School Marching Band. The Color Guard is a non-musical section that provides additional visual aspects to the performance. The color guard interprets the music that the winds and percussion are playing via the synchronized spinning of flags, sabers, mock rifles, or other pieces of equipment and through choreographed dance.

Guard Membership
Color Guard membership is limited to ladies who will be in grades 9 – 12 at the time of their Color Guard participation. Students must first pass the playing portion of the marching band audition and receive a recommendation from Mr. Deem.

Audition is required to obtain Color Guard membership during each year of participation

The percussion section of the UCHS Marching Band consists among the following: Field Battery Instruments (Snare, Tenor Drum and Bass Drums) and the Front Ensemble (Grounded Percussion Instruments, Mallet Percussion, Timpani, Electronics, etc.). The percussion section is selected based on performance at the May Audition Camp as well as the musical audition. 

The specific instrumentation and instruments used in the percussion section will vary from year to year based on the demands of the overall show design.

Members are eligible to audition for Drum Major after completion of a full season in the Union City High School Marching Band. Drum Majors audition in areas that demonstrate their skills in leadership, conducting, maturity, musicianship and marching ability. A clinic is held in May to prepare the interested students, followed by an audition.

Since the UCHS Marching Band is an extra-curricular activity, its rehearsal schedule falls almost entirely outside of the typical school day. Rehearsals are as follows, but not limited to:
-  Audition Camp: 3 days after school during the month of May.
-  Band Camp: Begins approx. 2 weeks before the first day of school for 10 hours per rehearsal day.
-  School Day Rehearsals: See the Rehearsal calendar for your section for specific dates and times.
-  Sectional Rehearsal: An additional rehearsal per week devoted to just the members particular section (i.e. Percussion,  Guard, Hornline, etc.).
-  Extra Rehearsals: Typically every other Saturday  in the month of September.This will be a Mini-Camp on Schedule
-  A Detailed calendar with all rehearsal dates and times will be provided to each student that gains membership into the Union City Marching Band as well as posted on the internet at www.UnionCityBands.com

Although the main purpose of May Camp is to introduce incoming prospective members to marching techniques, the full band is required to attend. The older members are a tremendous help with the teaching process while building camaraderie with the new band members. The camp is traditionally held in the middle to end of May during the evening hours. If you anticipate any problems with attendance, please contact one of the directors.

The end of July and August is the beginning of our busy marching season. Attendance at this camp is mandatory so plan vacations accordingly. Speak to the directors with any concerns. The summer band camp will consist of the most concentrated rehearsal time for the entire season. During this time, we build fundamental skills and teach a large amount of the competitive marching show. As you can imagine, this puts important emphasis on this camp. The dates and times vary, but get ready for 8 to 10-hour days. Comfortable tennis shoes, light colored clothes, and a cap are the best type of attire. It also will be helpful to have a small water jug, sunscreen, and sunglasses. Have your band member check with their section leaders for other good advice.

Some of the things happening at this camp include:
Final Marching tryouts
Learning show music
Learning drill
Uniform distribution
Learning “stand tunes” (music for football games and pep rallies)
Collection of camp fees and instrument fees
Purchasing of any accessories that may apply to your specific section
Lots & lots of bonding between old and new band members.

The UCHS marching band performs at halftime of all varsity football games  (travel schedule permitting). The Pride also performs at all competitive contests and festivals; approx. five contests per season. The format of most contests is a prelim / finals format contest. The Union City Band also performs various community support appearances based on need and accessibility.

Fridays in the fall semester become pretty fast paced for the UCHS Marching Band. The members will have a rehearsal after school is dismissed, then the band will be dismissed for dinner etc. Following the dinner break, the members will have time to change into uniform and make necessary adjustments prior to the designated report time in the Band Room. Warm-ups and inspections will take place prior to marching to ‘War Memorial Stadium’ for home games or before loading the buses for an ‘away’ game.

The buses leave the stadium as soon as possible after each game. If you need to pick up your non-driving band member, you can wait street side in the band house area.  Please keep both sides of the street clear in front of the BandHouse.  This area allows our Equipment Trucks and Buses to park safely.

An unauthorized absence will result in a reduction of one letter grade for the semester.


Bands of America--BOA--is a premiere national organization for high school music students. Based in Indiana, BOA hosts many excellent contests and symposiums. BOA is probably best known for marching contests held each fall. There are many regional contests held around the US. St. Louis and Indianapolis are familiar destinations for UCHS for these BOA Regionals. Each year the directors choose locations to fit our busy fall schedule. You will know in advance so that you can plan accordingly. Some parents choose to follow the buses to these contests, while some parents make reservations and stay at a nearby hotel.

Charter buses may be taken with each student paying a trip fee that covers such things as: transportation, meals, lodging, entertainment, and contest registration. Each year the schedule varies due to performance times. There is a preliminary performance and, hopefully, inclusion in the finals. There’s plenty of time to purchase T-shirts, patches, videos, etc. We usually get home very late but it’s well worth the opportunity to see other high- caliber bands. These contests require lots of parental involvement. The BOA web site, www.musicforall.org , is full of information and will keep you logging on all year. You will be able to keep up-to-date on scores, news, etc. Bands compete by School size in preliminary performance at BOA Events yet classes are intermixed and un-announced. Union City is a Class A Band which is for schools of less than 600 students in grades 10-12. UCHS is often the smallest school represented at a BOA Regional yet we have had tremendous success.

The COC operates much like a Bands of America Regional. Bands perform in a preliminary competition, and the 8 highest scoring bands will perform in the Finals competition that night. At the conclusion of the Finals competition, scores and placements are announced for each band as well as the awarding of the Governor's Cups for the highest scoring Tennessee and Kentucky Bands. Preliminary competition at COC is scheduled by class, which is at this event by band size.  Although we are actually a Class A Band, we choose to enter Class AAA at this event, which is the largest class. We believe this gives our performers a better timeline and ultimately a better performance opportunity for this particular stadium and contest.

The Union City Invitational is a marching band contest hosted by the Union City Band Program and it’s Band Parent Organization. The contest is patterned in the style of a Bands of America Regional competition. Many schools from Tennessee and surrounding region are invited to compete in this event. The UCHS Marching Band doesn’t compete in this event, but will usually perform an exhibition after the final competing band in the finals competition. The Union City Band will receive constructive comments from the adjudication panel, but NO SCORE. Parent and students are encouraged to volunteer for the various positions to work the contest.

The Union City Band competes at other venues throughout Tennessee, Kentucky, Arkansas, and Indiana. We choose the contest based on several criteria. We strive to attend events where our students and staff are exposed to a constructive educational environment. Contests and Travel Directions will be found at UnionCityBands.com on the Calendar Page.

All parade performances are scheduled and required for all  members. This includes (but not limited to) the UCHS Homecoming Parade, Union City Christmas Parade, and Obion County CornFest Parade. Failure to attend a parade results in a grade deduction. Parade performances are no less important than any other marching  performance, and most of all our community values our  local parade participation with the utmost importance to community service.

The band takes several bus trips through the year. Charter buses are used for “big” trips while “yellow dogs” (school buses) are used for Friday night football games and local contests. These bus trips are great fun for the band. Bus assignments are made according to seniority. Be assured that there will be adult chaperones on every bus.

Band members are usually permitted to bring small coolers, snacks, videos, CD’s, blankets, and pillows on the longer bus trips. Quite often band parents donate snacks and drinks for the trips in addition to items that students bring. You will be notified if spending money is needed for additional meals for longer trips. You will receive itineraries with times, locations, and phone numbers for longer bus trips. UC Band Boosters operate the "FoodWagon" which offer meals, snacks, and drinks on contest days. A small donation is asked of each student on these occasions. The amount will be announced in the weekly announcement sheet on Facebook and in our blog. The FoodWagon crew also ask parents to supplement the kitchen stock with baked goods and other food items. This is a not for profit feature and our students are fed very well and it cost way less than a concessions stand. 

The Union City Band holds an annual awards banquet in the spring. The purpose of the banquet is to reflect upon the year’s accomplishments, to honor those who have realized special achievements, and to recognize graduating seniors for their years of service to the band. Senior Awards and outstanding achievement awards are also presented at the banquet as well. We strive to make the banquet a special evening for everyone and the format changes slightly from year to year. This special evening brings the band together one last time to review the year and wish the seniors a fond farewell.
 A fee is collected to cover the cost of the dinner.

Union City School owned uniforms will be issued to most marching band members. Members may be required to purchase uniform parts not owned by the Union City School System.  Uniforms are inventoried, repaired, distributed, and collected by the Union City Band Boosters Uniform Team.

  • Accessory items that each member is responsible for purchasing. For marching band, these include gloves, shoes and long black socks 
  • All members (excluding color guard) will wear the same ‘member’ T-shirt under their uniform at all times.

Spirit wear is available for parents and other family members. We have many different types of shirts, sweatshirts, caps, etc. that are available throughout the fall season. You will have opportunities to view the products for sale at the band parent meetings, and at some football games. It is a great way to show your support for the band.

Each  member’s costs and fees are based on but not limited to the following;

Uniform Accessories: Each Horn line and Percussion student purchases their uniform shoes, uniform T-shirt,  and gloves. These items are ordered as a group to achieve the lowest possible discount pricing to each student.

Trip Food: The members are fed at least twice at all contests.

Trip Fee: Each member pays or fundraises their share of the overall cost for the band to travel to an overnight event. This cost includes transportation, lodging, meals, entertainment, etc. for the entire trip.

Band Camp Fee: Each student will pay a fee that in turn will help offset the cost of adjunct and technical staff. This will also be used to help with the cost of buying copyrights to music, musical compositions, and drill design for the Competitive Marching Show.

Color Guard Fees: Because of the continual evolution of the Color Guard program, it is difficult to foresee exact costs to guard members. However, typical costs include: Makeup, Practice Uniform, Performance Shoes, and Specialized Equipment.