We typically practice a few weeks early in the summer to get ready for the Fishers Freedom Festival parade and to bring new marchers up to speed. Then we return a few weeks before school starts with some practices culminating in Band Camp which is usually 1-2 weeks of full day practices occurring immediately before school starts. Once school is underway we practice 3-4 days per week after school until the season ends which is usually the first week of November.
Packing List for Summer Practices
- Water: Lots & lots of water. A ½ gallon jug is recommended.
- Dinner & snacks (Band Camp): Bring lunch and dinner with you. We will provide 2 snacks. You will not be permitted to leave school to pick up food. Parents are also welcome to drop off lunch or dinner to their child at the scheduled meal times. Parents have the option of meeting your student door at 18 outside the Leonard Auditorium at mealtime to drop off food.
- Sunscreen, hat and sunglasses: Come with it on and apply often!
- Bug Spray: In the evening the bugs will be biting!
- Tennis shoes: Be sure to wear socks! No flip flops or sandals.
- 3-Ring Binder with a Strap: Load the binder with 40-50 clear sheet protectors. The music and drill sheet for the show will be placed in this binder. Strap from a duffle bag works well. For the Pit the strap is optional.
- Guard Needs: Towel, Rifle, Flag, Sabre, Black Tape, Hair Ties (All in addition to above listed items.)
Each year we try to have a cookout on the last day of practice before the Fishers Freedom Festival Parade. Families are welcome and encouraged to join us. Watch for information on this years event on the website and in the newsletter. More Information can be found here.
Fishers Freedom Festival Parade
Each summer we march in the Fishers Freedom Festival Parade. The parade takes place on the Sunday afternoon of the festival usually from 2:45pm – 6:00pm. Watch the newsletter and website for details. All RCG members are required to participate. The attire for this years parade is your show t-shirt (provided by RCG, Khaki shorts(about fingertip length – no short shorts), white socks and athletic shoes (any color is ok).
Band camp is generally the last week of July-first week of August (see your schedule for details). These are LONG, HOT Days and your kids will find muscles they did not even know they had but THEY USUALLY LOVE IT! This is a great time for them to get really connected and make friends before the school year begins. There is nothing like working really hard as a team to bring people together. They will learn the show and grow their chops. First year students have rarely practiced this long or this intensely before and they are usually surprised at their own skills and proud when they find out what they are capable of. In addition, we try to make this fun by having a number of activities such as:
- Games and Contests – Come by on a band camp day and you might find the students building an ice cream Sunday in your month, running relay races, etc
- Water Fight – we cool down with a massive water balloon or squirt gun fight
- Spirit Days – There might be themes such as superheros where sections typically coordinate their costumes.
The guardians and chaperones will be on site all week with a first aid tent set up each day. General first aid supplies (band aids, pain relievers, ice packs, etc.) will be provided. If prescription medications are needed on a scheduled basis, these can be kept in the first aid box. Two snacks will be provided each day of Band Camp. The mid-afternoon snack will be fresh fruit. After the indoor evening rehearsal another snack will be provided (cookies, crackers, granola bars, etc.).
Be aware that some of our students have significant allergies to nuts or latex. Please be particularly careful about sending these items, especially on the enclosed space of the buses. If your child has an allergy, please let your section know. Our students are typically very good about watching out for each other if they know there is an issue.
After School Practices
Once the school year begins we will have regular practices after school 3-4 times per week. The current schedule is posted on our website at the beginning of the season.
If there is a football game on Friday, the RCG will rehearse directly after school. The Royal Guardians will provide dinner for our students on game nights. They will be dismissed at the end of the football game. Attendance is mandatory for after school rehearsals. There will be additional rehearsals on several Saturdays. See the schedule on the website for details.
HSE Freshman Center RCG members will be allowed to ride the buses from the Freshman Center to HSE on Tuesdays/Fridays.
Please dress for the weather. As the seasons change, you will want to layer your clothing. Believe it or not - the night practices get cold in the fall!
Information about Contests
RCG will perform in numerous contests throughout the season at various high schools. There are three organizations that sanction contests in our area – Indiana School Music Association (ISSMA), Mid-States Band Association (MSBA) and Bands of America (BOA). The largest schools in the state (HSE Included) typically compete in ISSMA but during the season we also go to many MSBA invitational contests. Once the season is underway we will typically perform every Saturday until the end of October or first week of November.
Contest days are long. We usually have a practice in the morning before we load up and travel to the contest then typically stay to the end to see the awards presentation before driving home. These can be 12 hour days for our students. They have a great time but we want you to be aware that they will be there all day. It is a good idea to pack them a lunch and many bring a snack (protein bars and other portable food works well) because we often eat at odd times to work around the performance schedule. Usually the kids will eat the lunch they packed after the rehearsal and before the buses leave and then go to the concession stands at the contest after they perform.
We encourage parents to attend these contests. The crowds at these events are very loud and supportive and it means a lot to our members to hear the audience screaming for them when they are taking the field. We ask that if you are in the stands you try to sit with the rest of the RCG members (there is strength in numbers). Just look for the group of people wearing show shirts or the Royals flag.
Alternately you can bus chaperone and/or volunteer for pit crew which will allow you to walk with the students through each of their warm up areas and onto the track where you will watch the performance up close. Parents who are volunteering get free admission to the contests and chaperones obviously get free transportation.
The schedule for each week’s contest will usually come out on Monday and be included in the weekly newsletter and posted to the web site with detailed times for the entire day.
We do a program during the contest season called Band Buddies. Your child will be assigned a secret band buddy by the drum majors and each week the members bring a snack, a drink and a toy for their band buddy. These are distributed anonymously so the kids have fun all season trying to guess who their band buddy is (“the only person who knows I like that is…”). Don’t spend a lot of money on this. The toys are typically dollar store items that the kids think will cater to their buddy’s personality and everyone has a laugh at some of the goofy things they get. If your student does sign up for the program, please see that they participate and follow the rules as no one wants to have a negligent buddy.
Here are a few tips about participating in practices. These are shared by current parents and students that may be useful if you are new.
- “Early is on time, on time is late.” You will hear this a lot! This means that students are expected to arrive for practice about 15 minutes early so they are in position and ready to rehearse at the schedule start time.
- Communicate with other parents. Try carpooling to share/give rides to students who have working parents to ensure an on-time arrival
- The students will practice on the field until their scheduled end time. 9:00 pm means done rehearsing at 9:00pm but after that there will be some announcements from the directors and/or the drum majors, birthday celebrations then the students will need to put their instruments and other equipment away. Students actually leave the field 10-20 minutes after the end of practice.
- Pick up is a great time to come see the progress they are making and to socialize with other RCG parents. Come 15 minutes early to pick up your student and you will usually find a group of parents at the edge of the practice field socializing. This is a great place for new parents to meet people and get questions answered.
- We can’t stress enough how important it is to wear sunscreen, sunglasses and bug spray at night. Every year we have students who get burned the first day of practice and it makes them uncomfortable all week. At night practices bug spray is recommended. Some parents have found a combination sunscreen/bugspray that they feel is the only way to get their children to remember bug spray.
- We also can’t stress enough how important it is to drink a lot of water at summer practices. Band camp in particular is 12 hours a day in July/August on asphalt. Marching band can be much more physically demanding than most people think and many of our children are not used to this level of exertion so they may not know how important it is to stay hydrated. Our chaperones do a good job of trying to spot the ones who are not drinking enough and remind them.
- Your students will come to contests and games wearing shorts, socks and a black t shirt that we provide. This allows us to change clothes quickly as they wear this under their uniform. Many parents opt to get an extra shirt and/or pair of socks in case their child doesn’t bring them home when they should. This is also helpful on those weekends that we have a football game Friday and contest Saturday.
- Each season we have a number of 8th graders in the RCG. Often students from the same jr high will find each other and start car pooling from their Jr. High to HSE for the days that we practice right after school. There is a procedure to follow if you are interested in having your child ride the bus from HSEJH to the high school.
- Many veteran parents choose to get their entire seasons worth of band buddy things up front. Otherwise you are running every week to get a goofy little trinket to put in the band buddy bag.
- Many parents choose to get a second black crewneck to make weekends easier. several weekends a year we will have a football game on Friday followed by a contest on Saturday so having extra socks and crewneck can save you a late night laundry session.