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Band Handbook




Mr. Tom McGarity, Director

Mr. Jeff Gossett, Assistant Director

Mr. Bill Wear, Assistant Director

Mrs. Karen Barfield, Color Guard Director

Mr. Bret Mulcay, Percussion Director

Mrs. Janna Eden,, Operations Director



DRUM MAJOR---Emily Pointer



VICE PRESIDENT---Albert Cooper

SECRETARY---Erin McCrickard

TREASURER---Zoey Myrick

CHAPLAIN---Owen Lewis

HISTORIANS---Alexis Ayers & Daisy Cruz

LIBRARIANS---Gabby Woodward & Drew Mulcay




 2.  Introduction

 3.  Purpose of Handbook

 4.  Eligibility

 5.  Membership

 6.  Musical Instruments

 7.  School Owned Instruments

 8.  Percussion Equipment

 9.  Band Fees

10.Grading Policy

11.  Classroom Procedures

12.  Section Leaders

13.  Sectional Rehearsals

14.  Attendance Policy

15.  Uniforms

16. Stadium Procedures

17. Transportation to Performances

18. Audition Policies for Auxiliary Units

19. Requirements for Auxiliary Members

20. Band Awards

21. Fund Raising Activities




            The Cedartown High School Band Program forms a vital and important part of the total school experience. Our group represents a large, visible and highly disciplined segment of the school. In an effort to answer some of your questions as students and parents, we have put together this handbook which will hopefully be helpful to you.

            School life and many of the programs and traditions of the school would seem dull without the presence of the school band.  Our appearance at sporting events, concerts, parades and contests, as well as community events, adds a great deal of color and life to the community.

            The main emphasis of a band program is musicianship and pride of accomplishment, followed closely by citizenship, tradition, morale, spirit, and loyalty.  It is the pride of a job well done and accomplishments achieved that make the sacrifices worthwhile.  It is possible, by setting your schedule in a reasonable manner, to have a highly successful band career and still maintain high scholastic standing.

            When you become a member of the band, we want your parents to automatically become members of the Band Booster Club.  The Band Booster Club was created with a two fold purpose:

            1 - To give moral support to the band program


            2 - To help raise money for the operation of the band program

            The Booster Club normally meets once a month in the band room on the fourth Tuesday of each month at 7:00 p.m. All parents are urged to attend these meetings and participate in the operational procedures of the band program.




            The purpose of this handbook is to inform the students and parents of the policies and procedures of the Cedartown High School Band Program.  It is intended to provide answers to the most commonly asked questions concerning all aspects of the band program.  This handbook may be revised and updated at appropriate times to include changes in the system.

            Keep this manual to use for future reference.  On the last page is an agreement form which should be filled out and signed by the parents and student and returned as soon as possible to the band office.




            The band program is open to all students at Cedartown High School that have successfully completed the band program at Cedartown Middle School, or its equivalent, and be able to pass a competency test on their musical instrument.  All students in the band are encouraged to maintain the highest grades they possibly can in all of their classes.




            The marching band is the unit of the band program that is seen most by the general public, and this is the unit by which many people judge our program. It is with this in mind that we believe every student in our program needs to be involved in BOTH the marching and concert bands.  Exceptions would be athletes that have a direct conflict with marching band.

            The most important reason to justify this policy would be that students that only participated in the band for one-half of the year would not be playing their instrument on a regular basis and therefore, their playing skills would not be improving, but diminishing.  To build any solid program, whether music or athletic, students need regular daily practice to improve their skills.  Athletes could not function properly if they only participated in their fall sport and did not participate in spring training.  It would not be right for athletes, or musicians, to only participate in “home” games.  To build the solid band program that is desired at Cedartown, we need you all year.  Exceptions to this would be students that have a direct conflict with marching band, for example, football or cheerleading, or students that cannot schedule the band class due to academic conflicts.  Any student in this category must discuss their conflict with the band director and receive permission to participate and remain active in the band.  Please make arrangements to be involved in the band program on a “full-time” basis in order that we can reach our goals together.  Students that have scheduling conflicts and have chosen not to participate with the band will no longer be considered members of the band, and therefore are ineligible for band awards, field trips or other member benefits.




            It is necessary for all students in the band program to have their own musical instrument on which to learn.  To avoid parents having to spend a large amount of money at one time, the music company that Cedartown Band Programs recommend provides a Rental-Purchase Plan for student-line instruments.  It is suggested that the parents consider this rental-purchase plan rather than “buying” a musical instrument.  No one knows if a student might have specific problems with certain instruments until the student tries that instrument.  If the parent buys a musical instrument, they might get stuck with an instrument their child cannot play.

            The quality of the instruments provided by the music company for the beginning band students is first class quality.  Once the student has reached a certain proficiency level, it is highly recommended that the students move to a higher quality instrument called a “step-up” instrument.  This allows the student to progress even further with a better quality instrument.  The music company will work with you in every way possible to make this switch to a higher quality horn.  In many cases, all the rent money that you have spent on the student line instrument can be deducted from the price of the step-up instrument.




            Certain instruments that are necessary in order to have a successful band program, but are normally too expensive for families to purchase, are purchased and owned by the school.  Some of the instruments may include oboe, bassoon, baritone saxophone, French horn, baritone horn, tuba, and certain percussion instruments.

            When these instruments are issued, a contract will be signed by the parent and the student listing the present condition of the instrument.  Students using one of these instruments will be expected to take care of this instrument and return it in the same condition as when it was issued.  ALL repairs to the instrument due to negligence other than normal “wear and tear” will be the responsibility of the student.




            Percussion equipment for the band is purchased through the band fund or the band boosters fund.  Members of the drum line may play several different instruments during their stay in band.  Therefore, they cannot be expected to buy all the various instruments they might play.  However, the percussionists are expected to replace broken drum heads and mallets.  It is suggested that all percussionists purchase their own drum sticks, mallets, and stick or mallet bags.




            In order to operate the band program successfully, it is necessary to assess each member of the band program a band fee.  The amount of this fee is determined by Cedartown High School and Cedartown Band Boosters, and is used to purchase and maintain equipment used by the band that is not provided by the school district.  It is also used for the cost of transportation, for bringing in guest instructors for camps and clinics, and the purchase of uniforms.  The fee is currently $110.00 per band member per year and should be paid by the beginning of the school year.   If a family has more than one child in the program, each additional fee is reduced.  The fee for multiple members of the same family is $100.00 each. There is also a reduced rate for families that qualify based on their total family income.  For information concerning this reduced rate, please contact the principal.




          Student’s grades are computed from participation in class, participation at rehearsals, participation at performances, and skill playing tests according to the Polk School District Board of Education guidelines as follows:

          Grade Breakdown

                        60%---Classroom Participation

                        20%---Objective Grades  (including Rehearsals and Performances)

                        20%---Final Examination

          Category Definitions:

Class Participation

Students will receive a maximum of 20 points per day for participating in class. This will result in a maximum of 100 possible points in a one week period.  Points will be deducted for students that do not participate, do not have their instrument or music, etc.

Rehearsal Participation

When extra rehearsals are needed, students will receive points for participating in these rehearsals.  These rehearsals  would  include full band as well as section rehearsals. All rehearsals will be scheduled well in advance.  The number of points possible for this category will be determined by the frequency of these rehearsals.

Performance Participation

Students receive points for all performances in which they attend and participate. Frequency of performances will determine the number of points possible for each performance.  During the fall, the band may perform weekly or in some cases two or three times a week. However, in winter, the band may only perform once every grading period.  Due to this, the weight of the performances will coincide with the amount of time the band has spent preparing for the performance.

Playing Skill Test

Throughout the grading period, students will be asked to play their music for a playing test grade. Playing test will be both announced and unannounced. Students will receive a maximum of 100 points per playing test. In some cases, students will be expected to meet a minimum standard before being allowed to participate in the scheduled performances.                             

Students that are absent from class, a rehearsal, or performance for an excused reason will be allowed to make up the work they missed.  Having an excused absence does not exempt the student from that work or rehearsal time, but allows the student to make up the missed work.  Points will not be given to the student if the work is not made up.




            All students are responsible for their instrument being at school and in proper playing condition before class begins.  If a student has a problem with their instrument, they should take it to the repair shop or make arrangements with the director.  This will allow the instrument to be checked by the director before class and will not take away from class instruction.

            All students will be expected to be in their seats with their instruments and music at the beginning of class.  All talking and playing of instruments will stop immediately when the director steps on the podium.  Students will be allowed to ask questions by raising their hand and being recognized by the teacher.

            At the end of class, the student will be expected to put their instrument and music away properly and then return to their seat until it is time to change classes.  UNDER NO CIRCUMSTANCE IS A STUDENT ALLOWED TO PLAY OR TAMPER WITH ANY INSTRUMENT THAT IS NOT THEIR OWN OR ASSIGNED TO THEM.




Section leaders are appointed by the band director according to the following:

  • musical ability and understanding
  • leadership ability
  • participation in musical activities and events
  • seniority in the band program at Cedartown High School.

Section leaders will assist the band director with:

  • sectional rehearsals
  • inspection of section before a performance for proper uniform attire
  • checking instruments for cleanliness and proper playing condition
  • helping maintain an accurate roll at rehearsals and performances
  • assisting other students that need individual assistance.

Any section leader who chooses not to do their job properly will be replaced at the discretion of the band director.




            From time to time it will be necessary for the leader of each section to have a special rehearsal with only the members of that particular section.  Such a rehearsal is called a sectional rehearsal.  Adequate advance notice of the rehearsal scheduled will be given by the section leader, with the approval of the band director.  All students are expected to be in attendance.  Students who are absent should follow the normal procedure for absences from class.




            Band members are expected to attend every rehearsal and performance unless they are excused by the band director.  In conjunction with school policy, whenever a student is absent from a band activity, the band director will expect a note of explanation.  Whenever possible, the notification should be prior to the student’s absence.  Students who do not bring a note from the parent with as approved excused reason will automatically be considered absent for an unexcused reason.

            If a student misses a rehearsal for an unexcused reason, he/she will not be allowed to perform at the next scheduled performance.  The student will dress-out and attend the performance, but will not participate in the actual performance.  If a student misses a second rehearsal for an unexcused reason, he/she will not perform at the next three scheduled performances.  If any of the unexcused absences occur during a week when the band has two performances, such as a football game on Friday night and a contest on Saturday, the student will not perform at either event and it will count as one performance.  If a student misses a third rehearsal for an unexcused reason, he/she will be removed from the active status of the band and will not be allowed to participate for the rest of the term.  At the end of the term the student will be dismissed from the band program for the remainder of the school year.

            If a student misses two or more rehearsals in a one week period, regardless if they are excused or unexcused, they may not be allowed to perform at any event scheduled for that week.  The decision will be based on the reason for the student’s absence and the amount of changes in the show the student missed while they were absent from rehearsal.  The student will dress-out and attend the event.


Excused absences are:

1. Doctor appointments

2. Dentist or orthodontist appointments

3. Illness or injury serious enough to cause the student to stay home from school

4. Family emergencies

5. During summer practices a student will be excused for planned vacations, except during the week of BAND CAMP.

           Whenever possible, parents should not schedule doctor appointments during rehearsal times.  The normal rehearsal schedule for marching band will be Monday, Tuesday and Thursday from 3:30 until 5:30.  Additional sectional rehearsals may be called when needed.  Rehearsals for concert performances will be announced well in advance to allow students ample time to adjust their calendars.




            The uniforms of the Cedartown High School Band are purchased by the Band Booster Club for the use in public performances as desired by the director.  As band uniforms are very costly and cannot be purchased every year, extreme personal pride and care should be the main concern of every band student.

            Band uniforms are issued to the student on a yearly basis.  Each part of the uniform is assigned to the student by number and it is the responsibility of the student to return the exact numbers that were assigned to him.  Failure to return the correct numbered article may result in a fine being placed on the student.

            The student is responsible for furnishing gloves, shoes, and socks.  The band members wear black tee shirt, black gloves, black socks, and black plain toe lace-up shoes.  In order to strive for uniformity, all band shoes will be ordered through the band department

            The official band tee shirt will be worn at every performance of the marching band.  It is to be worn under the band tops (coats) unless instructed otherwise by the band director.  At performances, students should keep their uniform tops on until instructed otherwise by the band director.  By having the students wear the tee shirts, the band will be uniform when the coats are removed.

            Students will be able to purchase small personal duffel bags with the “Cedartown High School Band” logo.  These bags are designed to allow the student to carry their own belongings into the football performances and still be uniform as a group.  The bags will be large enough to carry their music flip folders and any other belongings they feel they will need while in the football game.  This will be the ONLY method of students taking anything into the stadium.

            At the end of each performance, the top of the uniform (the jacket) will be left at the band room.  The Booster Club will have the tops cleaned on a regular basis.  The student is responsible for cleaning the pants when needed.

            Large jewelry such as earrings, or other jewelry that is not uniform, ball caps, bandanas, etc. WILL NOT be permitted to be worn while in uniform.

            Uniform inspections will be held before the performances by the band director or section leaders.  Students that do not pass inspection or do not meet the uniform specifications will not be allowed to perform in that event.




            Prior to a performance at a football game, the band will assemble in the band room at a pre-announced time in order to warm-up.  The correct procedure at home games will be for students to enter the 200 hallway of the school and come through the Chorus room.  Students will then go into the uniform room and get their band coats and proceed to the instrument room, get their instrument and sit down in the main band room and wait for further instructions.  As our band room has become a little small for the number of students we have, there WILL NOT be room for parents, friends, or relatives, (except only those helping with the issuing of the uniforms or the pit crew personnel helping with equipment).  All other persons should wait outside the band room or inside the stadium.

            Upon completion of the warm-up, the band will march into the stadium and sit in the band section.  Students will not be allowed to wander through the stadium to get “things” from their parents or friends.  While in the band section, NO student should receive ANY food or drink from anyone during the first, second or fourth quarters.  On extremely hot games, the Band Booster Club will furnish water coolers for students.

            About midway through the second quarter, the students will be instructed to prepare to leave the band section to warm-up for the half-time presentation.  At this time, all students should take EVERY thing they will need for the show.

            After the halftime performance, the students should return to the band section in the stadium.  Normally, the band is given a break during the third quarter of the game.  During this time, band students can visit the concession stand or the restroom.  No student is to leave the stadium area without first discussing this with the director.  All students should report back to the band section before the end of the third quarter.  Students that are not back in their section on time will lose their break at the next event.  All students should remain in the band section until the band is dismissed after the game.  Normally, the band will play music for a few minutes as the crowd leaves the stadium.




            All students will be expected to ride to and from all performances of the band if transportation is provided by the school district or by the Band Boosters Club.  Parents may request for their child to be excused from riding the bus home from the band event provided that ALL of the following procedures are met:

                  1) If the student has a note from the parent explaining that they will not be riding the bus home, the student should present the note to                                           the chaperone on their bus BEFORE the band leaves CHS at the beginning of the trip.


                  2) Parents may decide to carry their child home after the activity provided that the parent gives the band director a note at the activity                                           explaining this.


                  3) No student leaves the performance until released by the band director at the end of the activity (football game or contest).


                  4) The student has made arrangements to have their equipment unloaded off the equipment truck and put in its proper place in                                                     the bandroom (or take it with them).





                    Candidates for DRUM MAJOR and COLOR GUARD will audition before a panel of at least three qualified judges with the judges decision being final.  The judges will be selected by the band director based on qualifications and prior experience as either a band director or a member of an auxiliary unit.  The expenses of the judges will be paid by the Band Boosters Club.

                    All candidates auditioning for one of the auxiliary units must meet the minimum grade requirements for eligibility in an extracurricular activity as determined by Polk School District and the State Board of Education.  All candidates must also meet the requirements as stated in the section “Requirements for Auxiliary  Members” of this handbook.

Tryouts will either be: 

(1) CLOSED--with no one allowed to watch

(2) OPEN-- with anyone being allowed to watch OR

(3) SEMI-OPEN--with each candidate receiving the same number of tickets to distribute as they desire.


On the day of tryouts, each candidate’s score will be added together and then averaged according to the total number of judges involved.  The number selected for each unit will be determined by the following:

            (1) the anticipated size of the band for the next school year,

            (2)  point breaks or gaps in the tryout scores, and

            (3)  the number of candidates the judges feel have the ability to perform with the group.

At the end of tryouts, only the persons selected will be announced. No scores will be announced.  The judges sheets will be available to each candidate.

In the event an auxiliary member moves or becomes ineligible to participate on the line, their position will not be filled.




                   Being in an auxiliary  unit is a very strenuous physical activity.  If a student is not in good physical condition, participation in such an activity could be hazardous.  Due to the nature of the uniforms worn, it is highly recommended that all members of the auxiliary units of the band attempt to be in top physical condition.

DRUM MAJORS: candidates for drum major must have marched in the Cedartown High School  Band during the previous school year, participated in concert season, and must tryout before a panel of qualified judges.

                  At tryouts, the candidates for drum major will demonstrate marching, vocal commands, and conducting.  Each candidate will be expected to conduct one prepared musical selection chosen by the band director and one musical selection chosen by the candidate.  The selection chosen be the candidate should be approximately one and one-half (1½) minutes to two (2) minutes in length.

25% of the total Drum Major score will be determined by the band director with consideration being given to the following:

  • number of years experience
  • leadership qualities
  • ability level
  • past records of attendance at rehearsals
  • participation in the total band program

COLOR GUARD: candidates for Color Guard must tryout before a panel of qualified judges.  At tryouts, the candidates will demonstrate marching, basic skills, and a group routine. All group routines will be taught at the tryout practices.

Captains for each auxiliary unit will be chosen by the band director with consideration being given to the following:

  • the number of years experience
  • leadership qualities
  • ability level
  • past records of attendance at rehearsals and performances
  • participation in the total band program

                   Before tryouts, each member will receive information concerning the approximate cost to the individual if they are chosen for the auxiliary unit.  These expenses will result from uniforms, equipment, band fees, etc.  In addition, each candidate and their parent or guardian will be expected to sign and return a form that will state they understand that the judges decision will be final.




Students will eligible to receive a band letter for completing the following requirements:

  • Student must be in the band program for the entire year
  • Maintain at least an “A” average for the year in band. (Example: marching and concert bands)
  • Students must be present and participating at ALL performances of the band. (exceptions would be approved medical excuses).
  • Students must meet the requirements of at least one of the following:

                                    A)   audition for All State Band

                                    B)   participate at State Solo and Ensemble Festival

                                    C)   participate in an Honor Band                         

            D)   take private lessons on their band instrument on a regular basis from an approved instructor

                                    E)   attend 2 outside approved concerts and complete a brief written summary of each concert

                                    F)   other projects that are approved, in advance, by the Band Director

A “letter” (C) will be distributed to the students meeting these requirements for the first year.  All subsequent years will be represented by the distribution of service bars.  In addition to the Band letter, students will be eligible to receive the following awards:

                                    1. Most Outstanding Rookie Band Member

                                    2. Most Outstanding Veteran Band Member

                                    3. Outstanding Rookie and Veteran of each section

                                    4. The John Phillip Sousa Award

The recipients of these awards are chosen by a student vote, with the band director’s approval.




            Because of the high cost of equipment and supplies that are necessary to have a quality band program, it is necessary for the band students and parents to be involved with various fundraising projects.  The band program is made up of a selected number of very talented students.  It carries with it the privileges of recognition, travel, and awards; therefore, it is reasonable to expect each member to participate equally in all fund raising projects.

            Fundraising projects that are earmarked for students’ use are designed to help the student with additional band expenses.  Projects are set up on an individual profit basis.  The amount of profit the student makes from these specific projects will be used for expenses incurred by that student or in the event of major trips. Students that earn more than needed to cover their band expenses and the cost of the trip will be allowed to receive a credit refund.  The amount of this refund can be no more than the cost of the trip and should be used for spending money while on the trip. All students participating in any fundraising projects are expected to clear their account before any credits can be released.  Underclassmen may carry their band account balances over from year to year to cover band expenses as long as they are enrolled in the band program  However, any senior band student that has a balance in their account or chooses not to participate in a special band trip will forfeit their profits they have earned back to the band program.

          PLEASE NOTE-----Students must clear all fundraising projects by turning the correct amount of money in to the band office before being allowed to participate in any other projects.  Students will ALWAYS be given a receipt for turning ANY money in to the band office.  MAKE SURE YOU GET YOUR RECEIPT!!!









This is to certify that I have received my copy of the

CEDARTOWN HIGH SCHOOL BAND Student Handbook, 2017-20148


          I also realize that ALL band parents are urged to join and actively participate in the Cedartown Band Boosters Club.  This club does not charge a membership fee to join, only a willingness to help support our young people that are members of the band.



Band Student’s Name____________________________________________________________________________________

                                                          (please print)


Band Student’s Signature_________________________________________________________________________________



Grade ________________



Parent’s/Guardian's Signature______________________________________________________________________________