PHS Instrumental Music Program Frequently Asked Questions
- You receive Fine Art Credits (Required for Graduation)
- You become a part of a Championship Level Band, Drumline and Color Guard
- You will become part of the largest "team" at PHS.
- We have over 300 students involved in our music programs.
- You get to play Great Music!
- You will have a ton of FUN!
- You will become friends with the best kids in school
- You will become "high school experienced" and be a part of a cohesive group before the
- first day of school - makes the transition to high school easier
- You will get in shape!
- You will have something to put on college applications for extra-curricular activity.
- You will have an opportunity for a leadership position.
- You become part of the Portsmouth High Band Family
- You get to travel throughout New England and places much farther - like Disney!!
Do I have to be a great player to join band?
NO!! We have summer sectionals and band camp to provide students focussed time to practice with their instruments.
Does marching band involve students to the exclusion of other school activities?
No. We have students that are involved in all aspects of student organizations, clubs, and sports. Students will have to learn to manage their time wisely to be involved in several school activities, but it can be done and has been done successfully for many years. We have had captains from all sports be members of the band including the Varsity Football starting quarterback - he was even our band president!
Do I have to be in Marching Band if I join band?
Yes. The only students who don’t take marching band are the band members who are on the Varsity football team. Those students do not perform the half-time show, but they do join us for parades, when possible. Students soon discover that it is the marching band that does the majority of traveling to places such as the “BIG E”, “McCOY STADIUM, NEW YORK CITY. Ask any current band student and they will tell you that majority of the “fun” events and activities occur with marching band - even having a cookout at Mr. Rausch’s house after a parade!
What if I am not good enough to be in the PHS Band?
All you need is the want to be a part of the PHS Band and we will help you with the rest!
Can a student be in marching band if they are not in a band class?
No. Students must also be enrolled in a band class. Students with irreconcilable situations need to speak with their guidance counselor and band director for solutions.
How many students are in the PHS Patriot Marching Band?
For the 2013-2014 season, we had about 157 students in band, including color guard and dance team
Why does the marching band rehearse so much?
The Marching Band actually rehearses just once a week. Rehearsals are on Wednesday evenings from 5:00-7:00pm. When compared to sports, we rehearse just a fraction of what sports teams do.
Is marching band actually fun? Or just a lot of work?
Marching band is so much fun that most students think of it as the highlight of the year! Each section has their own secret traditions and activities, and being able to hang out with the rest of the band and make new friends is a really neat experience. Yes, marching band is a lot of work, but everyone agrees at the end that it was well worth the effort.
What are the key parts of the marching band?
Drum major - lead the parades and field show. The drum majors leads the band in preparation and training. They also lead the section leaders. Drum majors put on clinics for aspiring drum majors to learn from them. They also attend drum major camp.
Band section leaders - one or more people from each section (depends on section size) are chosen by the band director to assist with organizing training and practice for their sections. They assist as leaders during band camp.
Percussion - This is the drumline and front ensemble. In parade, the drums are in a block in the middle of the band and the front ensemble typically plays other instruments. For field show, the drums are part of the marching unit and the front ensemble is set up in front of the band with the assistance of the equipment crew. The front ensemble has multiple xylophones, an electric piano, gong, and glockenspiel.
Color guard - This group is incorporated into the field shows, demonstrating a variety of artistic and physical skills during the show. They use flags and air blades. For parade, this group leads he marching band in the front.
Dance Team - This group adds another dynamic to the group. Members use choreographed movements to all aspects of our show. They are part of our field show as well as our parade block
Band - Everyone else. Lots of instruments. Lots of sound. Lots of marching.
What are the key parent volunteer parts of the band?
The Equipment Crew is a special set of volunteers. They load, drive, and unload the trucks. On the trucks are drums, sousaphones, xylophones, drum major conducting stands, food, tables, uniforms, hats, repair tools, and other items. They attend football games and help set up equipment for the field shows.
The Uniform coordinators match uniforms with students during the summer. They keep track of the inventory of all of our uniforms.
Bus chaperones go on one or more trips. They assist on the busses, help with food preparation or serving, assist with uniform adjustments, provide water, and assist with moving equipment on and off of the field for field shows. They also assist with the attendance of each bus.
Perhaps I should just try it later.
You don't want to make the mistake of not being a part the PHS Band. You only get four years.
I didn't sign up for band. Can I still be in the PHS Band?
Yes. Just speak with band director, Mr. Rausch. You can email him at: firstname.lastname@example.org
How can I get in touch with the band director?
Band Director: Ted Rausch
Please feel free to email at any time.
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I want to take a full schedule of demanding classes. Will I still have time to do marching band?
Yes! Even if you've signed up for multiple A.P or Honors classes, marching won't be a problem. In fact, the Patriot Marching Band includes some of the highest-achieving students on campus, and everyone finds time to fit everything in.
Can I play sports and do marching band at the same time?
Yes. Athletes are eligible to be apart of marching band pending they meet minimum participation requirements. The Band and Athletic departments work closely together to arrange practice time and rehearsal schedules to accommodate students participating in both activities. It is not always easy, and does require some advanced planning, but most conflicts are worked out with good communication between students, parent, coach, and band director. The student must take initial responsibility for working out conflicts by communicating with the coaches and band staff. We have had captains from all sports be members of the band including the Varsity Football starting quarterback - he was even our band president!
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I currently don't own an instrument, and play on one that was provided to me by the middle school. What will happen for me next year?
Thankfully, the PHS Band Program keeps a large amount of school-owned instruments. It should be no problem to find an instrument for you to play on during both the marching and concert seasons.
Which wind instruments are able to march?
The flute, clarinet, bass clarinet, alto saxophone, tenor saxophone, bari saxophone, french horn (mellophone), trumpet, trombone, baritone (euphonium), and tuba. Sorry no Oboe or Bassoon.
Which wind instruments can I play during concert season?
All of the instruments during marching season, plus the piccolo, oboe, english horn, and bassoon.
My instrument doesn't march. Am I able to participate in the PHS Patriot Marching Band?
Of course! Many members of the marching band will play a regular marching instrument during marching season, and then transition to a concert instrument for the winter. This is very common, and many students end up enjoying being able to play two instruments!
Should I have a different instrument for Marching Band?
If you are fortunate enough to have purchased a "step-up" instrument after playing your beginner student instrument in middle school, we suggest you use the "better" instrument for inside playing and the student model for outside playing. We provide drumline equipment and mallet instruments for percussionists (you will need to buy sticks and mallets) . Having a second instrument to use is a personal choice. In the end it is up to the student/parent to choose to have a second instrument. Having a second instrument is not required.
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Can you give me information about Band Camp?
Band camp takes place at PHS and is required for all band students, and is typically scheduled for the week prior to the start of school. During this week, students learn the show that is to be featured at halftime during football games and also in the marching festivals. Students spend from 9:00am to 3:00pm learning marching fundamentals, show music, and marching drill. You will want to check our website for the most current information.
Are the August Band Camp rehearsals required for membership in the marching band?
Yes. Students electing to become a part of the PHS Band Program must attend the week-long band camp in mid-August of each year. Much of the material that will be learned and performed through the fall marching season is introduced during this time to allow the students enough time to master the skills necessary to perform effectively throughout the marching season.
What should I bring to Band Camp?
Sneakers no flip flops for outside marching!
Bring lots of water!!!
Music in a flip folder that students will purchase.
What happens on the last day of Band Camp?
On the last day of band camp, parents are invited to watch the students perform their "new" field show routine that was learned during band camp. Other activities like our "march off" will be shown to the parents as well. After the performance, parents and family members are invited to join us for our "band cookout!" This is a great opportunity to meet new people and have the opportunity to meet the band staff and student leadership.
What are the dates for Band Camp 2014.
For the Fall 2014 marching season, band camp will be held August 13, 14, 15, 18, 19, 20
What are Summer Marching Band Rehearsals?
Summer Music Rehearsals are full band practices at PHS. They are from 9-12 on August 8 and 9. Music is passed out and it allows time to explore the new music for the Marching Band season. Students will receive their flip folders with music to practice. Students who cannot attend will get their music on the first day of band camp.
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How many marching band performances are there and what do they entail?
Typically there are 4-5 home football games that are held on Friday nights. There are also various performances, parades, and festivals that we attend. Performances include the Big "E", Elementary school tours, Umass Band Day, Thunderbolt Invitational, and the Somerset Musictown Festival. Parades include Homecoming, Newport Columbus Day Parade, Taunton Christmas Parade, and the St. Patrick's Day Parade.
Does my student need to ride the bus to a performance?
Anytime students are representing Portsmouth High School, they are expected to travel on district approved vehicles, as a member of the group, at all times.
Can I drive my student home after a performance?
At the band director's discretion, students may be released after the performance to travel home with their parents.
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I'm a percussionist in my middle school band. What are my options for marching band?
You have quite a few. The marching percussion section (known as the Drumline) consists of snares, tenors (quads), and bass drums. Additionally the non-marching percussion section (known as the Front Ensemble) consists of an electric piano, as well as vibes, marimbas, xylophones, and other miscellaneous percussion equipment. All student wishing to be a member of the drumline must pass an audition.
Do I Have to audition to be in the percussion section at the high school?
Percussionists need to audition only to be in the Marching Drumline. We have had consistently 20-25 percussionists in the band program. Unfortunately, we do not have enough equipment for everyone to be in the drumline. Students may have to be patient to work towards a spot in the drumline. Everyone however, plays in the Concert or Symphonic Band.
Can I play percussion in the school band (Concert or Symphonic Band) but not in the Marching Band?
Although we try to engage every percussionist, there are only a limited amount of spots in our drumline. Students who do not pass the drumline audition are offered other options such as Honor Guard or Banner Carrier to be in the marching band.
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What is Color Guard?
The PHS Color Guard/Dance Team is an auxiliaries of the PHS Marching Band under the direction of Lisa Mailloux (Color Guard & Dance Team Coach). Typically, the guard/dance team consists of 12-16 girls. The band performs at all home football games, school pep rallies, local parades, band festivals and performances. The group also travels on a band performance trip each spring. Past trips have been to New York City, Florida, California, a Bahamas cruise and Washington DC. The group is very proud to be a part of the Marching Band and support them and the Music Booster Organization in all of their efforts. Several members of the Color Guard are also members of the band. Students who are in band and color guard play their instruments in band class during the day but take part in the color guard for Marching Band.
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What is the Music Booster organization?
The PHS Music Boosters work for and on behalf of all music students (band, chorus, color guard, etc.) and faculty at PHS. Efforts of the organization are aimed at the enrichment of these programs, through logistical support, financial support, and other means. Booster meetings are held monthly in the Music Suite at PHS. They are a great opportunity to get involved, ask questions and give feedback.
How can I get involved? How can I meet other band parents?
Participate in something! There are many opportunities to volunteer and the boosters can almost always use help with something. Come to the Music Booster meetings the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7pm in the Chorus Room. Introduce yourself to other parents. We don't always recognize each other, especially in a crowd. Even if you're shy, try to meet some other people.
When are the Music Booster meetings?
Boosters meetings are held on the 2nd Wednesday of each month at 7pm in the Chorus room. Try to attend if you can as it provides a wonderful opportunity to meet other band parents.
My child is a new band member. Do I need to come to Music Booster meetings?
New members are strongly encouraged to attend Music Booster meetings. A lot of the information discussed there will only affect marching band members, but you also have an opportunity to hear what events are coming up and to interact with other band parents.
How can I find out what happened at a meeting that I missed?
The website for the Music Boosters is a great resource for information. You can also sign up to be added to our email distribution list at this location. The Music Boosters website is: www.portsmouthmusicboosters.org
When the band makes a big event trip, can I as a parent travel along with the band?
Chaperones are chosen from those who have volunteered their time throughout the band season. Chaperones are responsible for supervising students on the trip. If parents want to chaperone we strongly encourage them to volunteer for our band events.
How can I find out information on band events and schedules?
The first thing you want to do is to join our email distribution list. The band director and the Music Boosters will post information on upcoming events, fundraisers, and general reminders throughout the school year. You will also want to check our website and calendar frequently as we try to keep our most up-to-date information posted.