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Pinkies Up...Do You Know Marching Band Contest Etiquette?

We get it. You've been sitting for a couple of hours to watch yet another marching band. Or, it's halftime, and you want to grab a restroom break before everyone else floods the stalls. But imagine how you would feel if you'd practiced for months learning your routine and your music only for your audience to stand up and walk out the moment you begin to perform.

The audience is an integral part of the marching band performance, so if you're in attendance, know your role with these simple etiquette tips.

Things you should do:

1. Support ALL bands. Regardless of who you came to see, every band deserves acknowledgment. Scores do not include audience response, so clap and cheer freely.

2. Watch the entire show. You might be surprised. Of course, you can pay special attention to your kid when their section has a highlight, but you'll come to appreciate the complexity of the whole experience more when you take it all in.

3. Show up early. No one appreciates late stragglers.

4. Buy something at the concession stand and support the bands. Many times, the concession stands are avenues of revenue for the bands or band contests. You can show your support and help to ensure there's a band contest again next year.

Things you should not do:

1. So much as it's in your power to do so, don't leave or enter the stadium during a performance. Wait for a few moments in between bands if you absolutely must leave. Would you walk out of a Broadway show willy-nilly? Probably not. Your conduct at a marching band competition should be similar.

2. Don't talk on your cell phone. We think this one is self-explanatory.

3. Don't allow children to walk or play in the stands during performances. Not only is it distracting, but it's good for children to see their brother or sister isn't home in the afternoons and to witness their hard work pay off. And, the children are the future of marching band competitions; they might be inspired.

4. This should go without saying but don't make negative comments about other bands or any particular students. And don't 'Boo'. Chances are, the mother or father of a competing band member will be sitting right behind you and hearing everything. Don't take the chance. And remember, they probably worked just as hard as your student or school.

5. Be mindful not to obstruct the view of others. Avoid standing in the middle of the stands and if you have a banner, choose an open area to lift it. Make sure no one is trying to watch behind you.

Basically, be a kind, considerate, and decent human being who is supportive of others as you cheer everyone on!


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