PHILOSOPHY OF MUSIC
Every aspect of music is important and will be emphasized at various stages in a student’s development. The core of an instrumental program is the symphonic concert band. From this ensemble, groups such as the marching band, jazz band, pep band, and various chamber groups are derived.
The GSHS music department stresses the advancement of the student’s abilities to function in both the large group and the small ensemble setting. Music offers a unique opportunity to challenge each student cognitively, affectively, and physically. It provides for emotional expression, intrinsic worth, and has a positive impact on individuals, families, communities, and cultures.
The Marching Band is open to all students in grades 9 through 12, with exceptions made for 8th grade band students, who may perform on their major instrument. Selected 7th graders may also participate in the Honor Guard. The band performs at pre-game and halftime during each home and away football game. Students also participate in a few parades, band festivals and in-school pep rallies throughout the school year. Regular rehearsals are held every Tuesday and Thursday during marching season, with a few Wednesday rehearsals before key performances. All after-school rehearsals will be held from 3:15-5:15 PM. Students are to report to the band room for each rehearsal. They will be dismissed from the band room at the end of each rehearsal.
Uniforms: The school will provide all marching uniforms with the exception of footwear and specific pieces that need to be worn under uniforms. These must be purchased prior to the beginning of the band season. Students are to be completely in uniform at all times when stated – jackets are either to be ON or OFF. They may not be unzipped at any time. Students must wear athletic pants/shorts and yellow “Kennywood” band shirts under the uniform. Instrumentalists may only eat in uniform with their uniform jackets off and band front members may only eat in uniform with their warm-up jackets on. Uniforms will be dry-cleaned throughout the year as needed.
Equipment Needs: Each student must bring to rehearsal everyday: their own large bottle of water, a sharpened pencil, their marching equipment (i.e. their instruments, sticks, baton, reeds, guard equipment, kazoos, etc.) in good working condition, all assigned music with a flip folder and lyre, a “dot book” and a good attitude.
School-owned instruments: Each student who wishes to sign out a school-owned instrument must complete the appropriate form. These forms are available from the director. Students are responsible for general maintenance and care. If a student damages an instrument, he/she is responsible for the repair costs. Any damage that occurs through normal wear-and-tear will be the school district’s responsibility.
Summer rehearsals: Each subsection of the band will rehearse for 2-4 hours one day a week during the summer, beginning in July. These practices are strictly music and band front “routine” rehearsals, and it is important that all band members attend in order to learn the music and routines for the season.
Band Camp: Band Camp is a mandatory two-week session for all marching band members. It is held at the school each day from 8 AM-3 PM. Lunch will be provided to the students during Band Camp. Students must wear comfortable athletic shoes (no sandals) and should come to camp prepared to spend a great deal of time in the sun. These two weeks are very physically taxing, so students should prepare accordingly.
Spring Trip: Each spring, all high school members of the band in good standing will be eligible to participate in the Spring Trip. All band members are expected to participate in this performance-based activity. Special circumstances must be cleared with the director before the initial deposit is due in the late summer. Members must perform on their “fall season” instrument/equipment.
Transportation Policy: It is the policy of Greensburg Salem High School that all band members ride school transportation to away events. Students may ride HOME with parents or a relative providing they have submitted the transportation request form PRIOR to the day of the event. This form is available from the director and at gsbands.org.
Merit System: The merit system is designed to provide a record of positive and negative behaviors exhibited by band members. This record will be maintained by the director and displayed in the band room throughout the year. Students earning a pre-announced number of merits will receive periodic rewards from the director. A special reward will also be given to top merit students at the end of the year.
Merits will be awarded by the director for going “above and beyond” the basic expectations of band members. Some examples include volunteering to help the staff, officers or band parents with a task outside of rehearsal, having perfect band rehearsal attendance, trying out for an honors band, or marching well in a drill-down.
Band members are expected to follow all outlined policies and maintain a professional attitude at all times. In the rare event that a student does not do this, demerits will be issued by the director. Each demerit replaces ALL previously earned merits and must be made up by earning two merits. After two demerits, students will not be permitted to perform during the following halftime, festival or other performance. Any student earning three or more demerits will be suspended from the band until a conference can be held with the director, the student and his or her parent(s) to discuss the student’s participation in the band.
The number of demerits given for behavioral and attendance-related offenses will vary depending on the severity of the offense, at the discretion of the director.
Attendance Policy: All marching band members must be present at ALL rehearsals. Students participating in fall sports MUST attend half or more of all band rehearsal practices to be considered a member of the band in good standing. Demerits will be issued to students who do not follow this critical policy. Performances are mandatory for all members of the band. If a student must miss a rehearsal or performance, approval must be received from the director prior to the day of the rehearsal or performance. Sick absences from a performance will only be considered to be excused when a doctor’s note is presented to the director within 5 school days of the performance.
Missing a rehearsal due to a job conflict will NOT be considered as an excused absence. Students who do not meet these guidelines will be issued demerits with each offense, will not be considered for leadership positions in the future and may not be permitted to attend the Spring Trip. Severe abuse of the attendance system could lead to suspension or expulsion from the band.
OTHER PERFORMING ENSEMBLES
Concert Band: Our concert band is open to all students in grades 9 – 12 and may be taken for credit. The band rehearses daily during the spring semester and performs at various times throughout the school year.
Jazz Band: Membership is open to all middle and high school students who qualify by auditions, to be held in January. Rehearsals are held after the regular school day. The jazz band performs at various times and venues throughout the year.
Alumni Band: This group is made up of all interested graduates of the GSHS band program and is run by members of the groups. The Alumni Band performs at Homecoming and the annual holiday band concert.