© 2018 Fairfax High School Bands All Rights Reserved


Q: What is a band competition?         

A: It is a gathering of high school marching bands performing their halftime shows under strict rules and time limits, hosted at a high school or college. Awards are given. Bands are usually judged on criteria such as musicality, uniformity, visual impact, artistic interpretation, and the difficulty of the music and drill (steps or movement). To make competitions fair, bands are normally split into different classes or divisions.  The number of band members determines the class—with the largest bands being Division I, and smaller bands being classified as Division II, III, and IV. FHS Marching Rebels are a division, group or class 1 or 2. Here is a link to the VMBC https://www.vmbc-online.org/9-21-blueridge-regional 


Q: How does the band travel to the competition?

A: By bus, usually coach buses.


Q: Why are they so long?

A: Each competition is different. Competitions can be an all-day or late into the night event. All band members and volunteers arrive at school earlier enough before departure time to load the buses and the equipment truck. The band must arrive at the competition at least 2 ½ hours before their performance time to allow for unloading the buses and equipment truck, changing into uniforms, stretching, warming up and walking to the gate of the stadium with all instruments, PIT equipment, and props. Often after they perform they watch other bands, and wait for the awards ceremony. During this time the percussion equipment and props are loaded into the equipment truck by the student (and some parents) truck loading crew. After the awards, everyone returns to load the buses to return to FHS. A detailed schedule is created and shared with all band families before each competition.


Q: When does the band eat?

A: Snacks are allowed on the bus. Only water or clear liquids, please if the band is wearing any part of their uniform. No eating when wearing their band jackets. Often the band will have a chance to purchase a meal or snacks form concessions at some point during the competition. So students should bring some cash.  Sometimes we ask the students to bring their meal to eat on the bus or pre-packaged meals are purchased. Water and Gatorade are always available when the band arrives at the event and during warm-up. What food options are available are always listed in the detailed schedule.


Q: What are Spirit Boxes?

A: Spirit Boxes are fun decorated shoe boxes exchanged between section members on some competition day. This is something directed by the Drum Majors and Section Leaders. Your student will receive a list of a fellow student’s likes, such as chips, soda, candy. Items are placed in a box and delivered when they report to the band room before a competition. It is a fun way to have a little surprise and snacks for the bus ride.  If you have questions, you or your student should contact their section leader.


Q: How do I reach my student in an emergency? 

A: Try your student's cell phone. If you don’t reach your student then call the Competition Coordinator, their information is always listed on the schedule.                                                                                                                    


Q: What does a band member bring on the bus?

A: Their complete uniform, hat, and gloves, instrument and accessories.  Most instruments go under the coach bus along with the garment bags. For color guard, competition uniform, show uniform, makeup, accessories and after performance uniform, change of shoes. Depending on the travel time length, snacks, pillow, blankets, cards.                                    


Q: How do we know when they will be arriving at FHS?

A: We ask the students to text or call their parents about half an hour before we will arrive at FHS. Plus, the approximate arrival time will be posted on Facebook.


Q: Can parents and families attend? 

A: YES!  We need our cheering section!  Arrive early and enjoy other bands before FHS performs.


Q: Is there an entrance fee? 

A: Yes. Every competition is different, fees are between $10 to $25 per person. Plus extra for a program.


Q: What if we want our student to drive home with us and not on the bus?

A: If your student is not going back to Fairfax HS on the bus, notify Mr. Buchroeder and the student and parent must speak with their bus chaperone before leaving. 


Q: What if my student will be late to the competition, such as SAT testing? 

A: You or your student must email and speak with Mr. Buchroeder and make arrangements for arrival time and a meeting place.  Please email the Competition Coordinator with the details.


Q: Are competitions mandatory?



Q: What if my student is sick or has an unavoidable conflict?

A: You or your student must email and if possible, speak with Mr. Buchroeder as soon as possible.  He will approve an excused absence. Please email the Competition Coordinator with the details.


Q: If I’m a chaperone, do I have to ride the bus?



Q: If I'm a Pit or Prop/DMS volunteer can I ride on the bus? 

A: Yes, most of the time.  


Q: If I’m a volunteer for the Pit or Prop crew/DMS and I’m not a chaperone do I have to ride on the bus?  

A: NO. You do need to arrive close to when the band arrives at the event to help move equipment to warm up and then to the performance. Or some parent volunteers come closer to the performance time just to help pull the equipment on and off the field. Also, many volunteers stay until the truck is loaded for its return to FHS.


Q: If I’m a volunteer, do I need to pay the entrance fee?

A: It depends on the competition and how many free passes we are given. If you are a Pit or Prop volunteer, no, you will get a pass to be on the field.


Q: How do the band members know which bus to get on?

A: A bus seat assignment sheet will be posted in the band room before the first competition for students to sign-up for which bus they want to be on. The bus assignments are the same for all competitions.


Q: What if my student wants to change buses? 

A: A bus change must be approved by Mr. Buchroeder.


Q: Why do students need to wear shorts/sweats and show shirts under their uniforms?

A: That way they can take off their uniform to eat or travel more comfortably. Plus in cold weather, they have extra layers to keep warm.


Q: Where does The Guard change?

A: Sometimes in changing areas or in the bathrooms at the stadium or school, but most often on the bus. The bus is cleared for them, so they can change and prepare with some privacy. If it is cold they will need extra layers under their after performance uniform.

Fairfax High School Bands

Fairfax, VA

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© 2020 Fairfax High School Bands All Rights Reserved

Fairfax High School Bands

3501 Rebel Run

Fairfax, VA  22030





Band Director: Patric Buchroeder