Frequently Asked Questions:

What do you need to know?


What is a Dinkle?

Great question.  A Dinkle is a special shoe that all members of the marching band are required o wear.  To keep it simple, you will give us your shoe size, and we'll order them for you.  A) we get to buy them in bulk that way, to get a better price, and B) we are 100% sure that you're getting the exact shoe that you need.  The cost of the Dinkle is built into the cost of marching band.  


Are meals provided?  At Band Camp?  For Parades?

Lunch is provided every day while band members are at camp.

Each parade is a little bit different, depending on the timing of the parade, the distance to drive and our departure time.  Generally, we'll ask band members to pack a bag lunch to eat in the bus.  Some parades provide a simple lunch or a snack after the parade.  Band members will be notified and reminded if they need to bring a lunch, or bring money for a fast-food stop on longer drives.


Where should parents sit at parades?

You can choose to sit on the parade route wherever you choose.  There are generally two or three "performance areas" along a parade route where each band performs their routine.  One of these (often, but not always the "middle" performance area) is also a judging area.  Here, judges will evaluate each band.  You'll see the judges walking around and sometimes through the band while they perform.  The judges will also be recording notes to use later in evaluating the bands.  


How are bands judged?

Each judge awards a score to a band in different areas: 

  • Music Quality

  • Quality of marching performance

  • Quality of the "show"

  • Color Guard

  • Drum Line


When are awards given?

Usually 20-30 minutes after the parade concludes, bands will gather at a spot near the end of the parade route.  There, band awards are given.  Be sure to watch the drum majors who line up to receive awards, and how they "honor" the other bands as awards are presented!

What does "adequately hydrated" mean?

If you have to ask the question, you haven't had enough water.  Go drink 20oz of water and come back and see us.  Start drinking a minimum of 80 ounces every day, when band camp starts you will need even more water.  Drink enough that you are going to the bathroom regularly and your urine is clear.  Dehydration is not fun . . .   This goes for chaperones and staff members as well!

Does the marching band fee count towards the activities family max?

Yes, it does. And if you have reached your family max for the year, the $155 activity fee will be waived. To have the fee waived, contact Tracey at the high school activities office. (507-444-8988)

Do you need a sports physical for marching band?

Yes. You will need a sports physical to participate in marching band (a good idea…marching band can be strenuous and physically demanding). Pro-tip: If your young person is going in for a standard “well-child” checkup at your doctor’s office, ask the doctor to fill out the form while you’re there. Then you can avoid the cost of a separate sports physical. You can download the form here.

What do I wear?

Before you load the bus, at the high school, you should be wearing your black socks, Dinkles, black shirt, and black compression shorts. Hair should be up for girls.

What should I bring with me to the parade?

You'll want to bring a Duffel bag or backpack, a cooler for your lunch, your uniform and your instruments. 

  • In your duffel bag, pack an extra set of clothes, deodorant, a blanket, extra bobby pins/pre-wrap, pillow, cell phones/music player, flip flops, sunscreen. (Pro-tip: NEVER put sunscreen on your forehead. When you sweat it will run into your eyes and BURN). Your duffel bag is stored under your seat along with your cooler.

  • In your cooler, pack water (no pop or energy drinks), various snacks, a sandwich of some sort, an ice pack. Bring enough food to last you before and after a parade (about 2 meals). We are fed after a parade, but usually, it’s just a hotdog and chips.

Do I bring my uniform on the bus?

No.  You need to put your uniform onto one of the uniform racks which will be outside the trailer when we load. The adult chaperones will be loading the racks onto the trailer. 

What happens before the parade?

We usually arrive at a parade 2 hrs before we perform. This way we can practice on the streets of that city. Street sizes aren’t uniform from city to city, so sometimes we need to adjust our show to fit. We start practice with basics. Then we go to drill/musical warm- ups and finish with marching our full show on the street. We change into our uniforms 30-45 min. before we go to the parade.

What does "Step-Off Time" mean?

That's the anticipated time that our band will actually begin marching.  (for example, if a parade begins at 6pm, and we are the 10th unit in the parade, our "step off time" might be 6:20pm)

What happens with the actual parade?

  • We set up the block and march to the starting point of the parade.

  • The commanders (drum majors) will tell us when to go and the drumline will play the cadence several times as we march.

  • For most of the parade we will be marching in a straight line down the street (except during our "show" performances)

  • There may be people on the sides of the street yelling and trying to distract you, just ignore them.

  • Listen to the drumline, they are the heartbeat and you will stay in step by listening to them.

  • You will get tired of hearing us say this, but TOES UP!! Especially as we come into the judges zone.

  • We perform our show about 3 times during a parade; the judged one is usually the 2nd performance. Many of the parents sit at this second judging zone. (pro-tip: Sit near the end of the judging zone, so you can see the band doing its performance while walking towards you)

  • The judges (wearing red shirts) walk in and around the band and record notes/critiques into a hand held recorder. They then write down a score for the band.

  • March aggressively and fearlessly, if a judge gets in your way march right through them. They won’t take off points if you hit them. But they might if you step out of your line to avoid them.

  • Most of all, remember to have fun!

What happens after the parade?

  • You will be sweaty and tired afterwards. It's just the way it is.

  • Immediately after we finish the parade, we will gather in "arcs" by section. (horns together...woodwinds together...etc...) . Mr. Guenther will say a few words about the day then dismiss us to get snacks and change.

  • Girls usually change first in the buses. (if they take too long the guys will get mad.)

  • You change out of your uniform and shoes/socks. You can keep your shirt and shorts on or change and put on flip flops.

  • Once changed get off and put your uniform back on the rack.

  • Then we go to the awards ceremony, there are 1st 2nd and 3rd place for each bracket. There is also grand champion and several caption awards (best drumline, best color guard). After awards we go home, sometimes we listen to the judges tapes on the bus ride home. Many people nap or watch a movie and talk. When we get home it’s your job to clean up - instruments go into band room lockers and uniforms go upstairs unless you are told differently.