We are one short week away from the first competition of the season. Some of you may be anxious not knowing what to expect. Some of you may be anxious knowing exactly what to expect. Here’s an example of how a typical competition day can go (this does not include TOC – Tournament of Champions, the last of our competition days slated this year for November 17, which is a whole different beast of its own. More info on that another time.) It’s a lengthy blog, apologies for that, but there is a lot going on! If you want to skim be sure to read the bold-faced italicized type or at the very least take a glance at the Take Away Points at the end. Thanks.
Call Time: Saturday 5am at RHS. Call time can be as early as 5am or late as 8am. It all depends on where we are going and what time our parade is scheduled. In the past, parade start times have been anywhere between 11am to 2pm. Students are expected to arrive with all their gear; uniforms in bag, instruments (if not kept in the band room), and personal needs for a full day out. These items may include but are not limited to sunblock, extra clothes, and homework. If they are part of Truck Crew they already know what needs to be done. Truck Crew, along with the Drum Majors, will direct other students to help load the trailers and truck with the essentials for the long day ahead. Pit and drumline students will be loading their instruments and auxiliary equipment. Other students will be helping with supplies from the REU Connex for setting up Base Camp for the day. The best thing a parent/guardian can do regarding loading is to stand aside. The students need to learn to work as an efficient team when it comes to loading and unloading so it’s best to leave them to it. (The exception to this is when we return home from competition. Parents who are waiting in their cars to pick up their kids are more than welcome to come out and help put away for the night. The faster this is done, the faster everyone can go home!) Adults looking to assist while students load can seek out a booster parent who may be prepping breakfast/lunch/snacks. A Signup Genius link would more than likely have been put out to the masses beforehand detailing what kind of help is needed on comp day from parents/guardians. The SignUp Genius is also a great way to get a feel of the timeline for that particular day. Be sure to take a look at it.
Departure: 730am-8am. After the trailers and the truck have been loaded, the students line up to board the buses. Smaller instruments are stowed in the belly of the bus. The students board with their personal belongings and uniforms. One or two booster parents are assigned to ride in each bus. Mr. Miller always rides in Bus #1. Believe it or not, it is said that most of the bus rides are pretty low key. Probably because most of the students go to sleep. Volunteering to chaperon on a bus also means a free ride for you. This is especially awesome when returning home at 1am. You may sign up to chaperon one way or round trip.
Arrival: 10am-ish. We arrive at our first location where the Street portion of the competition will be held. Base Camp set up depends on the day’s schedule and whether or not we will be going to a different location for that night’s Field Show portion. Normally it is two separate locations so that’s what this example is. When this happens the boosters split up. There will be a lunch crew with pre-made lunches to hand out – these lunches may have been handed out prior to bus loading at RHS or lunch is given/served to the students on location – again depending on performance time.
The booster leaders of the dinner crew goes ahead to the second site to set up Base Camp there. Parents/Guardians who sign up to help on a competition day are only expected to show up on time for the shift they signed up for. The Signup will tell you where to go. However, we won’t complain if you show up early and can lend a hand. Base Camp requires setting up of the REU canopy, multiple folding tables, stand-alone burners, maybe the grill, or even a toaster oven. If the students are available they will do a lot of the setup. Volunteers are needed for meal prep, serving, and clean up. Meal prep can include chopping veggies, prepping fruit, or cutting buns to name a few things. Cooking is done by our “resident chefs” AKA seasoned booster volunteers. This is not to say new cooks are not welcome! If you are interested please let us know ahead of time.
Parade: 11a-2p. In this example, REU is scheduled to march its Street Show at 11:30am. About an hour or so before that they have dressed and warmed up. Volunteers will also help REU with before, during, and after show things like checking uniforms which might include mending uniforms and providing water to students. Sometimes it’s quite a trek to the actual start mark of the parade. Volunteer parents walk along side with a wagon of bottled water to help keep the students hydrated. The weather at our first competition in Elk Grove can be exceptionally hot. Parents are not allowed to walk in the street during the performance so they follow alongside on the sidewalk best they can to meet the band at the end. During the colder days the need for hydration is not as urgent but there’s always a need for support! It does help the students’ morale considerably to see a familiar face in the crowd. The parade itself is short considering all the prep we’ve gone through for it. Less than ten minutes. So if you’re going only to watch the parade you might think of saving it for a comp closer to home.
If lunch wasn’t already had this is the time for it. If we need to go to another location lunch might be served there instead. Details regarding any given comp day will be available on the RHSEU Website. Our Communications volunteer will also try her best to get out info via Remind and/or Facebook.
Parking. For the street portion of the day parking is anywhere you can find public parking in that area. Sometimes this can be quite a hoof away. For field show parking depends on the host school. There are only a limited amount of spaces to park with the buses – usually only one or two spaces max. REU prefers that these spaces are reserved for those parents who are on the main support crew – those transporting food/supplies that couldn’t fit on the trailer/truck. All other volunteers and spectators are advised to find parking where the general public is directed. Please be respectful of the host site’s rules and regulations. We will try to include parking details on the RHSEU Website on each competition’s page.
Dinner: Around 5p. Our meals are thoughtfully planned by our most seasoned booster parents and “resident chefs”. They try their best to provide nutritional and tasty meals with options for vegetarians as well. We try to anticipate and accommodate every taste and need to the best of our abilities. If your student has a specific need or allergy please let us know or have them bring their own. Students are not allowed to go offsite so don’t depend on the fact that they may be able to buy something in the area. The host school may or may not have food stalls/trucks.
Field Show: 8:00pm-ish. You may notice the huge gap between parade time and field show time. We are one of the few schools who compete in both categories. Since many of the locations are quite far from home it makes little sense to leave and come back. Be prepared to camp out all day at the host school parking lot/grounds. Students are expected to stay on site the entire day. Parents can come and go as they please. You are welcomed to bring camping chairs and personal coolers or anything else to make your day more comfortable and to pass the time. Please pay attention to weather reports and come prepared for cool nights even though the day might have been scorching. You can also go watch other schools perform. You will have to buy a ticket for entry (this includes Pit Crew volunteers, whose freebie entry is only contingent on pushing on and off during REU’s own performance. More on that below.). REU is one of the larger schools to perform. Groups are divided into Divisions ranging from (1A – 6A) which are determined by the number of members. The performance schedule at any given competition is usually ordered by Division with the smaller groups performing first. We are currently in Division 5A and are usually scheduled near the end of the evening. The students will start warming up and prepping a couple hours before hand. While this is happening Base Camp is cleaned up as much as possible leaving only bare essentials out for an after performance snack.
Pit Crew will be gathered about half an hour or so before heading towards the field. Each member will be assigned a student in the Front Ensemble to assist. There is also the main podium to push out (takes 2-4 people depending on the size of people), sound board and speakers. No prior experienced is required and limited spots are available. You will be pushing equipment directly onto the field therefore you will be staying on the field on the sidelines during the performance. After the performance is concluded you will assist with exiting the field. This must be done in an organized and timely manner. Pushing on and off is part of the scoring criteria.
Awards. Our performance is done but it’s not over yet, people! After the field show REU will break down and pack up while waiting for Awards. The Awards portion of each competition is presented at the end of the evening after all schools have performed. There is no entry fee for this part of the day. Usually, bands will sit together while their Drum Majors and some or all Captains will take the field to receive awards. Be forewarned, awards are NOT quick. Awards can be entertaining though because every school has their own signature move when accepting. They can get very creative! After awards is the mad dash home. Hopefully we had enough time between our performance and having to go down to accept awards for packing up so that once awards are done all there is left is to get on the buses and leave.
Arrival at RHS: 1130p – 130am ETA for RHS arrival is solely based on our departure time. Communications will try to send out a Remind when they leave the comp location so that you will have an ETA. This is one of the rare times you will receive a Remind text after 9pm. Often times the trailers and truck will arrive at RHS before the student buses do. If this is the case, parents/guardians waiting to pick up students should feel free to jump out of cars and help start unloading. It normally takes about an hour for everything to be unloaded and put away. At which time the Drum Majors will release the students.
And that’s a wrap! Whew. It’s a fun day, really. Long, but fun, even for the parents. Parents love cheering during the parade and some even come back for the awards. If you can’t imagine staying a full day come to a few different competitions at different times so you can get a bit of everything. You’ll be glad you did.
Take Away Points - essentially a summary of this blog in list form:
We compete rain or shine! Be prepared for all sorts of weather. Dressing in layers is ideal.
If you’ve got it flaunt it! Be sure to wear your REU Spirit Wear.
The best thing a parent/guardian can do regarding loading is to stand aside. The students need to learn to work as an efficient team when it comes to loading and unloading so it’s best to leave them to it. (exception is when arriving at RHS at the end of the day – see below)
Be sure to utilize all REU resources for info about Comp Day. Ie. Remind, Facebook, Website
Bus chaperon can be one way or round trip. It’s a free ride!
Newbie volunteers welcomed! REU works hard and needs your support. Veteran volunteers are more than happy to show you the ropes.
If you aren’t able to volunteer at a competition consider working a shift of Bingo instead. Parents who normally work Bingo can’t be in two places at once.
REU Boosters do a pretty awesome job of feeding the students but children can be bottomless pits when it comes to eating! Some comps have food stalls/trucks so a little pocket money can’t hurt.
Special dietary needs/allergies please alert an REU Board member at least a week in advance.
The parade is short, less than ten minutes. If you’re only coming to watch you may want to choose a comp close to home.
The parade is free to watch but field shows have entry fees. It’s a fundraiser for the host school after all. Prices in the past have averaged around $10.00 - $15.00 a person.
Stadium seats or cushions are a nice have if you plan on watching the field show. So is a blanket.
Members of the REU Pit Crew get into the field show free of charge (only during REU's show) because they’re helping to push on and off all of that equipment. Pit Crew sits on the sideline on the field during the show. Available spots limited. No experience necessary.
Communications will try to send out a Remind when the band leaves a competition so that you have an ETA for RHS – this is one of the few times you will receive a Remind after 9pm
Upon arriving at RHS at the end of the day – if you’re waiting in your car for your student you may consider coming out to help unload so things go quicker.
Above all – don’t be afraid to ask questions! All Board Member contact info can be found on the website.
Thanks for your patience. Hope to see you at a competition!