Marching Contest – a beginners guide

There are two types main types of marching contests that we will attend this year. “Invitational” and “UIL” contests.

For Invitational Contests:

1) We won’t find out our performance times until about two weeks before the contest. Once we know the times, we’ll post them on the Online Calendar.

2) Usually there are 15-20+ marching bands entered into each contest. Each one of these bands performs in the preliminary round, which starts early in the morning and goes until about 5pm. As stated above, we will be scheduled a preliminary performance time about two weeks in advance.

3) There are 5-7 judges in prelims who rank each of the bands based upon the scores they earn in each of their captions (or categories such as marching, music, percussion, guard, general effect). The top 10 bands from prelims will perform again in finals that evening. Bands will either perform in random or ranked order in finals (10th place performs first, 9th place performs second, etc). This means that should we make finals (which is a BIG deal in itself), we won’t know our finals performance time until at least 5pm that day.

4) Each of the 10 finalist bands perform in the evening, usually starting at around 7pm. After all the finalists perform, the judges tabulate the finals scores and the final contest ranks are announced. Scoring starts all over again in finals and typically, many of the judges switch captions (or the categories in which they are judging) in finals. This makes the finals round almost like a whole new contest.

5) All of this makes contest day a pretty long day. You should plan for our two non-UIL contests (Desoto and Wylie) to take all day.

For Region UIL Contests: 

1) We will find out our performance time about two weeks in advance. Once we know the time, we’ll post it on the Online Calendar. This contest happens during the school day and the kids will miss classes in order to attend.

2) Each band only performs once at the Region UIL contest. There are no prelims or finals.

3) Three judges will each give the band a rating on a scale of 1 to 5.

– 1 (Superior)
– 2 (Excellent)
– 3 (Good)
– 4 (Fair)
– 5 (Poor)

4) As opposed to the Invitational style contest where bands are competing against each other, at UIL, bands are not ranked against each other. Rather, the bands are each evaluated independently and given a rating based upon the UIL standards.

5) The band is given an overall rating based on the combination of the three judges scores. For example, if a band gets a 1, 1, 2… that band’s overall rating would be a 1 (called a 1st Division or “Superior” rating).

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