VALLEY BANDS 101

From the Valley Band Boosters

Our Mission

The Valley Band Boosters provide visibility, communication and support for the band programs at Valley High School with resources that ensure growth and development for all students.  We want to enlighten, excite, and educate the participation of our students through music!

The Valley Band Boosters provide support to band students and the band programs at Valley Southwoods and Valley High School.  Financial support provided through the Valley Band Boosters is intended to facilitate high standards of excellence in the band programs by helping to cover supplemental expenses of band activities at Valley High School and Valley Southwoods. 

Our Bands

CONCERT BAND

Valley has three concert bands: Symphony Band and Concert Ensemble at VHS, and Valley Southwoods Band. Concert bands form the core of the band experience for a student and provide an opportunity to mature as a musician.

Concert band performances are scheduled throughout the year; please see your district calendar or check our website, www.valleybands.org, for concert dates and times.

Concert band uniforms are provided for an annual fee of $75.  Students will be notified of fitting times. Concert uniforms go home with students, who dress at home prior to concert performances. Boys wear a tuxedo, and girls wear a skirt and blouse. Boys must wear black socks and dress shoes; girls must wear closed-toe black shoes with hosiery.

All-State Band Auditions are held in the fall. Schools are restricted on the number of students each school may send to auditions, so there will be an in-school audition process prior to All-State auditions, which are typically held in Indianola. Students must provide their own transportation to auditions. It is a tremendous honor to be selected.

Perry Band Olympics is a solo and ensemble contest in February. Participation has traditionally been mandatory. Students must select their own music and, once the piece has been approved by their director, must sign up online. Students are required to contact and pay for their own accompanist. A list of accompanists will be posted in the band hall. Students must provide their own transportation to Perry for their designated time. Many students perform in solo, duet, and may also be asked to perform in ensemble.

Adventureland Band Contest is an all-band contest held in the late spring at alternate locations depending on the year (not at Adventureland!)  

All-State Ensemble Contest is an all-band contest held in the spring.

More information about these events will be provided by the directors closer to the time of the events.

MARCHING BAND

The Valley Marchmasters are the most public face of the band program. Marching band rehearsals are held at the end of the school year, followed by camp beginning in August. Students need to bring water bottles and sunscreen, wear comfortable shoes and dress for hot weather.  Uniforms are fit during the summer. For performances, dressing is done at the stadium by the Marchmasters trailer. Students are to arrive with long black socks, black shirt and shorts or long johns to wear under the uniform, depending on weather. No jewelry or nail polish is allowed during marching season. Practices are outside, and weather can take a toll on your students’ instrument as can dents or dings – be prepared.

Early bird morning practices are held during fall mornings and present widely varied temperatures – students need to dress accordingly. Afterward, freshmen walk up the hill to Southwoods and sophomores through seniors either drive themselves or ride the shuttle bus to Valley. If your student is riding the shuttle bus, the directors need to be notified so they can provide identifying information to the WDMCS Transportation Department.

For home football games, students are told when to meet beforehand for practice. Students dress prior to practice (no eating once in uniform). Students warm up in the grassy area behind Jordan Creek Elementary. The band plays a pre-game show and then sits in north end bleachers until the half-time performance. After half-time and putting uniforms away, students are then released. Parents generally try to sit together and pre organize a location for viewing show.

The Marchmasters perform in the Homecoming Parade sporting spirit wear. Meeting time and location is announced to students during spirit week.

During the last home football game, parents join their senior student in recognition of their participation in Marchmasters. Timing of senior recognition during the game varies from year to year.

The Marchmasters participate in several competitions. Attending a competition is the best way to watch your student perform and hear the performance (good for videotaping) as competitions are focused on the band, unlike halftime shows. See your calendar for dates. Johnston Invitational, Ankeny, state competition at Waukee, and an overnight or all day out of town competition are typical outings. Professional pictures are taken at state competition. 

The Band Boosters also host Valleyfest, a marching competition that is the biggest fundraiser of the year for the entire band program. Valleyfest presents a terrific opportunity for ALL parents to help the band program by volunteering – ValleyFest is an enormous operation and requires a substantial volunteer effort. It is also a great way to see other bands, meet other parents and meet your student’s friends.

The week of state competition is “decorate your band students’ lockers week.” Parents typically use streamers, posters, photos, and candy (no peanuts or latex balloons) to decorate their student’s band locker. The Band Boosters will be available to provide locker combinations and numbers. This celebrates the efforts of the band during the season and encourages the band to obtain a top ranking at state – the Marchmasters have an amazing history of over 50 consecutive top rankings at state competition. 

JAZZ BAND

The jazz program at Valley presents an opportunity to play an exciting library of music while learning improvisation and general proficiency with an instrument. Jazz bands are smaller and more intimate than the other bands in the program and provide the opportunity to form close friendships with other students. The Band Boosters help support four jazz bands: Jazz Orchestra and Jazz Ensemble at Valley, and the Ellington Band and the Basie Band at Southwoods. Jazz Band participants are preselected in the spring by audition. 

Performance season usually kicks off with Jazz in the Hall in November.  Jazz in the Hall is an evening of music, food and drink that has become increasingly popular. Each jazz band performs numerous concerts at their respective schools and also attends various contests and clinics throughout the year. 

Your Participation

It is so valuable to the band and your student that ALL parents are involved; there are so many volunteering opportunities. Parental participation in the band program begins with the Annual Parent Meeting. This all-band informational kick off meeting is held just prior to the first week of school. This is a great opportunity to sign up for volunteer opportunities, purchase band apparel, donate to the program, and meet other parents and faculty. 

The majority of the band budget comes from the Band Boosters. Please make your Band Booster donation at the Parent Meeting or contact the Booster Treasurer. Funds are also generated through fundraisers, apparel sales, and ValleyFest. Please consider the upper level of donation. Budget and expense details are reviewed at the Parent Meeting. 

All students are required to fill out a health form. This form is a school requirement and serves as a signed document permitting medical treatment should it become necessary. Parents may be required to fill out the volunteer form designated for adults as well. These forms are available online at www.valleybands.org. 

The band program has a calendar full of events and fundraisers of which you can be a part.  A partial list of those events follows. Each of the listed items is always in need of helpers. See the calendar on the webpage for specific dates and times. 

FUNDRAISING EVENTS/PROGRAMS

Valleyfest

 Our main fundraiser, this is an all-day marching band competition. It draws bands from all over the state and the Midwest. Money raised supports concert band and jazz band as well as marching band. ALL band students and parents are expected to volunteer for at least one shift. Valley does not compete, however, the Marchmasters perform as the final band of the evening prior to awards ceremony. In 2016, Valleyfest occurs on Saturday, October 8.

Band Buttons 

Marchmaster and Jazz photos are taken and made into buttons for parents and family to show off their student. These are for sale at the Social and during the year. Sets of 2 sell for $10.00. Additional sets can be purchased.

Band Apparel

T-shirts, sweatshirts, jackets, yard signs and other items will be available at the All Parent Meeting and other concert events as well as available online. Valleyfest apparel will be pre-ordered prior to ValleyFest. This is one of the best ways to support our Valleyfest show, the Band Boosters, and your student.

Jazz in the Hall

An evening filled with food, dancing and music by VHS/VSW jazz bands. It is held at VHS Cafeteria.

Spring Awards Concert (aka Spring Fling Wing Ding)

This is the end of the year awards ceremony and senior celebration featuring both concert band and jazz band performances. Students are asked to wear dress casual clothes.