Please make sure to look at the Student Handbook and these FAQs before contacting a director. We encourage under classmen to reach out to their section leaders as well if there are any questions that can be answered through them. The handbook is linked here!
Q. When does marching band start?
A. Marching band starts the first week of July with practices held typically twice a week until pre-camp, which is held daily during the second to the last full week of July. Band camp starts the last week of July).
Q. If my family has a vacation planned, during band camp this time, can my student miss practice?
A. There are no excused absences during pre-camp or band camp. You will need to make other arrangements. Any other absences not during those weeks will need preapproval by the director.
Q. How much does marching band cost?
A. Marching band fee is $650 of which a $250 non-refundable deposit is due April 1st.
Q. How do I pay the marching band fee?
A. The marching band fee can be paid online using Morton 709 e-Funds or in person at the high school front office. You may pay the fee in full or in four monthly $100 installments beginning May 1st after paying the $250 deposit by Apr 1st. If you have questions about payment options, please contact the main office at the high school.
Q. What does the marching band fee cover?
A. The marching band fee covers meals, snacks, and drinks for a week at band camp. Additionally, it covers charter bus transportation, lodging, and food for out of state Bands of America competitions as well as various meals, snacks, and drinks throughout the season. Finally, it covers the cleaning of each student’s assigned uniform, two pairs of performance gloves, practice gloves, and show t-shirt.
Q. Will there be any addition costs?
A. Each student will need a pair of MTX marching shoes (approximately $35, sizing, orders, and payment are taken during pre-camp). These can be used throughout their years in band. Each student will also need two pairs of long black socks (purchased by parents). Additionally, the school district requires all students in any activity to pay an Activity Fee of approximately $98. This Activity Fee will be paid one time each school year and the student can do as many activities all year as they choose. It helps the district to pay for school bus transportation costs associated with the activities. The Activity Fee can be paid when your student registers for school or the school will send a bill to all who haven’t paid and are in activities in early fall. Students who borrow a district instrument will also be charged a $50 fee to help with cleaning and maintenance of the instrument.
Q. What does the schedule look like during the school year and where can I find it?
A. Typically rehearsals are on Monday and Thursday after school and on Tuesday during the evening. Drumline, color guard, and pit may rehearse at different times with the exception of Tuesdays - that will be communicated by the specific sections. Every Saturday, starting late August, is either an all-day practice or a practice and a competition with the exception of Homecoming. You can find the calendar by going to www.charmsoffice.com and clicking on Enter/Login and selecting Parent/Student in the dropdown menu. Type in mortonbands (one word) for the password and you will have access to the calendar.
Q. Will my student be able to handle the homework with the band schedule?
A. Yes! The band students become great time managers! Many of the students take all the honors classes and are still successful in both band and school. The majority of the students opt for a study hall in the fall since they are PE exempt.
Q. Is there an informational meeting that I should attend?
A. A mandatory informational meeting will take place in March. You will receive an email regarding the time, day, and location.
Q. Does my student need a physical?
A. No, marching band students do not need a physical in order to participate. They will need to register on 8 to 18 (a link will be provided a few weeks prior to band). 8 to 18 is an agreement by the student and the parent acknowledging awareness that students will be subject to random drug testing. This registration is required for every student in any activity at the high school.
Q. Why do so many students choose marching band in high school?
A. Students find it fun, challenging, a great way to make friends, and they never sit the bench! Marching band teaches more than music, it teaches leadership, commitment, and teamwork. Marching band students who have graduated look back on these years as the best years filled with friendships and they find they know how to work hard to complete something they didn’t think was possible on day one.
Q. What do parents say about their students being in marching band?
A. Parents have found that although it is a bit overwhelming at first, they love marching band! Yes, it is even fun for the parents! It is a great way to get to know other parents and be involved at the high school level. There will be many times throughout the season that parents will be able to participate.
Q. How do we know what the travel plans are for the band students?
A. The travel plans for the band - students, staff, and chaperones, will be made through the school. The school/administrator will coordinate transportation and hotels as needed. This information will be communicated to students and parents via the standard communication methods (weekly newsletter or specific emails regarding travel). Please make sure you are registered in Charms to receive the newsletters.
Q. Is band camp really 8:30AM - 9PM? How does that work?
A. Yes, students will be with the band from 8:30AM - 9PM during the week of band camp. They will be given plenty of water breaks (everyone needs a large water bottle/jug). Lunch and snacks will also be provided to the students during this week. We are fortunate with our newly updated facilities that the band is able to stay in town for this week of camp vs. in the past having to travel to Northern Illinois University.
Q. Do parents travel with the band? Stay at the same hotel?
A. Parents and family are welcome to attend any and all of the band competitions, but they are on their own to make travel arrangements. The band does not provide this service. The exception would be the parents serving as the band chaperones, their accommodations are arranged for by the band to ensure they are with the students.
Q. What practices, games, competitions can my student miss?
A. Expectation is none. Once band camp starts in July, all rehearsals are required. Every football game and competition performance is mandatory. Unlike an athletic team, the band has no “bench”, if your student isn’t there, it leaves a hole on the field and impacts other student’s performance. If there is a family emergency, please contact the director immediately.
Q. How do I get involved/volunteer?
A. There are several ways to get involved and support the programs. First, come to a Band Booster meeting, this is a great way to learn about what’s going on behind the scenes. Second, read the frequent email requests to volunteer (once you’re registered in the Charms system) throughout the season, this could be anything from baking for a travel weekend or helping build props. Third, sign up to volunteer! We need help in areas like food prep, props building and painting, food serving, uniforms, concessions, marketing, finance, special events, pit crew, etc. There is something for everyone and it’s a great way to make the most of your time with the band. Many hands make light work.
Q. How do I get Morton Band gear?
A. The primary opportunity to purchase Morton Bands gear is during our online merchandise sales through Teamworks. These online stores have Morton Band logo items such as t-shirts, sweatshirts, stadium chairs, blankets, hats, string bags, etc. We strive to offer new items, and offerings change seasonally so check in often. Another opportunity is the parent show shirt (same design as the students in a different color) and the invitational shirts sold as part of our fundraising efforts during our annual marching invitational held in the fall. All of our merchandise sales include a modest fundraising amount that is used to support the band program. We appreciate your pride in sporting the Morton Bands gear and your monetary support for the program. Merchandise sales are announced in the weekly email newsletter and the Morton Band Parents Facebook page, so be on the lookout!