CONTESTS & COMPETITIONS
Clear Brook Band is probably the most competitive out of all the 5 Clear Creek ISD High Schools. With that, a majority of our Saturdays in October are spent at contests.
There are two types of contests.
A “one and done”, meaning we go, perform, get our score and leave.
A “prelims & finals”, meaning there are two phases to the contest.
In the preliminary round there could be from 15 to over 30 bands performing, usually about every 15 minutes with some breaks throughout the day. Sometimes, after the last band performs, there will be an exhibition performance by the host school while the judges tally the scores.
Depending on when in the schedule we perform during prelims, the kids will take off parts of their uniforms, eat lunch, relax, etc. Sometimes the students will go sit in the stands to watch the remaining bands.
Then, they have a prelims awards ceremony. The awards ceremony takes about 15 minutes. Awards are typically given out by Division (for example: 4A, 5A, 6A). Some contests also have caption awards for different aspects of the show (best music, best guard, best general effect, etc...). Then, finally the top 10-12 overall rankings (regardless of Division).
If we advance to the finals, the directors will get a finals performance time. The kids will get back into uniform, warm up again and perform the show again.
Lastly, there will be a final awards ceremony.
During most competitions, no one is allowed to walk up into the stands while a band is performing. So when you are planning your arrival, give yourself plenty of time to park and get to a seat before our performance time.
Contest days can be long for parents too! There are some things you might consider bringing with you.
Bottles of water (this can get expensive if you buy it from concessions)
Portable snacks (granola bars, Goldfish, crackers, raisins, fruit snacks, etc)
Cash for concessions
Umbrella (for rain AND shading the sun)
Tylenol/Band Aids/Tissues (You will be surprised how often you use these!)
If we have an early prelim performance time, there could be hours in between performance and awards. So, what do parents do during the long contest days? Some hang out at the truck. Some parents stay in the stands and watch all of the bands perform. Depending on the location of the contest some may go home and come back. There are often groups of parents that will go somewhere for lunch. If you are hanging out at the truck, you could bring a camp chair and possibly an umbrella to shield the sun. There are also some parents that have little kids at home that don’t want to bring their kids out all day at a contest. Mr. Hughes will usually announce our prelim results via Remind, so you will know when the finals time is so you can come to see finals.
Swag & Costs
All contests sell souvenirs. There is usually a shirt designed for each contest with the year. There are also patches for the contest (again, with the year). If you think your kids might want a t-shirt, budget $25-$30. Patches are around $5. And, all contests (with the exception of UIL Region) have admission fees. You can either buy just prelims, just finals or an all-day pass. Each contest is different in how much they are. Mr. Hughes tries to include information about admission and parking in the detailed itinerary he sends for each contest.
Various Contest Tips
We go to a variety of contests each year, but there are two that are consistent each year.
The first contest is in Friendswood, at Friendswood High School. We typically do very well in this contest. If you have never been over to Friendswood High School, their parking areas are very small. People will be coming and going all day depending on their band’s prelim time so parking spots do open up, you just have to hunt for them. There will also be a shuttle bus running between one of their other schools and Friendswood High School.
UIL Region Marching Contest – This is a one and done contest. Think of it like you do the UIL Concert and Sight Reading Contest that occurs in the spring. Each band performs their marching show and they receive a rating of 1, 2 or 3 from the three judge panel.
There are some competitions that enforce rules on what kinds of bags are brought into their stadiums. Mr. Hughes tries very hard to let us know before hand, but sometimes he doesn't know until we get there. Such as, the Alamodome in San Antonio only allows clear backpacks in their stadium. Other stadiums may enforce a size limit. Most competitions have a website you can see details of and those kinds of things are often times listed.
Qualifying for State
On even numbered years, there is a state competition. Each band that receives a “1” at the Region Marching Contest will advance to the UIL Area Marching Contest. The UIL Area contest is a prelim/finals competition so it will be an all-day event. For every band in our UIL Division that gets a score of “1”, 5 bands will advance to the state marching competition. For example, if there are 43 bands in our division and 40 bands get a “1”, 8 bands will go to state. If only 39 bands get a “1”, 7 bands advance to state.
There are some contests that require the band to travel and stay overnight in another city. When this happens, the kid’s hotel, food and entry fees to each venue are usually covered in your band fair share fees.
We understand this is a LOT to take in! At any time, ask any questions you might have! All in all, contest season is fun! Hang on for a wild ride from the end of September into early November! We will all be exhausted when it is over but will look back with fond memories.