Each year our band receives invitations and requests to have our program perform at local events. While we are always honored to be asked, it is very difficult to honor these opportunities. Given that this program is made up of young musicians whose first job is to go to school, we must be very careful to limit the demands on their time and talents to those activities that further their music education and allow time for them to pursue their other responsibilities and joys.
There are numerous aspects that go into scheduling one of our ensembles:
Suitability of the Event
Does the event fit into the academic process to which we adhere? Does the performance advance their musical education, support a universally worthy cause, and occur at a time when it is practical to schedule the performance?
Timing of the Request
The band program schedules in April, prior to the upcoming academic year (September-May). This means your May event needs to have been requested 13 months ago whereas September events could be considered four months in advance. We do not maintain an “on call” philosophy; everything is scheduled well in advance and precisely managed. We do not perform in June, July, August or during school calendar holidays.
Elements that can be Requested
We have several in-place programs as well as the ability to create ensembles. Below is a list of the groups we could offer:
- Marching Band
- Pep Band
- Symphonic Band
- Jazz Ensemble
- Brass Ensemble
- Small Ensembles (TBD by the director)
The process of moving, staging, and programming are challenges that must be overcome for each group. Moving a marching band requires buses and up to 10 adults to supervise. A marching band needs a lot of space too. A brass choir doesn’t boast a repertoire of pop tunes. A Jazz Ensemble needs electricity. The request for performance must include an understanding of what groups need to support your event.
The high school band program is in place to support music education in a comprehensive educational institution. We are not professional musicians looking for work or exposure. We are not equipped, nor do we wish to compete with professional musicians. For a school-based group to accept an invitation, there must be, on balance, a benefit to this program and the students.
Costs, Expenses and Copyright Licenses
Transportation is a major issue. Transporting a band can cost as much as a thousand dollars for just a few hours within Loudoun County. The cost of music is a consideration as well. Purchasing published music can run anywhere from $50 to $200 per piece. Custom arrangements can cost up to $750 per minute of music. If the event you’re asking us to perform at includes any admission fees or other costs borne by attendees, you would have to secure performance rights for all the music.
It is common practice to support the program that has made the effort to honor your request. It would be appropriate that a donation to the program be made commensurate with the effort put forth by the program. An average rate of $25 per student is an easy way to calculate what a suitable donation should be. A marching band honorarium would be about $2,000. A brass ensemble would be around $750.
We would love to support every event, every cause, and every worthy invitation. It is simply impossible to do that and maintain a valid music education curriculum. There must be a compelling reason for the students to have their time taken. There must be a benefit to their education and their program. Thank you for your interest. Hopefully this information has been helpful.