Are you a freshman or new to the Sunset Apollo Marching Band and Auxiliary program? Confused about what band camp is and why you need to go? Look no further – here are some answers you’ve been looking for:

WHAT IS FRESHMAN BAND CAMP? Freshman band camp is the first full week of August (check the calendar for specific dates) with instruction and rehearsal especially for freshmen (or new members). You will learn the basics of how to march, how to follow commands, terminology, etc., so that when you show up for full band camp you’re not completely clueless. Only freshmen (or students new to marching) attend. The only older students that might be there are the drum majors and section leaders to help with instruction.

WHAT IS (FULL) BAND CAMP? Band camp starts after Freshman band camp (check the calendar for specific dates) and is an intense practice and preparation time for the band and colorguard to learn the program for the upcoming fall marching season. During this time, you will get lots of instruction and rehearsal to learn the fall program, both the choreography (i.e., the marching part or color guard program) and the music. When the camp is complete, the band and colorguard will know a substantial part of their fall competitive program. Mr. Hall highly recommends that you be familiar with the part for your instrument before band camp starts if you receive it.

WHO WILL BE INSTRUCTING ME? Sunset’s Director of Bands, Greg Hall, is in charge of band

camp. There are several other instructors (“caption heads” and “techs”) who instruct particular groups (i.e., percussion, the pit, colorguard). There are also student drum majors and section leaders who will assist with your instruction.

WHAT SHOULD I BRING? Band camp days are long, usually from 9:00 am to 6:00 pm, so plan accordingly and bring what you need for the day. This should include:

• Your instrument and anything you need to play it.

• A 1” 3-ring binder with about 25-50 page protectors in it to keep both your music and your marching “dot sheets.”

• A very small spiral notebook (3×5) and a pencil to keep in your pocket (or on a lanyard) to mark your field positions (known as a dot book).

• A large container of water for the day. A full gallon is highly recommended. You are outside much of the day and lots of water is crucial.

• A hearty sack lunch (or money for lunch) and some snacks. There is a long lunch break, so there is time to walk to Chipotle, Jersey Mike’s, Safeway, McDonald’s or Taco Bell to buy lunch if you prefer.

• Sunscreen. Put it on in the morning before you go to band camp and reapply all day.

• Beach Towel for laying on the grass

WHAT SHOULD I WEAR? Comfortable clothes – shorts and t-shirts are fine; wear tennis shoes – not flip flops or sandals (you can’t march properly in flip flops or sandals). Wear your hair up. Hats and sunglasses are advisable, too.

SOUNDS LIKE A LOT OF WORK . . . . It is, but it is also lots of fun! Many students can’t wait for band camp each year. For freshmen, it means you will start your first day of school at Sunset already having new friends and knowing a bunch of kids, including upper-classmen. That always helps ease the first day jitters!