FMB Handbook

This handbook is published to eliminate the possibility of student and parent misunderstanding by providing a source for marching band policy.  It is hoped that all band members and parents take the time to read and understand their responsibilities for the smooth operation of the Fairbanks Band program.  Please keep this handbook for future reference.
Statement of Purpose
The Fairbanks Marching Band has several important purposes and goals:
To provide a quality education in the musical arts;
To improve students self-confidence, self-discipline, and work ethic;
To provide leadership opportunities and to foster an atmosphere conducive to music and learning;
To prepare students to become better persons, musicians, and citizens by fostering responsibility, personal excellence, and teamwork;
To encourage artistic expression and to provide a forum for students to perform music to parents, students, teachers, and members of the community;
To provide a pleasant and helpful social experience for all involved in the Fairbanks band program and;
To instill in students an awareness of music’s important role in the enrichment of the human spirit.

A Few Words About Responsibility
The marching band program in the Fairbanks Local Schools forms a vital and highly visible part of the total school and community life.  This group represents a large, highly-trained, hard-working, and well-disciplined segment of the student body.  The responsibility associated with membership in this organization is broken down as follows:

Responsibility to Ourselves
We owe ourselves the responsibility of always demanding the best that each of us has inside of us.  As individuals and members of the group, we must set personal and group goals and perceive each as a challenge to be achieved to the best of our potential.

Responsibility to Each Other
We owe each other the patience and understanding to respect the rights of each other and form relationships of mutual respect and caring.  Anti-social actions will simply hurt each individual and subvert the goals of the group.  The phrase about a chain being only as strong as its weakest link is especially applicable within the context of a band program, and we owe to each other the sense of responsibility to do our individual best so as not to limit the band to shallow individual limitations.

Responsibility to Our School and Community
We owe our classmates, parents, and fellow citizens a fair return on the investment of time, money, and interest which they give to us.  We must at all times strive for the best possible performances and the highest standards of conduct at all times, as our action reflect not just on ourselves individually, but on the Fairbanks Schools, and the community of Union County.

Students in the Fairbanks Marching Band must meet the following criteria:
Must have successfully completed the 7th grade music program.
Must be officially registered for band as an academic class
Members of the marching band color guard must receive approval
from the band director.
Must have permission of a parent or guardian to participate.
Have the approval and consent of the director.
Exceptions may be approved at the director’s discretion.

*All school rules are in effect at all times, whether the group is on campus or  any other location (i.e. football games, contests, parades, trips.).  
*The members of the Fairbanks Marching Band are representatives of Fairbanks High  School and are expected to conduct themselves accordingly.
*Any unbecoming behavior can result in dismissal from the group, temporarily or permanently.

As a member of the Fairbanks Marching Band, you have an obligation not only to yourself, but to the organization to attend all rehearsals and performances.  These are all mandatory events.  There are very few excused absences and these must be cleared in advance with the director.
As a member of the Fairbanks Band Program, you have an obligation not only to yourself, but to the organization to attend all rehearsals and performances.  These are all mandatory events.  There are very few excused absences and these must be cleared in advance with the director.  Each member must follow this procedure to receive an excused absence from an event:

To be excused from a rehearsal:
The excuse must meet the school’s guidelines for excused absences.  Reasons such as work, babysitting, no ride, or events not approved in advance by the director are unexcused absences.
The student must submit a note from a parent to the director no later than 48 hours in advance of the planned absence.  This note must state the reason for the absence.  Late notes will not be accepted…the absence will be unexcused.
Marching band members who are also participating in fall sports will need to follow the schedule agreed upon by Mr. Keller and the coach of the sport.  This will be agreed upon in advance and it is the student’s responsibility to be in the correct place at the correct time.  No note is required for these absences, as they are pre-arranged.
Any unexcused absence will negatively affect the student’s attendance grade.
If a student is absent to school, the excused absence for school covers that day's rehearsal.  No additional note needs to be given to Mr. Keller.  The also means, however, that an unexcused absence to school also counts as an unexcused rehearsal.
To be excused from a performance:
Attendance at performances is of the utmost importance, as they affect the quality of the group.  The only excused reasons for missing a performance are personal illness, death or marriage in the immediate family, military duty, and school sponsored events cleared in advance with the director.  Reasons such as work, dates, vacations, college visits, or any other reason will be considered unexcused and will negatively affect the student’s attendance grade.
The director must be contacted by a parent about the absence in question at least two weeks (14 days) in advance.  The earlier I am contacted, the better the chances of the absence being excused
In order to be excused, a parent must contact Mr. Keller via phone or in person as to the nature of the absence.  If it is an approved excused absence, then the parent must then submit a note to the director to document the absence.
If a student is absent to school, the excused absence for school covers that day's rehearsal.  No additional note needs to be given to Mr. Keller.  The also means, however, that an unexcused absence to school also counts as an unexcused performance.
Mr. Keller reserves the right to enforce or ignore this policy for extenuating circumstances.

Again, The following reasons are the only ones considered excusable for a performance:
*  Sickness or emergency.
*  Death or marriage in the immediate family
*  Military Duty
*  Other school-sponsored events (to be cleared in advance)

A Word on Vacations:
Vacations, family or otherwise, should be planned around rehearsal and performance times when given the schedule in advance.  Vacations will NOT be an excused absence from a performance during the school year.  All students are to attend band camp unless excused by the director.

The Milford and Marysville Holiday parades, although are not during the first quarter, are expected performances for marching band members and the director reserves the right to change a grade based on an unexcused absence at either of these events.

"It is the obligation of the Fairbanks music department to provide notice as far ahead of time as possible, and in return, it is the obligation of each student to arrange for his or her schedule to meet these commitments." 

Grading Policy
The breakdown of a student’s grade is as follows   

    30 points - Attendance at rehearsals.
    30 points - Attendance at performances.
    30 points - Conduct, effort, and attitude.
    10 points - Tests (may be playing or written tests.)

100 points total

Test Grades
Each student will complete at least one playing test during the marching season.  The material will consist of music the group is currently playing, memorization, drill, or any other topic that the director sees fit.  Students will be notified at least one week in advance of any such tests.  Students will be graded on a 10-point scale.  If more than one test is given, the final score will be the average of all playing scores.

Attendance Grades
Rehearsal Grade
The rehearsal attendance caption contains 30 points.  Each member is allowed one unexcused absence with no penalty, as long as a note is submitted at least 48 hours in advance.  Each unexcused rehearsal following will incur a 5-point deduction from the 20 points.

Performance Grade
The performance attendance caption contains 30 points.  As performances are the most important responsibility of a marching band member, any unexcused performance will result in the forfeiture of all 30 of these points.
Unexcused absences at vital rehearsals and at performances may also include being benched for future performances, if the director sees it necessary.

Conduct Grade
Good behavior, substantial effort, and a positive attitude are par for the course in this group.  It is assumed that there will be no problems in this caption.  However, if incidents do occur of unacceptable behavior, or lack of effort is shown, the following scale will be applied:

First Offense - a verbal warning will be given.
Second Offense - the offense will be documented and five (5) points will be deducted from the 30-point caption.  Detention may be assigned.
Third Offense - the offense will be documented, a copy will be sent home to the parents and ten (10) points will be deducted from the 30-point caption.  Detention will be assigned.
Fourth Offense - the offense will be documented, and a conference with the student’s parents will be scheduled.  Fifteen (15) points will be deducted from the 30-point caption.  Again, detentions of greater lengths will also be assigned with each offense.
Serious Offenses or Disruptions may call for expulsion from the group. 

Grade Summary
Marching Band is a 1/4  credit class.  The total number of points at the end of a term will be tallied and the following scale will determine a letter grade:

  1. 98A+
  2. 94A
  3. 92A-
  4. 89B+
  5. 86B
  6. 83B-
  7. 80C+
  8. 77C
  9. 74C-
  10. 71D+
  11. 68D
  12. 65D-
  13. Below 65F

Grades will not be rounded up.  No exceptions.

Rehearsal Rules
*Please show respect for your fellow band members by remaining quiet.  To effectively make music together, we need clear communication.  Talking and horseplay detract from our level of concentration and performance.
*Rehearsal will begin promptly three minutes after the bell has rung during the school day.  Students are expected to be in their seat, ready to play when rehearsal is to start.  Unexcused tardiness will not be tolerated.
*Students are only to touch and play their own instrument.  Only percussionists may handle percussion equipment.
*No food, beverages, or gum is permitted in the band room.
*Cell phones are to be off and away during the school day and during rehearsals.  Phones will be confiscated if seen or heard.
*Listen intently to all comments the director has to make during rehearsal.  Each comment may apply to you, also.  Be attentive.
*Learn your part in each composition thoroughly.  Home practice will be a requirement during you band career.
*ADAPT TO CHANGE!  Changes often need to be made to improve our performance.  Don’t get frustrated.  Change is a necessary part of your life in this group.
*Students are not to read in class.  Novels, notes and the like will be confiscated on sight.  Please concentrate on the task at hand.
*Never say “I can’t..”
*How you practice a performance is generally how it will be given on the final day.

Marching Band Rules
*Students should come prepared for each rehearsal with instrument, music, and drill charts.
*When in uniform, hair is to be off the collar, tucked into the hat.  No visible jewelry is to be worn (watches are permitted), and no extensive makeup is permitted (except guard).
*Also, whenever a member is in uniform, they are to be in complete uniform, that is pants and coat. (gloves and hat may be removed)  In extreme temperatures, exceptions may be made, but only by the director.
*Shoes must be kept polished and in good condition.  Gloves are to be white and in good condition.  Frequent washings will keep them like new.
*Plumes are not to be exposed to rain.  If it begins to rain, place it in the bag promptly.
*Gauntlets are property of the school and should be returned with the uniform.  If they are lost or damaged, the student is financially responsible for replacing them.
*No sunglasses are to be worn while in uniform unless instructed by the director.
*If any member is not in proper uniform, he or she may be prevented from performing and will  be written up with a conduct offense.  
*Misconduct of any kind in marching band may be disciplined with laps at the discretion of the director.

Bus Conduct
When you leave Fairbanks High School with the band, you are a representative of the school and should conduct yourselves as such.  It is asked that you follow these policies when traveling on the bus.

*No smoking, drugs, or alcohol is permitted, period.
*Profanity will not be tolerated.
*Maintain silence at all railroad crossings.
*Use moderation in singing and talking.  Screaming and laughing loudly bothers some people.
*Keep hands and arms inside the bus at all times.
*Stay in your seats while the bus is in motion.
*Reserve front seats for the directors.
*Stay on the bus until you are asked to unload.
*Do not ask to change buses.
*Be on time for departure.  You could get left behind.
*Do not yell out bus windows.
*Leave the bus as you found it:  clean and with the windows up.
*Band members are requested not to ask permission to drive to away events.
*Band members may not be excused from a bus ride unless a parent makes direct arrangements with the Director.
*In the absence of the director, chaperones are to be treated with an equal  amount of respect and what they say, goes!
*All other school rules are in effect on the bus, also.

Student Responsibilities

Students are expected to come prepared to all rehearsals and performances.  Music, drill charts, clipboards, instruments, and a pencil are a must for every rehearsal.  Each student should come prepared for performances with all parts of their uniform, instrument, and music.  In chronic cases of forgotten instruments or music, situations will be handled as behavior problems and will be treated as such in the grading policy.
It is the responsibility of all students to keep the band room, rehearsal field, storage areas, trailer, and buses tidy and clean.  Instruments should be put on shelves when not in use during the day.  Practice rooms are to be left cleaner than you found them.  Stack chairs and stands neatly after each rehearsal.  Students are not permitted in the band office unless the director is present or has given permission for entry.  Students are allowed to use the band office phone if permission is granted, however, no long distance calls are to be made.
School Instruments
Instruments that are property of the Fairbanks Band and are issued to you, and are to be treated even better than your own.  Repairs and replacements are costly and are not affordable in this day and age.  Students will be held financially responsible for any damage done to the instrument while is in their possession.

It is the responsibility of each member to arrange his or her transportation to and from the school before and after events.  Itineraries are published no later than Tuesday of each week and are historically accurate within 15 minutes.  Do not wait to arrive at the school to arrange your ride home.  Band Staff will stay 30 minutes after the bus returns, and are not responsible for members who did not arrange for their own transportation.

As the marching band is the most costly segment of the music department, it is frequently necessary for member to participate in fund-raising activities.  It is expected that all students participate in these activities to insure the future of the group.  If, for some reason, a student is not to participate, the director must discuss this reason with a parent or guardian.  If your family prefers to give a donation in lieu of participation, please contact Mr. Keller to calculate a fair share.

Uniforms are a large investment for any band and, with proper care, will last a very long time.  Uniforms are to be treated with the utmost respect and care.  Coats and trousers are to be hung on a hanger when not in use.  Students will be held financially responsible for any damage to or loss of any uniform part.  Current replacement costs are:  Coat-$150, Pants-$75, Hat-$50.  A $25 cleaning fee will be collected at the beginning of the school year to assist in keeping the uniforms in prime condition.  Marching shoes will be sold at the beginning of each season for approximately $25.  Gloves are also to be purchased to complete the uniform and will cost around $2.00.  Any member not in full uniform at time of performance may not be permitted to march.  Any student found mistreating or neglecting a uniform will be dealt with accordingly.  It will be treated as a conduct offense and points will be taken off the student’s grade.  A uniform contract is included at the end of this document and must be signed and returned before students will be permitted to wear their uniform.

Uniform Rules
*Always hang your uniform neatly.  Fold pants from the bottom, line up the creases, and slip into the hanger.  Put the zipper of the coat in the back.
*Never sit on an unprotected seat. As a general rule, look before you sit.  If it’s not clean enough to eat off of, don’t sit on it.
*Always put your gauntlets in your uniform bag.  You are responsible for returning them at the end of the season.  Extra gauntlets are $10.00 a pair.
*Keep your gloves clean by washing them regularly.  A little bleach will keep them their whitest.  The first pair is free, each subsequent pair is $2.00.  There are no IOU’s.  Pay for them when you get them.
*Plumes are fragile and expensive ($25).  Handle them only by the metal cap when putting them in or taking them out.  If it rains, put plumes in the plastic bag.  If you break a plume, you are responsible for replacing it.
*Shoes should be polished regularly.  If they are dingy, you will not be allowed to march.  If they are vinyl, a little windex will get them clean.  Do not put your shoes inside your uniform bag, they will only get it dirty.
*A $25 cleaning fee will be assessed at the beginning of the school year.  It will cover three cleanings and any maintenance.  If you get your uniform dirty in between these cleanings, it is your responsibility to notify your section leader of the damage.  The Flag Corps uniforms will be laundered together.  If you have iron in your water, do not wash at home.  
*Always wear your band shirt under your uniform, so that we may take off coats when it is hot.  If someone does not have their band shirt on, the coats stay on!
*After each performance, your uniform must be inspected by your section leader before turning it in to the uniform rack.  Failure to do so will result in disciplinary action.
*Uniform abuse is to be treated as a conduct offense and my affect your grade.  Treat the uniform with the respect it deserves.  Do not leave it lying on the ground.  Do not put extra ketchup on your hot dog.  Do not wipe your nose on the sleeve.  (Just Kidding)  If you are careful, your uniform will take good care of you.

Student Leadership Opportunities

Field Commander
Each spring, auditions will be held for marching band field commander.  Persons auditioning for this position must be at least  a  one year veteran of both the marching and concert program.  The field commander is responsible for all field conducting, fundamental rehearsal, leading parades, and assisting the director.  This person may also serve as an assistant conductor for Basketball Band and Concert Band if approved by the director.

Squad Leaders
Squad leaders are selected by the director to assist in marching fundamentals, rehearsing music in sectionals, organization, and operation of both the marching and concert programs.  Selection is based not only on musicianship, but leadership and scholarship as well.

Managers are individuals that assist the director in managerial tasks during the marching season.  Their jobs include coordinating trips, taking attendance, filing and distributing music, and assisting with uniforms. These members receive full class credit.

The director reserves the right to amend this handbook at any time.  Questions or comments about this manual should be addressed directly to Mr. Ben Keller.  Mr. Keller and his family respectfully ask that you not call our home unless it is an emergency.  Voice mail is checked twice daily and once in the evening.

School Phone - (937) 349-3721 ext. 1306
School Email -

Web Page/Blog – AND
You can always find up-to-date information, pictures, and calendar of events on the Fairbanks Band web page.  Visit us at and bookmark us!

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