So you want to join a marching band? Look no further! Showband members Colleen Kehler and Curtis Polowick and brass instructor Chris Bourne have put together five tips for musicians and prospective colour guard members looking to ace their upcoming Showband auditions!

1. Come prepared!

This includes being comfortable with the audition materials that have been made available online. Chris says that staff notice and appreciate when people have practiced a lot. Plus, if you are more prepared, your stress level will be lower because you will feel more confident that you are ready. olympic parade 3



2. Plan ahead

Wear appropriate shoes and clothes, eat a good meal before you go, and make sure you  get there in plenty of time to check-in and warm-up. Also, make sure you get a good night’s sleep and drink water the day of and the day before the audition.

3. Act like you belong there

Curtis and Colleen advise that you act like you’re already in the band!  This doesn’t mean that you should act like you’ve got the audition in the bag before it’s over. This means that you should act the way you’ve seen Showband members behave at performances or rehearsals. In addition to high level skills, the Showband looks for students who are intrinsically motivated, proactive, cooperative, and resilient. Be professional, address the instructors and volunteers with respect, and demonstrate a strong work ethic.

Stampede Showband - Parade - 025-X3

4. Don’t expect to be perfect

According to Chris, “Although we expect to see a high level of ability at auditions, we are not expecting perfection.  If you make some mistakes, don’t let them bother you and remember that we want you to succeed!”. Although nerves are a normal part of auditions, don’t forget that those people who are auditioning you want you to do your best. Most of our instructors were in the band themselves, and know exactly what you are going through. Colleen and Curtis agree – treat auditions like a learning experience.

5. Keep it simple

Don’t forget fundamentals and basics, especially when you’re nervous.  For wind players, make sure you are always taking a full breath before playing, play with a full sound and use proper posture.  Forgetting your fundamentals can lead to mistakes that you normally do not make.

Calgary Stampede Showband auditions for the 2015-16 season are being held Monday, May 25 and Tuesday, June 2 in the Big Four building on Stampede Park. For more information regarding the audition process or if you are unable to attend auditions, please feel free to contact us at either 403.261.9318 or Full details about the auditions, registration info, and audition materials are available on our website: