Tired of sitting on the sidelines? Looking for info on how to get involved with Calgary’s marching bands? You’re in luck, because several local ensembles are currently recruiting new members for the 2015/16 season:

For those who need some convincing, we’ve compiled our top 10 reasons to join a marching band! If you’re planning to audition for Showband, make sure you check out our awesome audition tips!

1. Amazing Performance Opportunities

Calgary’s marching bands get incredible opportunities to perform on the Saddledome Steps during Stampede week, at marching band competitions, at sporting events, in parades, and special concerts.

The Showband has also performed for Mayor Nenshi, Prime Minister Stephan Harper, and the Duke and Dutchess of Cambridge Will and Kate. We’ve given a command performance at Buckingham Palace, been featured on the show, “Live with Kelly Ripa”, and performed on stage with Shania Twain and Michael Bernard Fitzgerald. These are all especially unique performance opportunities that would never be possible in a normal concert band setting.

In 2014, the Calgary Stampede Showband and Calgary Stetson Show Band traveled to Brazil to compete in the WASMB Championships.
In 2014, the Calgary Stampede Showband and Calgary Stetson Show Band traveled to Brazil to compete in the WASMB Championships.

















2. Earn school credits

Marching band can be a huge time commitment for students, but it pays off! Instrumentalists in junior high and high school must be enrolled in their school music program, if such a program exists, and Alberta high school students involved with the Showband can earn up to 30 additional Alberta Education credits toward their high school diploma! Plus, it is in each organization’s policies that school music functions and exams take precedence over marching band.

3. Travel the world

Have you ever wanted to travel the world? Do you love road trips with your closest friends? Marching bands tour to destinations like Japan, Brazil, Australia, Holland, and all over the USA for amazing performance opportunities and cultural experiences. In recent years, Calgary’s marching bands have competed in events hosted by the Mid-American Competing Band Directors’ Association (MACBDA), the World Association of Marching Show Bands (WAMSB), Drum Corps International Drumline Battles, and World Music Contest (WMC) Kerkrade.

4. Fun with friends

Ask any marching band alumnus, the friends you make in band are the friends you keep for life! You’ll develop relationships with people from all over the city and surrounding towns who have similar interests, shared experiences, and a love for music and performance. When we recently asked members why they love marching band, the most popular answer was about the amazing friends they’d made through the activity.

The Calgary Round-Up Band, formed in 1956, is Calgary's oldest marching band.
The Calgary Round-Up Band, formed in 1956, is Calgary’s oldest marching band.















5. World class instruction

Band members receive high quality, year-round instruction from some of the city’s best music teachers, professional musicians, and renowned clinicians. Most of Calgary’s marching band instructors are alumni of local groups, like the Showband, and many have competed at an extremely high level in the USA as part of Drum Corps International (DCI). Many staff members also have music and education degrees, actively working as music teachers in local schools or private instructors. As a bonus, the ratio of instructors to students is much lower than most music programs.

Calgary’s marching bands also work with expert clinicians who travel to Calgary for the sole purpose of working with our groups. Individuals like Ian Hale, Larry Rebillot, Colin McNutt, Michael Klesch, Jennifer Leseth, and James Sparling, who work with prestigous marching ensembles in the United States, work together to design Showband productions and actively attend rehearsals several times a year.

6. Unique learning opportunities

Marching band involves more than just parades! Calgary’s marching show bands run comprehensive music education programs designed to offer young musicians and dancers opportunities to expand their skills and perform for thousands of people. This includes concert band, drumline, indoor percussion, winter guard, stand-stills, small ensembles, and summer field show productions.

7. Get in shape!

This might be surprising to some, but band is a physically-demanding activity! Field show productions, long days on Stampede Park, weekly rehearsals and monthly band camps require endurance and keep students moving! The Showband even has a conditioning program to keep members in shape. We’ve long been proponents that marching band is better than the gym.

The Calgary Stetson Show Band was formed in 1988 as a high-energy marching show band for Calgary and area senior high school students.
The Calgary Stetson Show Band was formed in 1988 as a high-energy marching show band for Calgary and area senior high school students.















8. Leadership opportunities

Just being a member of a marching band teaches you many valuable skills such as accountability, commitment, compassion, stewardship, and engagement. Plus, there are opportunities to become a section leader or a drum major. Drum majors learn basic skills such as conducting, public speaking, and mace spinning. Plus, at the Showband, the leadership team actively works to develop and improve their communication, time management, conflict resolution, and teamwork skills.

9. It’s a resume booster

Being in a marching band shows that you have time management and organizational skills that look very appealing to potential employers and university admissions staff. Being part of the band means that you know what it is to be part of a group working toward a common goal, and you’ll have specific examples when asked about teamwork in interviews. It also shows that you are able to make a commitment and follow-through on important tasks.

In 2013, the Showband traveled to Japan to compete in the WAMSB Championships.
In 2013, the Showband traveled to Japan to compete in the WAMSB Championships. They won!

10. Grow as a musician

Did you know that the Calgary Stampede Showband rehearses over 800 hours per season? That means you have a lot of time dedicated to playing your instrument and furthering your musicality and skill set. Groups rehearse once per week and typically hold a monthly weekend band camp. Early in the season, younger bands focus on learning basic marching technique and music that will be used throughout the year. Time spent in small sectionals with like instruments allows for individualized instruction. Many teachers comment on how students who are a part of the Calgary Stampede Showband excel musically and are typically the leaders of their own band program.

If you ‘re looking for even more reasons to #JoinTheBand, check out the Showband’s Instagram, where we’re sharing photos of band members and alumni and their reasons for loving marching band!