History of the Marching Band
In existence for more than 90 years, the Cary High Marching Band is one of the most visible and active groups on the campus. It includes most woodwind and brass instruments, percussion, and color guard; membership is open to any Cary High student who displays proficiency in any of the areas noted above.
The Band usually has a “trip” each year which involves going to an out-of-state performance during our competitive marching season or over Christmas or Spring Break. Some of these trips have included three Tournament of Roses Parades, appearances at college football games from the Orange Bowl to Cotton Bowl, and Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade. In 2016 the Band is making another appearance at the Macy’s Thanksgiving Parade. In 1998, the Band represented Cary at the London New Year’s Day Parade and presented concerts in Cary’s sister city, Le Touquet, in France. In 2000 the band returned to Le Touquet, with a trip to Bruges, Belgium, a performance at EuroDisney, and a visit to Paris.
Band Participation Benefits
Band students learn more than just marching and music. They develop skills of responsibility, teamwork, and leadership that prepare them for life. Hard work, dedication and commitment by its members are key ingredients that make the Cary Band successful. The Band pushes toward new levels of performance each year; excellence has always been a tradition that every student strives to uphold. Due to the amount of time the students spend in practice, travel, and competition close friendships and a feeling of camaraderie develop.
Rising 9th grade students who want to participate in the Band program need to notify their Band directors in Middle School. They will be expected to attend Band Camp in late July or early August to learn the program for the Fall season. Students who move into our district during the early part of the school year can also join.
Marching Competition Preparation
Although the Band’s competition season starts at the end of September, the preparations for that show start in January when the “theme” of the show and actual musical score are chosen. Practices start in March and continue to the end of the school year. The Drum lines, Horn lines, guard, and woodwinds meet after school; rising 9th graders come to Cary to practice. By the time August Band Camp arrives, the show has been written for the band and guard, music has been rehearsed, and props and flags are being made.
Band Camp is traditionally held at the end of the summer prior to school opening. The band students work intensively at camp. Marching basics are learned and they are introduced to the new marching “sets” that make up the new show. These practices continue after the school year starts and during the competition season as changes are made and the show fine-tuned.
The Band’s competition season starts at the end of September and continues every week-end until Cary Band Day, usually the first or second weekend in November. On years when then the Band competes at Grand National the competitive season ends mid November. This involves leaving Cary around 7am on a Saturday, and not returning until 2am Sunday. If there is a home football game prior to a competition, the Band has to leave after their half-time show, in order to pack uniforms, instruments, pit equipment, flags and props in the transport trailer that night.
By the end of one season, all the practice sessions, including Band Camp will add up to over 200 hours for this one show. This does not include performances at half time at Cary’s football games.
Cary Band Day
Held for more than 55 years, Cary Band Day is the longest running band competition in the Southeastern United States. Many bands from North Carolina, Virginia, and South Carolina participate in this community event. The competition sees up to 40 bands compete for prizes not only for field competition, but also for the Cary Band Day Parade. As host Band, Cary presents two performances, but does not compete. The Band students, Booster parents, and Alumni strive to provide the best experience possible for competing bands and many hours of planning and work go into an event that runs from 10:00AM to midnight.
Award and Recognition Dinner
Every May, a dinner and Jazz Band concert end the year’s activities. Parents and students celebrate the end of another year, and letters, bars, individual awards, and a scholarship are awarded to students who have earned them. New Booster officers are recognized as they officially accept positions for the next year’s Band, and Senior students receive their plaques and appreciation for the contributions they have made to the success of the musical programs at Cary High School.
Yearly Contributions of Cary High Band Programs:
- Music for Drama Club plays
- Woodwind, brass and percussion support for Orchestra
- Pep Band for football and basketball games
- Half-time entertainment at football games
- Graduation performances
- Music for school sports rallies
- Music for school assemblies
- Cary High representation at state and national field competitions (Nationally ranked)
- Lazy Daze
- Governors’ Inauguration parades
- Christmas parades in Cary and Raleigh, NC
In all these performances, Cary Band is the visual symbol of our school and community. When the Band performs outside of Cary, it may be giving others their first impression of our high school and town. The Band has long had a reputation for “standing out” as a well-disciplined, visually exciting, musically accomplished band that has consistently won awards in difficult competitions.
The Band is the largest organized competing team at the high school that has to work together and produce winning results. No one is ever sitting on the bench, all members are required to perform at the same time for every competition, and the equivalent of 7 football teams are doing precision movements while playing difficult music.
When the announcers at field shows say “Cary High School, you may enter the Field of Competition”, like Cary High’s athletic teams, the Band is putting their hours of practice and hard work and talent on the line to represent our school; they have a Tradition of Excellence.