MARCHING BAND FAQS
How does being in a college Marching Band compare to my high school experience?
The “Spirit of San Antonio,” like all college bands, is comprised of students who have been members of championship high school bands as well as students whose high school didn't even have a Marching Band. This diversity of backgrounds makes it difficult to compare college with high school. However, the talent level and maturity of college band members allow them to perform at a high level during a shortened rehearsal schedule. The “Spirit of San Antonio” will perform a standard pre-game show, 4-5 different halftime shows, play lots of stand tunes, maintain UTSA traditions, while at the same time promoting a positive learning and social environment for its members. College bands strive towards being fun and spirited organizations while still achieving a quality of performance representative of the image of our great University regardless of performance venue.
What is the size of the “UTSA Roadrunner Marching Band?”
In order to ensure a high level of performance excellence, university ensembles generally have a set number of spots in Pre-game and Halftime shows. This will ensure that all of those performers who have high performance skills and a great attitude are placed in performance spots. There may also be members designated as “swings” to enable us to cover spots left by illnesses or emergencies. We anticipate achieving a membership comparable to other universities of our size (32,000 students). This past season, we had 260 members. It is a very exciting time at UTSA!
How much time does being in the Marching Band require?
Marching Band is a class (MUS 3801, CRN 16181), and therefore requires enrollment during Fall semester (Sep-Dec). Rehearsals are held each Monday, Wednesday, and Friday from 7:00 to 9:30 pm, with the color guard and percussion members arriving at 6:00 for sectionals on Mondays and Wednesdays prior to rehearsal with the full band. The full band rehearsal time is used to prepare for performance at (usually) six home games, homecoming parades, Pep Rally’s, community performances (civic and business) and performances at high school Marching Band competitions when our schedule permits. There is also a pre-season band camp. Even though we could often use more than the 6 hours per week rehearsal time, a high priority of our program is to not interfere with the academic demands of our students. Therefore we accomplish all group rehearsal within the time that is scheduled.
What about Summer Band?
Because the first performance of the Marching Band season usually takes place during the first week of school, we have found it necessary to begin one week prior to the start of school in the Fall. During this week members learn and reinforce Marching basics, learn our pre-game show and our first halftime show. Obviously, rehearsals are intense during those days but the attitude and talents of university students make this one of the most memorable and enjoyable weeks of the season.
What expenses can I expect as a band member?
The only expense for members is your performance shoes - (for all instrumentalists, about $30.00). They must be purchased and in the performers possession come the first game. The Spirit of San Antonio uses a white (non-shiny) Dinkle style marching shoe. All travel expenses (including meals) are covered entirely by UTSA. Any trips to away games cover transportation and lodging and most meals, leaving the students with only the minimal cost for incidentals.
Are there scholarships available for Marching Band members?
Yes, there are opportunities for Talent/Service type awards for participants in the UTSA “Spirit of San Antonio” These opportunities will be made available to the entire ensemble during Summer Band.
What about away games and trips?
Band performances at games usually include 6 home games (generally all day Saturday) and the possibility of a short in-state trip if that opportunity exists in our football schedule. An additional over-night trip is a possibility if there is an away game that is close enough for bus travel and our budget and schedule allow for it. These trips will not take you away from school more than two or three days of classes per year. In order to give the band and university good exposure, these trips typically include activities such as a performance at a high school festival or theme-park, as well as the game itself. The performance schedule for each season is finalized by the first day of classes so as to allow sufficient time for the planning and coordination of work and family schedules.
What about Bowl Games?
UTSA has accepted an invitation into the BCS Conference USA & will be eligible for BCS bowl games. This is an absolutely incredible opportunity for UTSA SOSA members to take part in college athletics on the largest stage possible. This is one of the reasons that interest in this new organization is so incredibly high.
Aren't most of the members music majors?
The marching membership in university athletic bands is typically 20% music majors, and 80% from majors other than music. University bands have students from virtually every major on campus. Students from all courses of study enjoy being a part of university bands because they still want to perform on their instrument and have an "outlet" from their other college studies. Of course, the music majors are also an important part of the organization and many of them see this experience as a way to prepare for future careers in music.
Can I participate in both Marching Band and a concert band?
YES!!! Many band members (even non-majors) do participate in both marching and concert bands simultaneously. Also, since the Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, and University Band are offered both semesters, there is the possibility of joining a concert band during the Fall Semester. Instrumentalists are encouraged to continue performing year-round and the non-auditioned University Band provides the opportunity for many.
How do I join?
The "Spirit of San Antonio" is open to all UTSA students and the membership process is explained on the Assessment Page. We look forward to creating great memories and traditions with you!