USSBA show recaps online are passe'

Editorial: Philosophy on the switch to award sheets only

Beginning this year, we have stopped publishing the entire recap from events around the country. We began this process last year but, believe it or not, without a coordinated effort it was easier to simply post the sheets that are given to the staffs and directors following an event.

In order to understand why we would make a decision to not post, a bit of a review might be in order.

The US Scholastic Band Association was created in 1988 as an alternative to some program offerings of the time. The concept was centered in the idea that we could create events and a service that better served the band directors of the area and thus, the student experience.  Well, 22- years later we continue to grow, we learn from our mistakes and we listen to the directors and adjust as we can.

Of note … competition is NOT why we are here. We use competition as a device and yes, there is something to be learned by students through winning and losing, but such is not at the heart of the matter. How well one plays a trumpet, or tosses a rifle is of value, but the life lessons students learn including a work ethic, sportsmanship, cooperation, persistence, excellence, discipline, self control … these and many other character traits are the reason we are here and the reason most band directors wake up each morning.

With this in mind –

The practice of publishing recaps, including detailed sub caption numbers and ratings has appeared to be counter-productive.

1)      Students and parents who “dig in” to recaps are becoming upset about comparisons to bands in different shows, in different states, and with different judges. Yes, we hope there is relativity across the platform called the USSBA, but to compare such detail is not really a neither valid, nor worthwhile effort. BUT ... folks do it! And students, parents, and yes, directors, get upset concerning detail that has no real place in the competitive or band landscape. 

2)      Our adjudicators are directed to judge what they see. We do provide criteria reference as a starting point but, there is ideally to be no review of past performance. Our job is to judge what we see, that day, based on our OWN evaluation. Being consistent and copying the opinion of others is NOT what we look to do.

However, judges are fans, they do look and well, and the information can taint an evaluation. Interesting that since we took the recaps off line, we have had judges calling asking for past information. Unfortunately, the fear that folks may have been reviewing past results a bit too thoroughly may be true.

With the above in mind, we will be posting only the scores and the top finishers in captions. We also will not publish any comparatives from show to show, or state to state. We know others do this. Such is an inexact science at best and hurtful at the worst.

Do visit for the best in coverage of the USSBA season including recaps, as well as stories, details and excitement related to the largest marching band program in the world. Pass this information to parents, staff and even students. As we have learned, it is always best to let folks know WHY we do what we do. Achieving understanding is a huge step towards understanding and approval.

All the best for a great band season!


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