USSBA revises group sizes for the 2011 marching band season

Multi-year study results in minor modifications

After a lengthy analysis of the size of participating bands over the past several years, the US Scholastic Band Association has revised group sizes for the upcoming  fall marching band season.  Bands will continue to be grouped into six group sizes by total number of marching members per unit, with different member counts for bands in Texas and those considered National by the USSBA.

What you need to know:

  • Participation in the USSBA is in six group sizes .
  • All participating students of the band will continue to be included in the group size count.
  • Group sizes are also further subdivided by A and Open based on the level of achievement of the participating bands

“One of the key points of differentiation for the USSBA is that we offer participation in six group sizes, as well as two levels of classification, A and Open,” said Sean King, director of the USSBA, in announcing the new member limits for group sizes.

“Given current trends, there have been minor fluctuations upward and downward in certain groups, but we believe by mildly tweaking the numbers it will be more representative of the true sizes of the bands for 2011.  We are happy to report that overall participation has not varied too greatly, even after the economic conditions felt in the past few years.  In some cases, we are seeing a few programs continue to grow and thrive thanks to the dedication of teachers, students and parents.”

Even with all of that news, the USSBA did consider a more drastic change.  King continued, “After numerous post-season conversations with bands, there was significant discussion internally about revamping the groups to account for only the number of winds.  Also, a consolidation of the number of groups was discussed, but not enacted upon.  In the end, we believe the tradition we have created by counting all members of the band, from winds, percussion, colorguard and drum majors in a full six classes, has served our bands well and we will continue with this as a main foundational difference between our approach to the activity and others.”

George Hopkins, CEO of YEA! and founder of the USSBA said, “While this does not represent an earth-shaking change to the USSBA, it does allow us to more uniformly go about grouping bands of like size in line with the current sizes of bands nationally and in Texas.”

Hopkins added, “The A and Open classes will also be undergoing a review process in the coming weeks as the Classification Committee reviews the results of the 2010 competitive season, and along with video support, will designate the classification for all bands in 2011.  Watch for more details to come on the A/Open evaluation in the near future.”

 “Thanks to the show staff who have helped us immensely by doing the member count sheets at each of the events.  Not only does it give us the confidence all bands are participating in their right group, but when it comes time to analyze these figures, we can use this data to do our review,” King said.



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