What to Expect – MIHS Band

New to the Mercer Island High School Band?  This page is intended to introduce you to the MIHS Band experience. The Mercer Island High School Band program has a place for every interested band student.

Band Class Assignments. All Mercer Island Band students are required to participate in band year-round, starting with Marching Band in the Fall, continuing with Animal Band in the Winter and then as a part of one of four Concert Bands in the Winter and Spring. Each year, students are assigned to a one-period band class based upon their concert band designation. All band students are assigned to Concert Band their Freshman year, and then audition each subsequent year to determine their placement in either Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony or Wind Ensemble.

Student leadership. Student leadership is a critical component of the MIHS Band program. Each Spring three Drum Majors are elected as student leaders of the Marching Band, and representatives from each concert band are elected to be a part of the Band Student Advisory Council (BSA.) In addition, each instrument section has a set of leaders that have been selected as Section Leaders. Section Leaders are responsible for weekly sectionals as well as listening assessments and are  the first to ask when band students have questions. This year’s student leaders can be found here.

Marching Band starts with a required week-long band camp in August and continues throughout football season. Attendance is mandatory all home games (Friday nights), field rehearsals (Thursday nights prior to games), the Homecoming Parade, and some playoff games. In addition, weekly sectionals held by section leaders are also required.

Animal Band. During basketball season, students are assigned to one of three animal bands that play on rotation at home games (usually Friday or Wednesday) throughout the basketball season. Student are responsible for finding their own substitute if they are unable to perform as an assigned game.

Concert Bands. After football season, students begin to focus on concert band performances. All bands perform at the Fine Arts Showcase in the winter, the Eastshore Band Festival in March, and the High School Band Concert in May, as well as other performance opportunities. Motivated students also may prepare and compete in the Washington State Solo and Ensemble competition and audition for the State Honors Band.

Sectionals. During marching Band season, each Section Leader will hold one sectional per week. Each section has multiple Section Leaders and as a result multiple opportunities to attend the required one sectional. These sectionals are required as they provide a unique opportunity to learn and perfect performance pieces. These sectionals are in addition to normal class time and rehearsals.

Community Outreach. The Mercer Island Band does at least one service project during the year, a yearly Canned Food Drive to collect food for local food banks. In addition, MIHS band members perform at a variety of community events such as the Schools Foundation Breakfast. Many band students also choose to participate in the Seattle Music Partners tutoring program.

Performance Trips. The Mercer Island High School Band has been invited to national and international performance venues. On years that include performance trips, additional rehearsal, fundraising and volunteer commitments are required by all band students.

Private Lessons While private lessons are not a requirement in order to participate in the MIHS band program, they are encouraged. Students hoping to move into the upper ensembles will benefit greatly from the individual attention, specialization and instrumental expertise a private teacher is able to offer.  A list of private teachers can be found under Resources on this website.


What to Expect

  • Mid-August – All band students are required to participate in the week-long Band Camp held at MIHS. Detailed information including calendar, music requirements and uniform fitting will be emailed to families by the end of the year.
  • End of August – All band members are fitted and uniforms are distributed.
  • September to Early November – Marching Band Season including home football game performances, pre-game rehearsals, and sectionals. Homecoming Parade participation downtown in October.
  • End of September – All State Band audition recordings for motivated students.
  • Mid-October – All Island Band Night performance at a home football game with bands from 5th through 12th. Pizza Pig Out fundraiser.
  • Mid-December – Full band winter concert
  • January and February – Animal band rotate performances at basketball games. All State Honor Groups (if selected.) Eastshore Region Solo and Ensemble Contest.
  • March – Eastshore Band Festival (during the school day) and State Basketball playoff participation for Animal Band.
  • April – Concert Band Auditions for the next year
  • May – Spring High School Band Concert, Band Awards night and other special guest performance opportunities.
  • Late May – Early June – Canned Food Drive
  • June – Graduation performance for Sophomore and Juniors
The specific schedule for the year will all be published on Charms