Grand National Championships presented by YAMAHA
Frequently Asked Questions

"Why" enroll in a Bands of America Championship?
Who can enroll in a Bands of America event?
How are performance times scheduled?
What is the event format of the Grand National Championships?
What is the event format of the Regional Championships
How are the bands "classified?"
How are performances adjudicated?
Bands of America's Rules & Procedures Handbook
What is the Ticket Cooperative Fee?
What is the policy on electronic recording devices in the stadium?
Camera Policy
Copyright compliance at BOA



"Why" enroll in a Bands of America Championship?
Bands of America Regional and Grand National Championships are recognized as the epitome of marching band events in the nation. Our goal is to both provide a place where you can receive world-class evaluation and input into your program, while showcasing hundreds of America's finest high school marching bands in an exciting, positive competitive atmosphere.

We promise you:

  • An adjudication panel that has the education of your students foremost in their minds.
  • A professionally-run event that offers you and your students the most worry-free, supportive environment possible.
  • Pre-event information that will take the surprises out of contest day.
  • A staff that will do everything possible to serve you.
  • Adjudicator tapes and scoresheet commentary that you can use as an educational tool for your band's growth.
  • A high-quality, high camera video of your performances delivered at the event.
  • Personalized certificate and participation segment (on-site) for every band member.
  • Participation award for every band; ratings, class placement, highest achievement, and finalist awards.
  • Events that offer your students the chance to witness dozens of the finest high school band performances in the nation.
  • A positive atmosphere and knowledgeable audience that provide encouragement and support and promote camaraderie.

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Who can enroll in a Bands of America event?
All high school bands are eligible to enroll in BOA Regional and Grand National marching band championships. BOA defines a high school band as one in which all participating members are registered at the same high school, and students from all feeder elementary, junior high and middle schools. All events are open on a first-come, first-served basis*; bands do not have to enroll in a Regional Championship to enroll in Grand Nationals. Applications must be signed by both the director and the school principal or superintendent and must be accompanied by the Ticket Cooperative Fee.

Enrollment at each Regional is limited to 30 bands; Grand Nationals is limited to 90 bands.

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How are performance times scheduled?
Acceptance and performance times based on postmark date of application, on a first come, first serve basis. Performance times are scheduled based on a random draw. Applications received on or before a designated postmark date each year (January 31 for 2002) are eligible for the initial draw, after which performance times are based on postmark of application, with the earlier postmark receiving the later performance time. If more applications are received by the designated postmark date than spots in a show, a Bands of America point system is used to determine which bands are eligible for the initial draw. Points are allotted based on band participation over the previous four years. The point system does not affect performance times in any other way. Returning previous years' champion band is given choice of prelim performance time.

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What is the event format of the Grand National Championships?
The Grand National Championships is a three-day event, with up to 90 competing bands. Prelims/Semi-Finals/Finals format allows more bands the opportunity to advance to the next level and perform more than once.

Forty-five bands perform in each of the two separate Prelims contests, balance with like numbers of bands from each class represented in the two Prelims. Thirty bands then advance to Semi-Finals; the top 11 scoring bands from each of the two prelims, regardless of class (22 bands), and the next eight highest scoring bands from a combination of the scores from the two prelims regardless of class. The two highest scoring bands from each of the three classes from each Prelims, should they not already be among the bands selected on the basis of either criteria above, will advance. The top 12 scoring bands from Semi-Finals, regardless of class, advance to Saturday evening's finals.

In addition to the competing band performances, Grand Nationals includes an Expo, Celebrate America!, exhibition performances, Student Leadership Workshop and other special events.

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What is the event format of the Regional Championships
The Bands of America Regional Championships for marching band offer bands across the nation the opportunity to benefit from the same educational focus as the Bands of America Grand National Championships on a regional scale. Thirty bands perform in preliminary competition, with ten bands advancing to the evening finals. Bands of America Regional Championships are complete championships in their own right, not qualifying contests for the Grand National contest.

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How are the bands "classified?"
Bands are classified by school enrollment, grades 10-12 only. Class A is 600 students and less, Class AA 601-1220, Class AAA 1221-1750, and Class AAAA is 1751 and above

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How are performances adjudicated?
Bands receive taped evaluation and scoresheets from each judge. Each band also receives a Division Rating based on score. Bands of America utilizes a criteria reference adjudication system. Adjudicators use the criteria reference to assign their rating and ranking of each band.

It is Bands of America's position that the music is the more important aspect of the performance, with marching as the presentation and visual enhancement. Similarly, more emphasis is placed on general effect than on fine-line perfection.

Consequently, the point allotment is as follows:

Points Allotment
20 Music Performance Individual (on the field)
20 Music Performance Ensemble (from a vantage point in the upper stands or box)
20 Visual Performance Individual (on the field)
20 Visual Performance Ensemble (from a vantage point in the upper stands or box)
40 Music General Effect (two judges with 20 points each, added for 40 points total)
20 Visual General Effect


The Music Performance scores are averaged, the Visual Performance scores are averaged, then those averages are added to the General Effect total, any penalties subtracted, to arrive at a final score (maximum 100).

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Bands of America's Rules & Procedures Handbook:
BOA's Rules and Procedures Handbook is sent to all bands who enroll in Regional and Grand National events. It includes sample scoresheets and detailed evaluation criteria designed to support your teaching. If you would like to use the BOA adjudication sheets for your show, or would like a copy of the rules book and are not enrolled in a BOA event, there is a License agreement and $50 User fee plus $10 per participating band, up to $300 total. Call BOA for more information.

Download PDF version of the copyrighted Bands of America Rules & Procedures Handbook.

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What is the Ticket Cooperative Fee?
There is no entry fee, per se, for the Bands of America Championships. Instead, bands participate in a Ticket Cooperative program by which they pay a discounted cost for Championships tickets. With the BOA Regional Championship Participation Cooperative program, each band receives (based on 2002 season information):

With the BOA Regional Championship Participation Cooperative Fee of $650, your band will receive:

  • 25 Field Passes* for Preliminaries (Note: all bands performing in Finals automatically receive 25 Finals Field Passes at no charge.)
  • 25 Day Passes* (Day Pass includes one general admission Prelims and Finals ticket)
  • All bands will receive an Instant Video copy of their preliminary performance (bands that perform in Finals will also receive an instant copy of their Finals performance).

*Face value of tickets and passes: at least $600.

With the BOA Grand National Championships Participation Cooperative Fee of $650, your band will receive:

  • 25 Field Passes* for Preliminaries (on the day your band performs)
    (Note: Bands will receive 25 field passes for semi-finals and finals as they respectively advance.)
  • 25 Semi-finals Tickets*
  • All bands will receive an Instant Video copy of their preliminary performance (bands that perform in semi-finals will also receive an instant copy of their semi-finals performance).

*Face value of tickets and passes: at least $700.

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What is the policy on electronic recording devices in the stadium?

Video or audio recording equipment are not allowed in the stadium.

Camera Policy

Any still type camera may be used. Family, friends and fans may take still photos of BOA events for personal use only. The images may not be sold or otherwise distributed, without the written permission of Bands of America (or Music for All). Any still camera (making film or digital still pictures) is allowed into and may be used from the spectator seating area of any venue. Cameras (of any kind) may not be used on the field. People with field passes or name badges must go into the stands to take digital or film pictures. Tripods or other similar equipment that may obstruct the view or path of travel of others in seating areas are also not allowed.

Copyright compliance at BOA.

As a leader in the music education activity, Music for All takes care to comply with copyright laws. We have heard some say, "BOA's requirements are too much." BOA has no copyright requirements. Music for All only insists that its participants show evidence that they have complied with the law by providing written permission from copyright owners to perform musical arrangements. By doing so, we meet our own requirements for compliance. Almost to the very last copyright owner, that permission says an arrangement cannot be duplicated or recorded in any form by the user, without further permission from the copyright owner. Under the copyright laws, the venue where a performance is held is responsible for, and liable for, any copyright violation in its facility. Venues, in turn, pass that obligation on to Music for All. What this means is that almost all stadiums require MFA to guarantee that all copyright laws are in compliance - MFA is held accountable.

Almost to the very last copyright owner, that permission says an arrangement cannot be duplicated or recorded in any form by the user, without further permission from the copyright owner. Under the copyright laws, the venue where a performance is held is responsible for, and liable for, any copyright violation in its facility. Venues, in turn, pass those obligations on to Bands of America. What this means is that almost all stadiums require BOA to guarantee that all copyright laws are in compliance. BOA is held accountable.

All bands in Bands of America Championship events are required to provide written permission from copyright holders for special arrangements. BOA, in turn, secures the necessary live performance rights, and the right to record, duplicate and distribute the contents of performances.