Winter Guard & Percussion Funding: Why Indoor Marching Ensembles Need Extra Help



If you have spent anytime around the indoor guard/drumline activities (competitive guard and percussion on a basketball court), you know that those activities place EXTREME emphasis on the performer in the areas of accountability. On a smaller basketball court, there is NOWHERE to hide. Additionally one of the GREATEST parts about the indoor activities (and one of the reasons that I’m such a HUGE fan), is that woodwind and brass players have their sit-down concert/jazz bands to further their musical education year round. Marching percussion is such a unique musical area, and so altogether DIFFERENT than concert or orchestral percussion that those kids in your marching band’s battery section will be left behind without some sort of year-round training. And color guard – there’s just nothing nearly as interpretive and challenging than that beautiful activity. Dance training is one aspect of it but the equipment skill development cannot be replicated any other way than through indoor performance.

(OK – so that’s my philosophic rant about why indoor is important)

What is it about these activities that put so much pressure on the financial health of the Org?

It’s simple:

  • The costuming, props, and other equipment required are typically different than your outdoor marching band. While invariably a smart designer can recycle or borrow elements, these groups tend to be “their own animal”.
  • While the rosters can be smaller in color guard, some schools will field varsity and JV groups, or A/B/C levels competing in different categories (Novice, Open, World, etc).
  • Percussion sections can actually INCREASE in size for indoor, as brass and woodwind players often jump at the chance to do something different and have a new experience. More drums, cymbals, and keyboards and associated electronics can run the bill up quickly.
  • While I don’t have hard data to back this up (and tell me in the comments if I’m wrong) – indoor budgets tend to be much smaller than the outdoor band. Some have told me “We get the leftover money from the fall, if there is a surplus – otherwise we’re on our own.” 


Even programs that are taking a strategic view of financially budgeting for a fully-armed-to-the-teeth indoor season sometimes fall shy of what’s needed to put the full production on the floor that the designers actually want.

More commonly though – indoor becomes more of a reactive ensemble that is quickly-assembled with what you have – and that is rarely enough to get the job done.


Here’s the good news:

FansRaise makes it easy to put together an effective campaign, capable of raising A LOT of money in a short time frame. A 10-week campaign is no-good, in that by the time the revenue comes in your season is pretty much over. Set a campaign up today, invite your students into the campaign and CHALLENGE them to take ownership, and be launched in a few days. With full participation and your members’ best effort you will be highly successful in a short time – and the best part is that it takes very little effort to get it moving.





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