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MIHS BANDS What To Expect

What to Expect

The Mercer Island High School band year is always filled with new experiences and unanticipated activities. Check out our monthly Band Notes* enews, the calendar and What's New to find out what is happening this year. 


Here is what you can typically expect: 


Senior Leadership Retreat at Warm Beach

All high school band students are required to participate in the week-long Band Camp held at MIHS. 

During Band Camp

All band members are fitted and uniforms are distributed.

Annual Band BBQ is typically on the Thursday evening of Band camp

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.


All Island Band Night performance at a home football game with bands from grades 5th through 12th, featuring the popular food trucks.


Full band Winter Concert

December to February

Animal Band rotate performances at basketball games. All-State Honor Groups (if selected.) Eastshore Region Solo and Ensemble Contest. Concert Band Intensive retreat weekend.


Eastshore Band Festival (during the school day) and State Basketball playoff participation for Animal Band. MIHS bands participate in the MIFAAC sponsored Fine Arts Showcase


Concert Band Auditions for the next year


Spring High School Band Concert,

Band Awards night, and other special guest performance opportunities.

Band Food Drive for MIYFS and NW Harvest


Graduation performance for Sophomore and Juniors

Band for Everyone

While there are a variety of bands to join, MIHS Band is the all-inclusive band with nearly 300 members.  All MIHS 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.  

Marching Band

This popular program starts with a required week-long band camp in August, and continues throughout football season. Attendance is mandatory at 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. Students are responsible for finding their own substitute if they are unable to perform as an assigned game.

Concert Bands

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 Symphonic Band, Wind Symphony, or Wind Ensemble.


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.

Band is More than Playing Music

Our band directors incorporate life lessons and values into our band program.  Leadership, achieving goals, giving back to the community, and more are all key components to our band program. 

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. 


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 weekly sectional, which 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 tutor or private instructor is able to offer.  

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