What is the USSBA?
The US Scholastic Band Association (USSBA) was formed in the Fall of 1988 to provide high school band programs with a competitive circuit featuring the best adjudicators from across the continent and a world class venue for the US Scholastic Band Championship.
Today, the USSBA boasts membership of over 700 participating high school marching bands. Each year, bands are offered 150 festival opportunities as well as invitations to compete at major Regional Championships and the US Scholastic Band Championship. Bands in the USSBA compete in eighteen different classes from Class I A to Class VI Open, performing and competing with other bands of like size and talent. In the recent past, USSBA has begun to support high school concert music programs as well.
At USSBA, our focus is on education, not just booking and running shows. We support both competitive and non-competitive philosophies in performance. This allows the band director to choose which method best meets the educational needs of his program. The competitive classes are broken down by total number of performing members in the ensemble. The classes are further divided into two tiers based on level of achievement. We believe this structure establishes goals that are within reach, which helps to better motivate the students and allows the band to improve more quickly.
In October of 1988, the Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps hosted a marching band competition at Giants Stadium in East Rutherford, New Jersey. Reactions to that event were overwhelmingly positive and numerous requests were received asking the Cadets organization to become more involved in the marching band activity. In response to those requests and with the cooperation, input, and support of tri-state area band directors and instructors, the Cadets Marching Band Cooperative (CMBC) was formed.
In 1989, the CMBC launched its first season by sanctioning eleven very successful regular season shows. The 1989 season culminated in a two day Championship event at Giants Stadium. In recent years, the US Scholastic Band Championships and local shows have featured performances by some of the finest bands in over 25 different states throughout the country.
In 1997 we began an evolution and expansion into other areas beyond marching band and created a Scholastic Services organization within Youth Education in the Arts, which includes the US Scholastic Band Association. Under this banner, we intend to provide all students more opportunities to perform, representing their high schools.
We don't just come to an area, run a show, and leave; we stay involved in the local band community and are available to help your program all twelve months of the year.
The USSBA provides high quality service and support to high school band directors through their staff at the YEA! office. A full time staff of 10 supports the efforts of YEA! with three of these staff members dedicated solely to USSBA on a daily basis and additional part time assistance during the busy Fall competitive season. Staff members are responsible for vital communication duties including the answering of telephones, preparing and distributing mailings, newsletter preparation and distribution, web site updates and maintenance, plus referrals and general membership contact. Unlike most anywhere else, USSBA members can have their concerns addressed from 9:00 AM to 5:30 PM almost any day. Additionally, during the Fall season, the YEA! office is open for business from 7:00 AM to 9:00 PM each day.
The USSBA provides high school bands with well known and respected adjudicators from throughout the world of marching arts to evaluate at each of their USSBA sponsored events. In order to offer the best, USSBA flies the very best adjudicators from around the United States and Canada to performance sites. On any given weekend, over 40 judges are guests of USSBA and the participating bands. USSBA band directors hear feedback on their design and programming from the leaders in the activity. Execution and performance are also evaluated so that talent levels can be maximized for each participating student. During the season, USSBA Judging Panels are responsible for working within the parameters set forth by the individual bands and for undergoing several sessions of training each year to ensure USSBA judging criteria is met.
USSBA has a unique regional format that includes an extra set of judges whose purpose is not to give a number, but to look at the overall product. After each band's performance, the director, staff and students receive a private one-on-one clinic with that judge.
USSBA uses national level judges and some of the top college educators and show designers in the activity. These judges are also used at the local level (when available) as well as for regional shows and championships.
US Scholastic Band Championships and Regional Championships
The US Scholastic Band Championship is held over two or three weekends at the best stadiums in the US North East. The USSBA Regional Championships are held throughout the areas serviced by the USSBA. A Regional Championship is composed of up to 50 competing bands and is usually held at a college or professional level football facility. Bands competing at a USSBA Regional Championship are once again evaluated by an excellent panel of adjudicators who communicate information on design and execution to band directors and instructors for us in developing high quality programs.