Props and Logistics

Overview #

Marching Band, Winter Guard and Indoor Percussion typically use props which our volunteers design, build and move to and from rehearsal and competition events. Our props garage is located between Lot C and the football stadium, on the upper level of the Concessions building.

No tools, training or experience are required to join. For Props Crew, able-bodied adult volunteers only need a willingness to serve and a safety-first mindset.

Guiding philosophy #

To make the most of limited space, materials and funds, the best Props Crews actively observe these simple principles.

Clean as you go. #

Our props garage is not going to be expanded, at least not that we know. Don’t be afraid to discard scraps of building material, cans of dried-out paint, empty pizza boxes, worn-out/broken tools, or that plastic ukulele donated after its previous owner repaired it with duct tape and chewing gum. We don’t have room for junk. And when you leave it in the props garage, someone will have to spend precious time cleaning up after you instead of building amazing props for our students.

Expect the unexpected. #

  • If you didn’t study the laws governing egress in public buildings (and limit your prop dimensions accordingly), don’t assume your beautiful creation will fit through every door between the parking lot and the gym where Winter Guard or Indoor Percussion is competing this Saturday.
  • Don’t assume your high-profile prop with over 200 square feet of surface area will survive the 40-mph wind gusts that usually blow across football fields in the final weeks of Marching Band season.
  • Don’t assume there will be enough volunteers on hand who are able to load, unload, assemble, move, disassemble, reload, unload and put away your props.

Measure twice. Cut once. #

This one seems obvious, but you’d be amazed how often we screw it up anyway.

Work with the creative team. #

It’s tempting to surprise the show creators with finished props featuring design choices that never would have occurred to them. Please don’t do that. We have limitless ways to depict and discuss our ideas to make sure they line up with the creative team’s vision for the show. Give the directors some idea what the prop will look like. Make sure there’s a meeting of the minds on every element of structure and style. Props make an enormous visual impact on every show, for better or worse. If you work with the creative team and communicate carefully before building and painting, your efforts will be far more effective.

Help our students perform safely. #

Can’t stress this enough. Watch the rehearsals. Notice what the kids are doing, especially when they’re around the prop. Are there sharp edges or protruding fasteners that could cut or puncture skin? If students are expected to walk/climb on the prop, is it structurally sound and are there safeguards to prevent falling? Can this Marching Band prop fall over on students while they’re focused on executing drill and playing challenging music? Performing in pageantry arts is hazardous enough even when props are carefully made to prevent injuries.

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