The New England Scholastic Band Association

Thursday June 04, 2020
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General Rules, Requirements, and Fees
Colorguard Classification
Order of Appearance
Contest Procedures
Judging Fee's
Changes to Rules and Policy Procedures
Code of Conduct
Awards and Prizes
Equipment and Floor Protection Policy
Cancellation of Contest
Contest Sponsor Information
Championship Finals Guidelines
Forms and Exhibits



General Rules, Requirements, and Fees

In order to be eligible to host a winter show, a school must be a dues paying member and have participated in last years winter finals. 

With such a large number of schools requesting to host a show, no school is guaranteed a show date. The Executive Board will try, to the best of its abilities, to make sure all schools get a chance to host a contest.

Saturday Contests will begin as early as : 2:00 pm and end by 10:00pm

Sunday Contests will begin at: 12:00 pm and end by 6:00pm

Championship Finals will begin at: 11:00 am

Arrangements may be made with the Executive Board for times other than those stated above. This request must be made in writing and at least 15 days in advance. All shows should end by 10:00pm on Saturdays, and by 6:00pm on Sundays.

In order to qualify for the Championship Finals, Colorguards must participate in a minimum of four (4)shows throughout the season. Novice/JHS guards need to do a minimum of two (2)shows. If a unit changes divisions and they are a new member, they only have to do two(2) shows to qualify for finals

As of June 2011- any unit that participates in a LOCAL WGI Regional will receive show credit from NESBA towards finals.  We ask that all units continue to support all of our local shows and sponsors.

In order to be fair to all Sponsors, NESBA may request units attend specific

There is also a $75.00 per unit Contest Fee to be paid to each Sponsor. Maximum $150.00 per organization per show.

Full Membership Dues: $400.00***  NESBA will send an invoice to each school/organization at the beginning of the season to request dues and finals fees. The information from your unit membership on the web is what we will use to send the invoice to you.  At the Sept or January meetings, the treasurer will also try to hand out as many invoices as possible.  If you have an invoice question please contact Cheryl Machado. ***If you have 2 units the Membership dues will be $450.00, three groups or more your membership dues will $500.00. (amended June 2010) Ex. a school with a band, guard and percussion ensemble will pay $500.00 dues for the entire year.

Finals Fee: Each unit is required to sell one general (1) $15.00 ticket Per student per unit. (adjusted 6/2013)
(if you have 10 members in your group, you must sell 10 tickets ($150.00). Tickets will be available at the January all member meeting, and at the first two shows of the season. It is the responsibility of each unit director make sure the tickets are received and that all fees and tickets are paid in full by the championship event.

As of June, 2013-  Winter units will receive 9 badges per unit.  You do have the option to purchase up to 7 more badges for $10.00 a piece. These fees will be paid to NESBA.

Withdrawing from a show: (21 day rule)

If a unit pulls out of a show within a 21 day period before an event a $200.00 fee will be required. The unit will not be able to perform
in another NESBA event until that fee is paid to the show host of the event that is missed (NOT NESBA). We ask that the check be handed to a NESBA official for delivery to the show host. (updated 6/2016)

Eligibility for membership in a NESBA competitions will be enforced by the individual school system. School membership is now open to any student who lives in the city or town that a unit is from. This change also requires that the unit have written permission from a school administrative official telling the NESBA organization that the student does live in the city or town and that the school system, being represented by the unit, does support the students membership.

This will be accomplished when the Band Director submits a list of students who do not exceed secondary grade level (through grade 12)

That list must be signed by the Principal or Superintendent of the school system, before the first performance of your school.

It will then be submitted in writing to the Executive Board of NESBA, prior to the first competition of the Fall Band Season and also prior to the first competition Winter Guard / Percussion season.

Changes in the list must be reported in writing to the Executive Board of NESBA as they occur.

 The number of classes will be determined by the number of participating units.

First year Colorguards will be classified as Novice Class unless they choose to move up to a higher class.

Festival Class-  will be a medals class based on Platinum, Gold, Silver and Bronze. The scores will be used to place a unit in the appropriate medal range. There will be no recaps and no scores announced for this class.

Units in this class must participate in 1 show to be eligible for Finals.

The Festival Class will perform at the beginning of each show in the Order of Appearance.


Classes are instituted according to the number of units participating in the winter season. Units will be placed in the same class as the year
before, unless they contact the Winter Activities Director for a change. All units should perform in the first two weekends of the season to make sure
classes are equal in regards to ability level. After the first two weekends there will be limited changes in classes.

Colorguards may choose to move up a class, but if they wish to change their classification by moving down a class, they must make a written request to the Executive Board.

The first two competitive weekends in February, the Chief Assigning will attempt to have some of the same judges evaluate all units to verify classification.

In order to provide quality education to the students, no class shall have more than six to eight (6-8) units in any class. If this does occur, the class will be divided in one of the two following manners:

If quality levels are the same, a random draw will be done to separate the class.

If ability/quality levels differ, the class shall be divided into two by scores achieved by each unit.

Championship Promotion:

Units who have been awarded a championship status for any year will be required to advance to the next class of competition the next season.
If a unit feels as though they need to remain in the same class they must get in touch with the Winter Activities Director for further clarification.

The Executive Board uses the following guide lines to determine classification issues:

1) A 50% or more change in membership.

2) Financial hardship of the unit.

3) A significant staff change.

Not all requests will be granted immediately. In most cases, units will be asked to move up a class and perform in one of the first 2
shows of the year so that the unit can be evaluated by the judges and a member of the Executive Board.

Scholastic vs. Independent Groups:  Membership eligibility

NESBA is established to promote scholastic eligibility for all schools in the area.  NESBA also has an open door policy for independent units to be part of the organization. It is the hope that all independent units respect the membership of scholastic units.  Recruiting from active scholastic programs is not looked upon favorably by the organization.  If a student has participated in a scholastic group and has the desire to move to an independent group, it is in the best interest of  this organization and all parties involved that the directors of each unit agree to such an idea and that it be made clear that the scholastic unit is allowing the student to participate in another organization.   NESBA therefore discourages independent groups from utilizing membership composed of any high school students who were previously enrolled in an active winter guard or percussion ensemble and have not yet graduated.


Maine Band Directors and NESBA (Winter)  Adopted 2016:

MBDA Policy for Winter Units


All MBDA registered winter units may participate in the NESBA Winter Programs as long as they meet the following criteria:


1)   Must be an active, dues paying member of the MBDA organization (Do not have to pay NESBA dues. Show fees do have to be paid)

2)   Must follow the applicable rules for WGI regarding school policies and membership guidelines

3)   Must attend the Dover NESBA show and one other MBDA designated event that will fulfill the criteria to be a part of the NESBA classification competitive divisions

4)   Must pay all NESBA or MBDA show fees.

5)   MBDA units will compete first in each division.

6)   The MBDA Focus Show for NESBA will be announced at the beginning of each season.

7)   Must perform in NESBA classification at NESBA show and Finals.

8)   MBDA units are affiliate members and can not vote at any NESBA meetings.

For MBDA units who do not fit this criteria,  the NESBA non competitive Festival Class is still available to those units. 

All  units (whether competitive or festival must pay the one ticket per member fee for championships)

MBDA units who decide to be full NESBA dues paying members,  will be required to pay dues and show fees to NESBA and will also be able to  perform later in their class at championships. 

A dues paying member also gets the opportunity to attend our General Body Meetings and become a part of the voting body at our June meeting.






The order of appearance for all contests will be assigned by the Activities Director. This will be completed and sent to each unit as soon as all participating units have indicated the contests they will be attending.

The sponsor shall appear last in their class, if they choose to compete. If they are the only competitor in their class, they may choose to exhibit at the conclusion of the contest.

Non-member units participating in a NESBA Contest shall appear before member units in their class.

If there is only one (1) unit in a class at a contest, that unit shall do a judged exhibition. The performance will be counted in the number of required shows necessary to qualify for the Championship Finals.

Championship order of appearance: This is determined by the number of shows a unit participates in. All winter classes seeding for finals will be determined by NUMBER OF SHOWS attended throughout the season. Points will no longer be utilized. In case of a tie average of scores from full season will be utilized. If there is a tie, because a unit was promoted from another class, the toss of a coin will determine placement at finals.

First year competitive guards must attend two regular season shows to qualify for championships. Returning units must compete in a minimum of four regular season shows to qualify for championships.

 It is the intent of the organization to reward those units who participate and support our member schools.    

Units that are restricted by school bus travel, state limitations and or budget issues, must inform the executive board of these issues at the winter meeting. This will allow us to be sure to have your students participate at local events and at championships. This will done on a per unit basis and is an exception to the rules which will be voted on by the executive board. This will impact order of appearance at championships.



Unit members may enter the competition area from anywhere except over the front sideline.

Unit members may exit the competition area over any boundary except over the front sideline.

A warm-up area shall be provided by the Contest Sponsor for all units. This area should be in a separate area from the competition area and shall not interrupt or interfere with the progress of the competition.

****In ALL schools floors will open from back to front and will close in the same manner. It is each units responsibility to have enough help to manipulate floors and props in a timely manner.

Authorized Timing  Color Guard

 Each unit will be allowed a minimum and maximum performance times as

defined below:  (Same as WGI rules)  NESBA does understand in some situations that the school may have limited space.  We will consider this regarding prop removal etc..)

 Regional A:

Minimum 3 Minutes

Maximum 4.5 Minutes

Interval 7 Minutes

Eqpt time needed is at least 3 minutes

 All A Classes:

  • Minimum 4 Minutes
  • Maximum 5 1⁄2 Minutes
  • Interval 8 Minutes
  • Eqpt time needed is at least 3.5 minutes

 Open Class:

  • Minimum 4 Minutes
  • Maximum 6 1⁄2 Minutes
  • Interval 9 Minutes
  • Eqpt time needed is at least 3.5 minutes

 World Class:

  • Minimum 4 Minutes
  • Maximum 7 1⁄2 Minutes
  • Interval 10 Minutes
  • Eqpt time needed is at least 3.5 minutes

Please check with the NESBA Coordinator to finalize performance times one hr. prior to your scheduled performance time. No show will change times due to a cancellation, or the show running early. However if schedule changes do occur, please try to cooperate with the show Sponsor, and the Coordinator if this does happen.

AWARDS AND PRIZES-  AMENDED as of 2014 winter season and June 2013 General Body Meeting:

As of the 2019 winter season, all units in National Schlastic A, National Scholastic Open, National Scholastic World, Independent A, Independent Open and Independent World will be judged on a WGI National Norm. All other classes will be judged on a NESBA/Class norm.  A reminder to all units, that if you participate in a national WGI class at any regional you must be classified in that class at all NESBA events.  Please keep this in mind while traveling to regional events and making plans to attend WGI World Championships.

Percentage tool bottom line each weekend. (Dates may change each season) 

Eval Show  No Scores

 up to 2/24  50%

3/3 and 3/4  60%

3/10 and  3/11  65%

3/17 and 3/18  70%

3/24 and 3/25  80%


Championships  85%

AS OF WINTER 2010 Trophies are not required for winter shows.  Each show host MUST provide a 2" medal with ribbon to place on the neck of the 1st, 2nd and 3rd placements of each class.

We ask that the placement of 1st, 2nd, 3rd be on the medal.  Each award ceremony will be a presentation of the medal award(s) to the units that place in the top three positions.

(All Festival class units receive medal ratings only... but all Festival Group leaders must receive a participation medal NO PLACEMENT NEEDED ON MEDAL)

Championship Finals and Awards  (Amended June 2017)
Individual Medals will be awarded to each member of the 1st Place units (Competitive units only) in each Class at the Championship Finals.  All units will receive a plaque or trophy for participation.  


Shoes and Boots
If a hard sole boot or shoe is utilized, it must be taped with duct tape in the following manner:
Lay one (1) piece of tape straight down the center of the sole of the boot or shoe. Tape the complete side by butting pieces of tape to each other. DO NOT OVERLAP TAPE. Totally cover the heel of the boot or shoe in the same manner as the sole. Also, try to cover the sides of the boot or shoe heel.

Bare Feet:  It is highly recommended that students never walk around any school with bare feet.  Feet should be covered,  until a student steps on to the performance floor.

Both ends of the pike must have rubber tips or padding.

Rifle butts and tips must be padded and taped. If a bolt is utilized, it also must be taped.  As of 1/2018 Rifles are defined as devices with the outward appearance influenced by a rifle. Rifles must be at least twenty-four inches (24”) in length

All sabers and sticks must be taped at the top and the bottom. If a hilt is utilized, it must be taped.

All props that touch the floor must be taped on the bottom and around the sides.  Props must be able to fit in a regular door frame. If not, NESBA and the show host can not guarantee your props will get into the performance area.

Percussion Equipment:
All percussion equipment must be taped to avoid scratches to the floor. This includes any piece of equipment that will come in contact with the competitive surface.
NESBA is not responsible for any damage to any facility; including classrooms, performance area, gyms, hallways, etc.

Although it is our hope that this policy will not have to be utilized, in case of inclement weather or a severe storm, all Sponsors, Participants, and Judges should strictly adhere to the following policy:
On the day of the Contest, the Sponsor will maintain an active telephone number that may be reached at all times.
If there is inclement weather, the Contest Sponsor should contact  the winter activities director.
A decision will be made by the Contest Sponsor, the Winter Activities Director, and the NESBA Coordinator. The decision will be made by:

  • Saturday Contests 12:00 pm
  • Sunday Contests 9:00 am

If you have any questions, you should contact the Contest Sponsor, the Winter Activities Director or the NESBA President.
Contest Sponsors should be sure to send the Working Number to all participants, the Winter Activities Director and the NESBA President.

General Information
Prior to the commencement of the season, each potential Sponsor must submit a written request to sponsor a NESBA Winter Activities Contest. A letter asking for this information will be sent out by the Winter Activities Director. The facility may be needed to be inspected by the Executive Board of NESBA to ensure it meets all requirements prior the scheduling of the show site. To host a show a unit must be a full dues paying member of NESBA and must have performed in the previous years Finals.


Performance Space Requirements

It is important that all show hosts have at least a 60 x 90 performance area for all groups to perform on.  On top of this, NESBA has a 5 foot safety zone that must be maintained around all areas of the 60x90 performance area to protect spectators from any injury. Show hosts will be required to supply this information when asked.  If a school can not fulfill this space requirement, a decision will have to be made as to wether that school can host an event.  

Warm-Up Areas
A Warm-Up area is needed for the units to prepare for their performance time. This area must be near the competition floor and need to have a ceiling high enough for equipment to be manipulated. A second gym for Warm-Up would be preferred. If no second gym is available, there may be another area that is adequate for Warm-Up (check with the Winter Activities Director or Coordinator).

A warm-up area shall be provided by the Contest Sponsor for all units. This area should be in a separate area from the competition area and shall not interrupt or interfere with the progress of the competition. Boom boxes or any "gack blocks" are not allowed in the warm up area. Please be respectful of others in the warm up area. Warm up times should not be more than 20 minutes. Maximum of up to 10 minutes body and 10 minutes equipment is recommended. (updated 3/7/05)

Contest Area Requirements

  • All bleachers on either side of the gymnasium are needed. If you have no back stands, there is a possibility that the show will have to be moved to another facility. This will be determined by the Winter Activities Director and the NESBA Coordinator.
  • Furthermore,
  • Locker rooms are needed.
  • Classrooms may also be used if they are not far away from the competition and Warm-Up areas.
  • Parking should be as close in proximity to the entrance of the gymnasium as possible. A separate area for buses would be helpful.
  • There should be a separate area for Judges to park.
  • As Colorguards are now utilizing more equipment and props, a storage area near or in the practice gym will be needed to store this equipment (props, floor, etc.).
  • Area in stands should be marked off for Judges to sit.
  • The competition area (floor) should be clearly marked as a 60’ x 90’ floor. There must also be a 5 foot safety zone around the floor.  If you utilize cones (at least 6), it is not necessary to tape the floor. You must also have five (5) feet around the floor.
  • You must provide at least two or three  tables near the side of the floor:
  • one (1) for Sound and one (1) for the Tabulator (1) for judges.
  • Electricity is needed on the front and back side of the gymnasiums.  While NESBA will bring cords via our sound person, show hosts MUST make sure there is an extension away from stands or under stands and that all electrical outlets are up to date and not connected to multiple plugs as to cause any electrical issues.

Percussion Warm-up
The Percussion ensemble warm-up space need to be convenient to the performance area. No percussion should be asked to move from the warm-up space until their performance time. These locations should have easy access for the purpose of moving heavy percussion equipment (example: no stairs if possible).

When units submit their request to Sponsor a show, they must include directions to their show with the application. The NESBA Winter Activities Director will then update the web site  with the directions and order of appearance for each unit prior to the contest.

Report Times
Report Times and Step Off Times for all Contests will be assigned by the NESBA Winter Activities Director. Some will be scheduled to appear at ten (10 to12) minute intervals. Schedules do change, so please check with the host upon one hour prior to the show.

Guard Gate
If possible, there should be a separate entrance for the units participating in your Contest. All others entering through that gate should have a NESBA Staff Pass/Chaperone Pass.

Ticket Prices
Ticket prices for all NESBA Winter Activities Contests will be:
Adults $10.00
Students $8.00

First Aid
Sponsors must provide an individual(s) qualified to handle any and all first aid problems which might arise. Either a nurse, an EMT or your local ambulance service should be able to handle any problems.

Judges will arrive approximately 45 minutes before the scheduled start of your Contest.
A quiet room close to the competition area is needed for the Judges. This room should have several tables and chairs and be at least the size of a classroom. The post-Contest Critique Contest will usually take place in this room. Both before the commencement of the Contest as well as during the Intermission, refreshments and beverages should be provided for the Judges.


  • All costs affiliated with the Contest are the responsibility of the Contest Sponsor. This includes, but is not limited to,
  • Judges’ Fees
  • All Facility Fees
  • Food and Beverages
  • Trophies
  • Police, Custodians, Nurses, Medical, Etc.
  • Any Souvenir Items

Judges’ Fees: (amended 6/2016)

Judges will be paid by check or cash. NESBA recommends payment be made by check.  The Judges fees are as follows; $3300.00.  $300.00(2) per percussion judge, $300.00 (1) visual percussion judge, $300.00 (5) per guard judge, $300.00(2)  Coordinators.  $300.00 1 Tabulator.  Out of state judges (those that fly in or come from a great distance) will receive $350.00 for pay to compensate for the extra travel and to be in line with  the national average for out of area judges.

After 24 guards in a show each guard judge will receive $5.00 extra per unit. Visual Percussion Judges that are evaluating just the percussion portion of the event will receive $300.00 and $5.00 extra for each unit over 20 units.  If a guard judge is evaluating both portions of the event that judge will receive $10.00 per unit on top of the guard show fee. (Ex. The judge evaluates.. 5 Percussion Units and 15 Guards...this judge will receive $50.00 plus $300.00 Total $350.00)  

Timing judge and main Coordinator are all paid the same rate as judges. (amended June 2010)  

Show hosts are to note that the organization will pay any out of state fees for judges.(air/travel/lodging) This will not be a cost to the show host.  If the show host has negotitated with NESBA for an additional judge. In this case, the costs or a portion of the costs will be shared with the show host.  (updated 5/14)

Sound System
The Sound System for all NESBA Winter Activities Contests will be provided by NESBA. You will need to provide two (2) tables for the Sound System. There is no cost to the sponsor at any show.

Air Grams
Air Grams will NOT be permitted for the Winter Season.

Problems or Questions
Any problems or questions that you have should be directed to the NESBA the Winter Activities Director.

Parent Coordinator
If possible, you should have a Parent Coordinator to work with the Judges and the NESBA Coordinator to insure that things run smoothly and that there are no problems in communication with the Coordinator and the Contest Chairperson.

NESBA Merchandise
As the sanctioning body of the show circuit, NESBA reserves the right to sell NESBA related apparel and merchandise at each show.


  • All information and guidelines of the Sponsor for the Championships Show must be adhered to.
  • The Championship Show must provide the following:
  • A gymnasium with bleachers on both sides.
  • A Warm-Up Area for units to prepare for their performance time.
  • This area must be near the competition floor and must have high ceilings for equipment to be manipulated.
  • A second gym for Warm-Up would be preferred (if there is not a second gym available, the best alternative in your facility may be appropriate).
  • Locker Rooms (classrooms can be used if they are not far away from the competition and warm-up areas).
  • Parking should be as close to the entrance of the gymnasium as possible. A separate parking area for buses would be helpful.
  • A separate area either near or in the Warm-Up area is needed for storage of equipment and props.
  • A room close to the Competition area is needed for the Judges. This room should have several tables and chairs and be at least the size of a classroom. The Critique after the Contest will usually be held in this room.
  • Refreshments and beverages should be provided in the Judges Room prior to the commencement of the Contest, during the Intermission, and after the Contest.
  • Ways in which the Sponsor Can Make and raise Money include, but are not limited to:
  • Cafeteria/Concessions
  • Souvenirs
  • The Sponsor of the Championship Finals must also provide and adhere to the following:
  • A full gymnasium with bleachers on both sides and an area that provides easy access for Percussion Equipment. It is necessary to avoid using any steps for equipment.
  • No stairs in the Competition area or Warm-Up area.
  • There should be an auditorium, gym, or large area in which the Percussion Ensembles may warm-up. This area may not be close to the performance area. Percussion noise must be kept to a minimum outside of the competition area.
  • A separate entrance for vans and/or small trucks will be needed for percussion equipment. This entrance should be utilized as the performers’ entrance also (for both Percussion and Colorguard).
  • The school must be open for the entire day.
  • Workers must begin arriving at least two (2) to three (3) hours prior to the show start.
  • Responsible for full cafeteria service (workers for the day).
  • Be in contact with custodial staff to assure their cooperation throughout the day.
  • Make sure that all facility needs are met.
  • Provide full time parent support group in case they are needed by the NESBA Coordinators.
  • Provide parent support to insure security and quality control the facility. (locker room, restroom, etc.)
  •  Awards for each group  1, 2 and 3rd place.  Participation plaue for all others.

TICKET PRICES at the door of finals:
Adults $15.00. HS children and senior citizens $10.00  (These are at door only prices) Not part of pre sale with finals contract.

You may not videotape any performances at any NESBA sanctioned event!!

COPYRIGHT    NESBA highy suggests that all units be attentive to copyright policies and requirements when using music, spoken word etc..  WGI and DCI have great resources on their web sites for works that are restricted for use.  NESBA is not a clearing house for copyright issues and we try to give the best information we can to all involved.

COSTS to be incurred by the Sponsor include, but are not limited to,

  • All Cafeteria/Concession Items
  • Costs to be incurred by NESBA include, but are not limited to,
  • Judges’ fees
  • Facility Fees (Custodians, etc.)
  • Awards and Trophies
  • Sound System
  • Police
  • Medical (Nurse, First Aid, etc.)
  • NESBA receives all revenues from the gates, 50/50, and Program Books.

There will be a meeting at the Championship site at least two (2) to three (3) weeks before the Championship Finals to review the facility, meet the Parent Coordinators, and discuss the Contest with the Custodial Staff.

The Championship Sponsor is responsible for helping to set up this meeting. There will be no cost to the Sponsor for this meeting.