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Marching Band Competitions 

General Information - SCBDA & Bands of America

South Carolina Band Directors Association (SCBDA)



Some competitions are sanctioned by the SCBDA. This includes the SC Upper State 2A / 4A competition that we host, and the SC 5A State Finals that we participate in.


Marching Objectives & Standards

The following information provides both aims / objectives of SCBDA – sponsored marching band events and the National and State standards met through participation.


  1. To stimulate interest in the highest quality of musicianship in marching band.

  2. To provide directors and students an opportunity to hear and see bands other than their own.

  3. To promote statewide interests in bands and band activities.

  4. To enable bands to receive constructive criticism from qualified adjudicators.

  5. To select the official SCBDA Upper State, Lower State, and State Champions in each of the 5 school classifications.

  6. To provide the most prestigious recognition possible for outstanding achievement in the marching band idiom.


SCBDA Competition Classifications:

Bands are classified based on their school size ranking. For instance, Boiling Springs is currently ranked as the 5th largest school in SC, so our classification is 5A.

SCBDA Marching Band Contests - Judging / Scoring Sheets

Scoring Sheets can be located on the SCBDA website if anyone is interested in the scoring criteria. Bands are judged on the following:

The website is the best place to locate all information regarding these competitions.

Bands of America (BOA)



Bands of America is a part of an organization known as Music for All. More than 1 million people are alumni of Bands of America marching band events, the first of which were held in 1976. Bands of America was created in 1976 as "Marching Bands of America" (MBA), renamed Bands of America (BOA) in 1984 and merged with the Music for All Foundation in 2006 to create Music for All. MFA’s marching band events continue to carry the name of "Bands of America."

BOA events include one day ‘regionals’, two day ‘super regionals’ and the BOA Grand National Championships which are held each year in Indianapolis, IN.


1. BOA Classification of Bands How are the bands “classified?”

Bands are classified by school enrollment, grades 10-12 only. Under the four-class system:

  • Class A is up to 600 students

  • Class AA is 601-1200

  • Class AAA is 1201-1700

  • Class AAAA is 1701 and above (Boiling Springs is a 4A band at BOA


2. Tickets

BOA competitions consist of two sets of performances: Prelims and Finals. When a band does well in the prelims, they will also compete in the Finals. Tickets can be purchased three ways: 

  • Prelims only (prices range from $20 and up at Regionals)

  • Finals only (prices range from $20 and up at Regionals)

  • Day Pass - Day Pass tickets include entry for BOTH Prelims and Finals. (prices range from $40 and up at Regionals)


Discounts: The following ticket discounts are available at the ticket window on the day of the event only at all BOA Regionals:

  • Bargains for Students and Children:

    • Children 10 and under admitted for free to general admission seats! Children 10 and under are admitted free for general admission seating at all Bands of America Championships (except the Grand National Championships).

    • Student Discount – Youth 11-18 years old: $5 off any General Admission ticket type: individual Prelims, Finals or General Admission Day Pass.

    • College Student Discount – $5 off any General Admission ticket type: individual Prelims, Finals or General Admission Day Pass. College Student ID required.

  • Adults Get Bargains too:

    • Seniors Discount - 62 years and over: $5 off any ticket type, including Day Pass.

    • "We Appreciate Your Service" Active Duty Military Discounts: $5 off any ticket type, including Day Pass, for any member of the active military and/or the spouse of an active duty military person. A service member or service member spouse may buy up to one additional Military Discount ticket. (Military ID required.)


3. What to Expect?

The final scores/results are tabulated by competition judges, who are chosen for their high level of expertise. The weight of the numbers places 60% of the value on music and 40% on visual, as well as 60% on general effect and 40% on performance. Each judge is assigned a specific area on which he or she focuses. Ensemble and general effect judges are located at a vantage point from above (i.e. press box), and individual performance judges are located on the field.



There will be an awards ceremony immediately following the prelim competition. The awards are for:

  1. Music Performance (each class)

  2. Visual Performance (each class)

  3. General Effect (each class)

  4. Place in Class (each class)

  5. Place Overall


  • If our band does not make it to the finals, we would typically load the buses and return home.

  • If our band does make the finals, they wait to find out what time they will perform that evening, and return to the staging area to prepare.  Parents will be notified of the performance time as soon as it is announced.


Please note that after the preliminary awards ceremony is over, it will be necessary for everyone to leave the stadium and return for the finals competition. Most families use this time to eat dinner, but band students must remain with the band.



After all bands have performed in the finals, the bands will all re-enter the stadium field (at the same time) for what is referred to as the ‘retreat’. When all of the bands are in place, the awards ceremony will begin. At the completion of the awards ceremony, the announcer will allow the finalists to “break ranks” in order to congratulate each other for their successes.


Buses will then be loaded for the trip home. It is usually very late when the band arrives at the school.


Parents will not be allowed to take their children home from the location of a competition unless they have it approved through the school office prior to the event. Travel Release Form is located under Resources & Information > Forms

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