M101- Rehearsal Meals & Student Wheels

First off, let's clarify a rumor that wrecks havoc with new incoming marchers, every year.

LOMB does not feed students on rehearsal days.

Prepare yourself. You'll have at least one parent tell you otherwise. "But I heard someone say that they feed all the kids at practices."

They're wrong.

The LOBB organizes a series of meals prior to each marching COMPETITION. I'll write a post about Competition Meals when we get closer to recruiting volunteers. For now, all you need to understand that if there is no competition that day, there is no meal service. This includes all mini-camps, all Wednesday rehearsals, all 9-9s, all after school rehearsals.

No competition = no meal.

You need to fill your pantry with some specialized food for the summer and fall.

The marching band is really active at rehearsals. They're constantly in motion and fully exposed to the hot sun. They get really sticky, sweaty, and generally uncomfortable. For some, that means they'll work up a serious appetite. For others, it means they won't want to do more than peck at food until the day is over.

A wide variety of healthy options is best. Small, individually wrapped or bagged items. No grease, no high sugar or fat, no carbonated beverages. That's what I'm supposed to tell you.

But honestly, the best food is the food you can get your student to tolerate. Quality calorie intake is the most important factor and if they won't touch cheese sticks or baked tofu chips, it's a waste to send them.

You know your child best, you know what they'll eat better than I do. And your student will learn what they can and can not eat in rehearsal settings as the season progresses. Change and adapt to best feed your child.

For my son, frozen yogurt tubes were a favorite. They are cold, high in protein, and easy to suck-down on a five minute break. In fact, everything in his thermal lunch bag was frozen or highly chilled- from sandwiches to clementines, it was all cold, cold, cold. But my daughter would go on hunger strike if I sent her with the same chilled selections. Granola bars and nut mixes, cheese cubes and meats, all in a brown bag are more her thing.

The key is that the hotter it gets, the more clever their meal options need to be. One student moves to only PB&J during the heat of summer because the act of chewing through anything big or crunchy is simply too daunting.

  • Mini-camps and Wednesdays require a few snacks and one dinner
  • For 9-9's plan on several snacks, a lunch, and a dinner
  • Tues/Thurs rehearsals during the school year need a snack to bridge the gap between lunch at school and dinner at home

Many parents deliver meals- either hot home cooked or carry out. Subs are good and pasta options in carry out trays are awesome options. Apparently Panera has killer take-out Mac n' Cheese*. Plan on dropping off the food and leaving. Most kids would rather eat with their friends.

I see a lot of Taco Bell bags and pizza boxes at dinner drop off time. BE WARNED: Every year, at least one kid gets nauseous and looses their dinner during the post-dinner rehearsal. The more grease or spice to the meal, the greater the chance that they may have to run to the bathroom or porta potty. But again, if Taco Bell is what encourages them to eat and they can stomach it, go with what works.


I dropped a hint earlier when I talked about my own kid's meals. You need to talk with your student and decide how they want to carry their meal.

  • Many use draw string backpacks
  • Most throw brown bags into their backpack
  • A few use thermal bags and frozen gel-pack inserts
  • At least a couple carry Play-mate style lunch coolers with frozen inserts or ice cubes which can be added to their water jug

It depends on how much they want to carry and how chilled they prefer their food. Remember, someone dragging a sousaphone around may not be physically able to add a hard shell cooler to their armload.

Now here's the last item which will definitely involve some consultation with your spouse and then your student:

Many kids in high school have driver's licences.

I know, those of you with 13 year olds just gasped out loud.

Yes, now is the time to think about your beloved student riding in a car with a kid you may not know.

Technically, the kids are not supposed to leave campus during rehearsal time (which includes meals). But it happens. A lot.

I didn't even consider this possibility until my son texted me from the line at McDonald's asking me which sandwich was bigger. Huh? What sandwich is WHERE and HOW did you get to be there???

Yep. Don't do what I did. Have THE TALK before they begin the band season.

Decide ahead of time what you are comfortable with and lay down the law prior to the first day of boot camp. If they're not allowed to ride anywhere with anyone, make that clear. If you're restricting them to certain drivers or certain times, make that clear. 

Band kids are family and you'll be amazed at how quickly your son or daughter will be adopted by multiple, well meaning upper class-men with cars. They don't think twice about inviting freshman to tag along for dinner. Determine your family rules and make sure they're well established before your child is invited to "drive over to Jack's house to pick up the thing-a-ma-bob for his sister's trombone."

Don't assume that they won't be invited to dinner until they're older. I know it seems like you just took the training wheels off their bicycle yesterday but kids in cars going through drive-throughs are officially now on your list of things to worry about.

And on that happy note, enjoy the rest of your day?

Relax, high school isn't fatal. You'll survive this too.


* hat tip to Joe Laveque for the Panera Mac n Chz info. I just might use that idea this year...