Attendance at band camp is required for all members 


Many of us will be coming to college for the first time this fall. Some of us will be joining a marching band for the first time as well. It is a fantastic (and scary) experience to come to a new place and meet new people. But just think, in just seven days, you will have 190 new friends, have been all over campus, and will have performed as a member of the "Spirit of the West"!

Our season begins with a week of rehearsals and performances which occur prior to the start of the fall semester. During this time, we log almost 50% of our total hours for the entire semester. Because we learn most of our music and drill during camp, attendance is required for all members. 

While at camp

In general, camp lasts ALL DAY EVERY DAY. Please don't plan on working or attending other activities during the week.

  • Band members are expected to remain at camp and attend all rehearsals, sectionals, meals, and sessions during the week. Students attending orientation later in the week are excused for the essential parts of orientation. Students who desire to depart the band prior to the conclusion of camp must consult with the director before leaving. 
  • Wear appropriate clothing including hat, sunglasses, and closed-toe athletic shoes during camp. Regular application of sunscreen and lots of water is a must at high elevations in the summer. The band will have a limited amount of sunscreen at camp, but members are encouraged to bring their own.
  • The air is very dry in Montana. Band members will be provided a SotW reusable water bottle for camp. Water will be available through camp. We will encourage regular hydration at camp, but it is up to each member to stay rested and hydrated.
  • In the case of emergency situations, we will notify campus safety immediately. Please notify the band managers if you are not feeling well or suffer from a condition that is exasperated by sun, heat, or stress. We have a limited stockpile of OTC drugs and first aid supplies that are available upon request.


The SotW is open to all current MSU students with a high school band background--previous marching experience is NOT required. However, membership is not guaranteed without a tryout. All members of the SotW are required to tryout.

We understand that this can seem stressful and frightening, but our tryouts are designed to be friendly and simply reflect the minimum expectation for what you will have to do all season long as a member of the band. This includes: marching in tempo, ability to play our show music, memorization of music/choreography, and other indicators that you will be safe, successful, and happy throughout the semester.

Please remember that we WANT you in the band and to have a great season with us. This is why our teaching/tryout process is the most important part of our season, and why we reserve the first three days of camp just for tryouts and the teaching of fundamentals. 

In the case of drumline, we often have more interested students than equipment in our inventory. As a result, it is common than the less-experienced members of our band may be asked to play their second or third-choice instrument.

Getting to know the Band

Once tryouts are complete, we will quickly move on to putting our show on the field. This involves a few long (and hot) morning rehearsals. Afternoons and evenings are reserved for performances and band fun/get-to-know-you activitites. 

  • Section Dance-off
  • Band Skits
  • Lip-sync battle
  • Waterfight
  • City-wide scavenger hunt
  • Prizes for earning "Happy Cats" during rehearsals

We are already scheduled to perform FIVE time during the last three days of camp! This means that we have to get everyone in uniform with all of our "tailgating" tunes learned. Our current favorite tunes are:

  • Can't Hold Us
  • Shut up and Dance
  • Counting Stars
  • Cake by the Ocean
  • Thundercats!


End of Camp

By the end of camp we will have already logged almost 50% of our total hours for the entire season. This is certainly something to celebrate!!! More than anything we want your experience in the "Spirit of the West" to be musical, fun, and challenging (at least a little bit). Welcome to the SotW and GO CATS!!!