Carmel High School Bands

Carmel, IN
Category: Outstanding Social Media Engagement
Michael Pote, Director of Bands

Introduction and background

Carmel High School is a four-year comprehensive high school with over 5,000 students in grades nine through twelve. The high school is part of the Carmel Clay School District and — along with three middle schools and 11 elementary schools — serves the city of Carmel and the township of Clay in southwestern Hamilton, County, Indiana, just north of Indianapolis. The Carmel Band program strives to create a challenging musical environment that encourages excellence through high expectations, hard work, compassion, support and friendship.
The band program serves over 500 students with 6 concert bands, 4 jazz ensembles, 300+ member marching band, 2 pep bands, chamber ensembles, an indoor winter percussion ensemble, and 3 winter guards.

Carmel High School’s Wind Symphony 1 performed at the 2005 Midwest Band and Orchestra Clinic and has been selected as a 4-time featured ensemble in the Bands of America National Concert Band Festival. Wind Symphony was also named the 1999, 2013, 2015 and 2017 Indiana State School Music Association State Concert Band Champion.

The Carmel Marching Greyhounds have been a Bands of America Grand National Finalist 22 consecutive years dating back to 1996 and were ISSMA State Champions in 1990, 2001, 2002 and 2012. CHS is a 20 time Bands of America Regional Champion and were named Bands of America Grand National Champions in 2005, 2012, 2016 and 2017. The Marching Greyhounds have performed in the Tournament of Roses Parade, the Macy’s Thanksgiving Day Parade, the London New Years Day Parade, the Fiesta Bowl, the Orange Bowl and have completed performance tours of Hawaii, New York City, Amsterdam, Vienna and Salzburg. In 2013, the Marching Greyhounds received the coveted Sudler Shield from the John Philip Sousa Foundation which is “an international award recognizing a high school marching band program of the highest quality.”

The Carmel High School Jazz Program consists of over 120 students participating in four full jazz ensembles and several jazz combos. The jazz ensembles perform at several regular season concerts at Carmel High School as well as area jazz festivals. CHS Jazz Ensemble 1 has been an honor band at both the Purdue Jazz Festival and the Ball State Jazz Festival.

The Carmel Guard program supports 3 winter guard ensembles, the JV, A & World Guards, providing varying levels of the guard experience to our middle school and high school members. The Carmel World Guard is a 4 time World Champion (2011, 2013, 2015 and 2017) in the Scholastic World Class division of Winter Guard International (WGI) and a 7 time State Champion in the Indiana High School Color Guard Association (IHSCGA) circuit.

Carmel Bands has developed a robust social media presence over the past 4 years, primarily using Facebook, Twitter and Instagram to reach both a local and global following. The social media program is managed and designed by a parent booster in a leadership position, with input and guidance from the band directors and program staff. The band program also has a website that is a repository for forms and links to our secure photo-sharing site, online program registration, program fee payments and information on our corporate sponsors.

Description, purpose, and objective of social media promotion

We use social media to promote our entire program, especially the efforts and accomplishments of our students. The Carmel Band program has hundreds of students involved in many different activities and ensembles; social media provides a great outlet to highlight and provide an overview of all these endeavors. It also serves to keep our local community informed of the program’s offerings and accomplishments, which helps cement the program in community member’s minds as “our band, our music program, our Marching Greyhounds, our colorguard”, etc. That sense of ownership among the community serves to help bolster involvement in our fundraisers, secure corporate sponsorships and drive attendance at our events. Carmel is a community very invested in the arts, so social media is the perfect way for us to tap in to the city’s sense of pride in our band program. In today’s digital reality, social media is the strongest tool we have to advocate for and educate people about the real need for/impact of music education.

Additionally, we use social media to maximize the results of our major fundraising efforts. We have an annual Car Wash (large scale), Car Raffle, Food Truck event, Mattress Sale and Gala/Silent Auction event in addition to other fundraisers. We use these platforms to remind past supporters of the current year’s event and share details of our fundraisers with potential new customers. It also is an easy way for our families to share fundraiser information with extended family and friends by “sharing” a social media post.

We offer a variety of educational experiences to younger Carmel school children and social media is a great way to connect with those families to start a relationship with them, i.e. through advertising opportunities that can result in them registering their elementary schooler in a percussion clinic or their middle schooler in our JV Colorguard ensemble, for example. We have worked to establish a strong relationship with our district office public relations staff, so that they routinely share our posts about these opportunities on their social media sites. That effort alone has definitley driven a bigger audience to us.

Finally, we use social media as a method to connect in a human way with other schools and programs. The pageantry activity is well known for it’s collegiality and support of other groups. As a bigger, known program, it’s important to use these outlets to model those kinds of behaviors, i.e. sympathy to a group for a loss/tragedy, thanks and appreciation for kindnesses shown to us, wishing others “Good Luck” and “Congratulations” to other groups on their accomplishments. These are efforts that are hard to quantify, but important, nevertheless.

Target audience for social media promotions

When promoting the program in general, the target audience is parents, our band/guard students, alumni, the Carmel community, including families of potential students and the pageantry community at large.

Fundraising posts target parents (to help them promote), alumni, our community (especially school district families) and potential corporate sponsors. We use Facebook Ad manager to help us target specific demographics (i.e. car lovers, DCI enthusiasts, arts supporters, “foodies”, etc) for each event and boost the reach of fundraising posts to a larger audience.

Posts promoting educational opportunities/experiences to elementary and middle school students in our district target our families with younger siblings and our school district families.

Posts reaching out to offer condolences, thanks, good luck or congratulations are usually targeted to our students (as an example of how to properly “people”), a specific group, program or community and the larger pageantry community.

Examples of hashtags, contests, polls, quizzes, etc used during promotions

#iamcarmelbands-used when boosting program pride in the short term (i.e. during Grand Nationals Week) or when our band program needs to feel a sense of “pulling together” (i.e. a significant death / tragedy affecting the program)

#bandfamily-used frequently when posting about specific ensembles or groups within the program to promote the idea to our members/families that we are all part of one Carmel Bands program, supporting each other.

#oneprogramonefamily-used when referencing anything to do with our middle school band programs and their connection to the larger Carmel Bands program

#smileysinthehouse-used in posts during competitions, particularly at Lucas Oil Stadium. The Smiley Face is a sentimental and loved symbol for the Carmel Marching program.

We also encourage all members/families and staff, past and present, to change their profile pictures to a smiley face during Grand Nationals week each fall as a show of support for the marching band.

Supporting Photos