An Invitation to Audition

| April 17, 2007 | 6 Comments

invitation textOne of the biggest challenges of team recruitment lies in getting the word out.  I can’t express how many times I have heard from 9th graders, over the past 15 years, “I never saw any posters or heard any announcements!”  I asked my 9th graders this year how they heard and they all confirmed that, despite our posting of flyers AND making announcements on the PA system at their school that they only heard about auditions through word-of-mouth (through a friend who had an older sister already on the team).  They emphatically proclaimed, “No one listens to the announcements in the morning!”  When I asked about the flyers one student confirmed that there were flyers hung on the end of every set of lockers and in the hallway (because her mom had hung them up) but that no one pays any attention to them.  Our team performs for the 8th grade at an event every spring but that is several months prior to the actual audition dates…plenty of time for forgetting!  So…how can we address this challenge?  This year I’m trying to capitalize on the only method my 9th graders seem to say works…word of mouth.  I’m sending out personal invitations to Audition!


single frontNothing seems to work better than to have a friend, classmate or teacher personally ASK a student to consider auditioning.  Unfortunately, word-of-mouth can be inefficient when it comes to actually remembering the audition dates or getting the information home to mom and dad!  So this year, in addition to all of my usual efforts (hanging posters, making announcements, publishing dates in the school newsletters) I printed up small, quarter-page sized invitations.  I gave each of my current performers a large stack (of at least 20 – 30 invitations) with the instructions that they need to get rid of all of them and to try to ask both people they know AND kids they have never met.  I’m hoping that by putting the “flyer” in prospective students’ hands that we might be more likely for those audition dates and website information to make it home to mom and dad!  It’s worked well for a showcase that we host each spring so we’re going to try it for auditions.

I print them on regular paper but in color (from my inkjet printer) and cut them out before handing them to students (they end up postcard-sized).  I print double-sided, four to a page and use four different images for the front of the postcards in the hopes of generating some discussion as students notice that their invitations don’t all look the same.  I use Microsoft Publisher to make mine but you could probably use any desktop publishing software.  Below shows the pages prior to printing/cutting.


full page backs
full page fronts


I’m not sure yet how this tactic will work – as it is a new idea for us – but I will keep everyone posted!  If you have additional recruitment ideas please leave a comment below!

(NOTE: Clipart used on the invitations is from 


Tags: , ,

Category: Recruitment/Auditions, Team Management

About the Author (Author Profile)

Catina Anderson is the founder/editor of the Colorguard Educators blog. Color guard has been part of her life for almost 25 years. She began coaching in 1994 and worked with the Broad Run High School color guard in Northern VA from 1998 until 2010. She has also written for Halftime Magazine and served on the Executive Board of the Atlantic Indoor Association. A former teacher, she enjoys sharing what she has learned and hopes to encourage others to share as well. Together we can create even more positive experiences for performers and help to collectively strengthen marching arts activities worldwide.

Comments (6)

Trackback URL | Comments RSS Feed

  1. Maggie Ellison says:

    Great suggestion – I really like this and agree with you entirely about the way students find out about auditions, I am going to try this next year!

    Thanks for posting!

  2. Christie johnson says:

    I used this idea this year for Fall Guard auditions. The older members loved it, but we’ll see how many new members show up because of it!

    Thanks for the idea!

  3. suzi frame says:

    GREAT IDEA – going to add to my arsenal of recruiting tricks…Just worked on the flyer for fall auditions on my snow day yesterday, and selected all my dates for clinics etc..
    My group is performing at the middle school soon, so hope that helps us this year too!

  4. Britt Tisdale says:

    This is a great idea! I am going to utilize this with my auditions this year. Our auditions are in 3 weeks, I will actually be going to the school and using the in the next week or two. I will let the group know if I gained anyone from this method!

  5. We are a first year marching band hoping to add color guard to our ranks in Fall 2015. Do you have any recommendations for recruiting for a first year program? I have one student that is experienced in guard and has agreed to help us out with teaching and being I guess the “guard captain” of sorts. We have 5 feeding schools, but we don’t want to lose out on marching members as well. HELP!?!?

Leave a Reply