Mars, Masks, Music: Band Season Looks Different Due to COVID-19

 The stars of the show march out onto the field in an orderly fashion that can only be described as precise and practiced. They begin playing their instruments of brass and wood as they march to the beat, and keep a steady breath. The sound is large and it can be felt in the bleachers. The brilliant music, classy uniforms, and the unique performances were all at stake. One thing is for sure, this marching season is unlike any other. Whether there would be a marching season or not was a seriously considered question.

At the beginning of the 2020 school year, the students in marching band didn’t know what to expect or how to react to the changes that would have to be made to their marching season due to COVID-19. Many things have changed and the students have had to adapt, but the excitement is the same. This marching season and its challenges are new for everyone, even the seniors that have been doing this for 3 years already.

“Even with the limitations that this situation has placed on us, this group has really risen to the occasion in making the most of this year with what opportunities we have left,” senior Pamela Lohman said. “Considering that we are having in-person rehearsals, band season is going far better than everyone was expecting.”

COVID- 19 hit the marching season hard. The students have had to adapt to the situation and find new ways of doing things. What they have had to do is an entirely different kind of chaotic than in other years. Previously, the band had been able to put on complex shows, practice in close proximity, and celebrate achievements as they wish, but that all changed this year. They now have had to be organized, cautious, and attentive while adapting to a very unordinary situation.

“The biggest changes this year are having to learn how to perform with masks, being socially distanced on and off the field, and having fewer in-person activities like football games, competitions, and practices,” Lohman said.

The marching band has big plans for their season despite the obstacles. As time goes on the students will shift from half-time shows and senior features to a full show later in the season when things are more under control. There is no doubt that the show will be amazing.

“For our football game performance with the senior feature we will be playing Treasure by Bruno Mars,” Lohman said. “For the show we will be working on later in the season, we will be playing Mars and Take Five.”

“Our band show this year is called Journey from Mars,“ sophomore Caroline Hardegree said. “We’ve been given some music but I’m not sure how it ties into the theme.”

The seniors are exceptional leaders for the younger students in band, and although is sad that this is their last year in high school band, it hasn’t been all that terrible. In some ways, the seniors have come to appreciate the challenges that have come up as they have provided more opportunities to learn and for the band to grow and improve.

“As a senior this year, I had a moment of realization that I had marched my very last show and not realized it,” Lohman said. “However, even though this year is different, I also recognize it doesn’t mean that it will be worse. I think that COVID-19 has opened up more possibilities for our band program moving forward and even though I won’t be around to see how our band’s response to this makes our program stronger, I know that it will. Even though it may seem right now that this situation is limiting my opportunities in my last year of high school band, I also know that it is opening up opportunities that I would not have had if this did not happen.”

With an exciting season ahead, the students in the marching band expect to grow from the challenges they have overcome and the ones that will come up. The future is unpredictable and one can only hope for good things to come. Whatever does happen, the students will have a very memorable and story-worth year. 

Hardegree said, “I’m not sure what to expect in the future… hopefully greatness. I’ve been going with the flow and I’m just excited to see what this year will bring for us.”

By Mallory Neff, Staff Writer

Featured photo by Camryn Sulser

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