The Band Marches On: What Performance Means Now

The marching band experience looks wildly different to that of years past, but the ensemble has taken its new conditions in stride.


Jessica Velcheck, Bear Hub Staff


With the cancellation of any and all competitions in August, we braced ourselves for a season that was stopped before it could even start. Of course, the pandemic promised to threaten the fate of every in-person event or sport, but hope was held out that we could still perform for an audience. Just in case, we reported to practices to learn and hammer out the show. Everyone had to line up -six feet apart at all times- to get their temperatures checked, after filling out a required Google form to report on any symptoms they hopefully didn’t have.

Any hope held out would be fulfilled; a miracle in the form of the season’s first football game. The band would not be allowed to sit in the stands as spectators, where in previous seasons we would be to play as a pep band. No uniforms, only matching sweatshirts and jeans. Our instructions were to report for a short rehearsal on the lower turf before lining up to march out on the field. There were a lot of nerves about the upcoming performance; “I was fairly confident in knowing my drill, but I was worried in overdoing it before my solo, especially when we did two full run throughs before performing” recalls Adrian Sorice, 11. “ But overall it ended up being perfectly fine.”

Perfectly fine indeed; with drill written to keep a minimum of six foot’s distance, and masks only pulled down if the student needed it to play, the first performance of the year was absolutely successful. Drumline in time with drum major, the unity gave a solid foundation for the rest of the band to shine. It was exhilarating and rewarding, getting to show off at last. Adrian shone in his solo, taking a stance on the front sideline for the audience to hear. We quickly cleared the field upon concluding with a cheer, and now had an idea of what performance would look like during this unusual season.

Though the next performance was cancelled due to unfortunate circumstances, the band would get to end an uncertain season strong. With a rousing run of the show for the final football game and an event for the parents on Halloween, everything would conclude on a very bittersweet note. Seniors were recognized, and circled up to sing American Pie -as they’d done in years past- one last time.