As a member of the BHS band, I can certainly say that the pandemic has drastically altered the normal band experience. Playing instruments while containing the germs that come out of them is a challenge faced in many schools worldwide this year, due to the extra risk it can bring. Here at BHS, Ms. Gaudet, administrators, band parents, and the band students have risen to the challenge. Here’s a chronological look at what band has looked like throughout the year.
Fall: The beginning of the school year is always a very important time for the band, because it’s the start of marching season! Usually we have a week-long band camp the first week of August, but it was drastically modified during the summer of 2020. We met in small groups for an hour everyday, and did not get the opportunity to start fully rehearsing the halftime show. To stay safe, we’ve been using modified masks and bell covers. The flute players even have masks that zip open so you can properly play the flute. Learning the music wasn’t hard, but missing out on field time was. See, the halftime show consists of us playing about 4 songs, and there are a series of shapes built into each song. We have a drill chart with a dot for every person, the dots make the shape, and hence the show had flow. All of that part of the show was done during evening rehearsals on Monday nights, and remarkably, the show was completed in record time. From then on, we were able to play at a couple home football games, with a bit of a different look. Instead of wearing the traditional uniforms, we all wore bright red shirts and black pants. No plumes(feathers) or shakos(the hats) this year! Our parents could even attend several games, and the fall season went off surprisingly well.
Winter: After marching season ended in early November, it was time to kick off concert band season. In concert band, we play a variety of longer more challenging pieces. Concert music is more complex than the marching music at football games, and usually needs a lot of time to perfect every aspect. During this time, our band location also changed. Instead of the band room, we played in the theater. This was definitely an interesting experience. It was strange to be so spread out, especially with split classes where only a small amount of people were playing. The balance of instruments varied in each class, and we all had to be confident in our individual parts in such a small setting. Eventually though, our location changed again. When Phase 2 started in February, we moved to the commons. This was more reminiscent of the band room, and was a better environment to really collaborate and work on our music.
Spring: In phase 3, band changed yet again. Now, we play in a large tent outside of the band room. There is also more balance in classes with the majority of us back in school, meaning there is more variety of instruments. The band tent has certainly been an experience! We are used to playing outside during the marching season, but this has been a little different. Band class now involves bringing an extra jacket, and having a system with a binder, sheet protectors, and clothespins to protect music from the wind. Some days are cold, but other times we get to experience the beautiful spring weather while playing. All of us students and Ms. Gaudet are just happy to be playing in a semi-normal setting. We’ll be ready for our spring concert in May!
So many people have helped the band during this difficult year, especially Mrs. Wilensky who sewed the modified masks and bell covers, and all of the other band parents. Thank you!