The Band Marches On


Taken by: Brendan Locke

State College, PA-The marching band practicing marching techniques, socially distanced. They are able to practice in a socially distanced format, thanks to the Optional Outdoor Marching Plan.(Photo/Brendan Locke)

Cora Bainbridge, Sports Manager

With extracurricular activities at State High being limited due to COVID-19, the State High Marching Band has found new ways to play. Safety is the number one priority for the marching band staff, and with the announcement of this year’s upcoming season, it was at the forefront of every member’s mind. Members came back in early August, and some were filled with both anticipation and caution due to the new safety procedures.

“When I first heard that marching band was going to happen, I was excited for the year ahead but also a little concerned on how we could do it safely,” Dance Team student leader Jessica Zajac said.

The marching band was able to practice under an Optional Outdoor Marching Plan, where the members were not allowed to play–only march. During these marching practices, when on the field, each member of the band was spaced to be at least six feet apart from each other, and, in some situations, ten feet apart. When the school board passed the Playing of Music safety plan, new masks were ordered: surgical masks with small slits cut in them to allow playing. 

Everything had passed in order for State High’s marching band to be safe and successful. However, given the fact that one of the main aspects of the marching band is to perform at sporting events, with only essential people allowed at these events, the band’s season was slowly getting cut shorter and shorter.

With CNET coming to film them, it became apparent that after their performance, the marching band would be hitting the pause button. With this shortened season, seniors started to reflect on their experience this year, which allowed them to think back on all of their fun experiences in marching band.

“I am glad to have spent time with my bandmates and friends. Regardless of the current situation moving forward, we had a great season and I am thankful for every moment,” senior Owen Nasal said.

The upcoming pause to the marching band’s season does not take away from all that this band has persevered through: not being able to play music for a week, not being able to march and play even after the safety plan was passed, and trying to stay safe with 158 members on the track at the same time.

“I think if the band does well-as we have so far and I think we’ll continue to do-then that is going to be a good sign to other extracurriculars that have to meet in person. We’ve shown that it can be done,” Drum Major Rocco Ragonese said

If 158 students can find a way to safely practice, social distance, and perform, hopefully they can show others that in-person extracurriculars are possible during an ever-changing time.