Bandemic: How Marching Band has Continued to Practice Through COVID-19?

With many school-run sports and activities being either postponed or canceled due to the Coronavirus pandemic, questions have been raised about the feasibility of conducting extracurriculars in a safe, socially distant manner. One activity that has been able to persevere safely through the pandemic is the Glenbard North Marching Band. Band director Lauren Whisnant says, “As musicians, we thrive on our ability to hear other musicians and interact with each other verbally and nonverbally. This is almost impossible virtually, so we need the time to rehearse together to continue to progress as musicians.” 

Rehearsals are held about every two weeks in the evening, but there have been multiple challenges involved in creating a safe environment. These include wearing masks and using bell covers on instruments. Every student must pass a temperature test and complete a self-certification form for potential Coronavirus symptoms. 

Of course, to adhere to safety guidelines, compromises have had to be made. Due to social distancing guidelines, the band is unable to do any marching and must play at a stand-still six feet apart from each other. Students may not enter the building. As for spectators, Activity Director Kevin Erday says, “Parents are allowed to watch from their cars with the windows down. To ensure that parents also follow required guidelines, we have signs asking them to stay in their cars and cones blocking every other parking spot to ensure that cars are also at least six feet apart.”

Much like all aspects of this remote school year, marching band rehearsal is very different from previous years. In contrast to previous years’ three-hour rehearsals, this year’s have been shortened to ninety minutes. Rather than having both indoor and outdoor rehearsals like previous years, all practicing is done outdoors on the football field. Unfortunately, the marching band will not have the opportunity to perform its West Side Story show at any football games this semester. However, it remains unclear whether there will be performances at the scheduled games in the spring.