Band students in Tea are feeling the changes COVID-19 has brought this fall.
High school band director Stephanie Wranek said while all of the marching band competitions they were planning to attend, with the exception of one, have been canceled, the band plays on. Instead of competing in marching band competitions this fall, Tea Area band students will march at home.
Traditionally, the marching band has performed street marching. This year they are practicing the music they had planned to compete with in parade contests on the field. The change means band members have their position on the field to play the music and the color guard will move around to do their routines.
“We’re going to do a couple of home concerts out on the football field instead of traveling to the competitions we normally would,” she said.
With the pandemic, summer band camp was canceled. Percussion and color guard started practicing earlier this month but wind instruments waited until school started to begin practice.
Their classroom is now the football field. Wranek plans to have band class outside for as long as the weather will permit.
When they practice outdoors, they are spread out 15 feet apart so they do not have to wear a mask. Instrument bells are covered with a filter material. They received a parent donation and a grant that has allowed them to buy matching bell covers with the Titan logo printed on them. These will be arriving in a few weeks.
They also received a large delivery of special player’s masks this week from community volunteers.
“There’s a spot where you can put your mouthpiece through and you can play with a mask on. We just got those today so when we have to move indoors and can’t be that far apart they will have to wear those masks and bell covers and then we will still try to keep them 6 feet apart when indoors,” Wranek said.
Middle school band members are practicing the same way. Fifth grade students are beginning to try out instruments to make a decision on what instrument to play.
“The school bought some special kits that have some plastic mouthpieces. They go into a way to sanitize them and then they dry so it’s going to take longer to do than usual,” she said.
Wranek said students are disappointed about their marching band season, but says they are adapting well.
“They’re very disappointed that our marching band season has been, the competition portion, has been canceled. Otherwise they are adopting really well to everything that we’re asking them to do. I think that they enjoy coming outside because they get that mask break. We’re only on day four here,” she said.