For the DSF Band, having limited movement on the field and bell covers on their instruments are obstacles they never expected to deal with. The past year has provided numerous challenges for the band, many of which make it more difficult for them to play. Despite these new obstacles, the band is still doing their best to bring entertainment and joy to Freeman families.
The band performs on Freeman’s front lawn on Wednesday, May 19 at 6 pm. Many families who live in the area will either attend or hear the band play from their homes.
Students in marching band arrive at school early in the morning every Tuesday and Thursday, where they practice for an hour. Other ensembles have practice on Wednesdays, so many of the students in the marching band attend practice three days in a row. This can make balancing band practice and academics difficult for students, especially around this time of the year as students prepare for AP exams. “We have AP exams coming up,” junior Nafisa Anjum said, who is in percussion. “It can really be stressful at times.”
Even during these stressful times of the year, students in the marching band are committed to their craft. Many students attended rehearsal the day of their SOLs. In fact, the band’s upcoming performance lands on a day of three AP exams.
School stressors aside, many COVID-19 precautions have changed the way the band plays. All students are required to wear a mask, but those who play wind instruments have a hole in theirs that allows them to play their instruments. Additionally, students use a bell cover over wind instruments to prevent aerosol droplets from spreading while they play. In order to maintain social distancing, the band isn’t allowed to march or move around as they have in years past. Instead, they position themselves six feet apart and play in their own area. “It’s pretty different – just standing there,” Nafisa said.
For members of the color guard, moving around used to be an essential aspect of their performances. Much like the band’s requirement to stay six feet apart, members of the color guard are required to remain in place. “It’s been a bit of a change,” junior Virginia Johnson said. “But everyone has been really understanding of the changes we’ve had to make.”
Despite the challenges and changes they’ve had to make, the band has stayed dedicated to bringing joy to their audience. “Being able to play for people makes it worth it,” Nafisa said.