After practicing officially for about two weeks in July, the SHS Band of Warriors marching season was halted after the Indiana State School Music Association canceled this year’s competitions statewide in light of COVID-19.
“As a member of the ISSMA State Board, I 100 percent support the decision made by ISSMA. At the end of the day, the health and safety of ALL involved is and should be our top priority,” Band of Warriors Director Curtis Turner said in a letter to the community following the cancellation of the competitive season. “This decision is by no means meant to be a slap in the face to all students, as much as the decision hurts and as much as you, as parents and fans, may feel it is. Not having ‘contests’ to look forward to is a great loss, but remember that there are many other reasons why we love the band.”
“It was sad to see it happen but understandable and all the precautions made it harder to have fun but not impossible. It didn’t make it harder to play at games because of how spaced we are. The precautions did make it hard to practice due to how closed in the room is.” junior Colin Owens said.
At past marching band competitions, hundreds of people attend the competition to cheer their school band on and to participate. The competitions allow the students to meet people from other schools, which now would be considered hazardous as COVID-19 spreads through the air and large public gatherings could increase the likelihood of a spreading event.
Despite the cancellation of in-person competitions, the ISSMA provided a virtual alternative option for marching bands across the state.
“Groups will video record a performance of their show and then upload the video to a secure platform for three judges to watch and critique,” Turner said. “The judges will assess and provide commentary on the performance, give a score, and award a rating of gold, silver, or bronze. A trophy will be sent to the school of the necessary rating.”
The Band of Warriors continues to practice during class time and after school. The band performs Friday nights at home football games and will host a community performance on Oct. 3 at Warrior Field, located at Scottsburg Middle School. At the community performance, the band will record their virtual performance to submit for judging by ISSMA.
“Having band cut short was disappointing because the freshman heard so many great stories from years past and they didn’t get to experience those things this year,” sophomore Sonya King said. “The precautions did make some things difficult like block work and condensing things down because we’d have to keep our masks on and that’s pretty difficult when we have to play. Overall, COVID made it hard to stay motivated. We don’t really have an end goal, but we’re all trying to pick each other up and push ourselves to become better.”