The Pandemic has Basically Ended High School Band as We Know It
There's been a lot of talk this year about high school football, or perhaps the lack thereof. According to WAFB, the Louisiana High School Athletic Association (LHSAA) has tentatively pushed the 2020-2021 season start date back to the Weekend of October the 8th.
Reportedly, that date is tentative because the athletic organization has stated that Louisiana must be in "Phase 3" of restrictions put in place to stop the spread of the Coronavirus before a single kickoff occurs in the state. Governor John Bel Edwards currently has us squarely in "Phase 2" until August 28th, at which time a reassessment of our current COVID-19 crisis will determine if we move on or keep doing what we are doing.
Obviously, that effects more than just the football team. With no fans showing up on Friday nights, a whole semester of high school band is shot for student musicians across the country. As a former band kid, I remember clearly the divide: Fall (and into winter if your team was good) was dedicated to the music and the formations of the marching band's halftime performance. Spring was time for concerts and solo & ensemble competitions. Honestly, in terms of pursuing your passion - band kids may have it worse.
Sure the percussionists (drummers) can practice just fine, but everyone else is literally blowing their hearts (and tiny droplets that could contain and therefore spread the Coronavirus) through their instruments. One person doing it is bad enough, but put together an entire band? That's like a fog machine and biological warfare had a baby.
In the meantime, band directors like McKinley High Band Director Alan Sharlow are doing the best they can. WAFB is reporting that this first-year band teacher is teaching music theory for now, and hopes students will have access to instruments (once they are thoroughly sanitized) so that they could practice at home.