The 2020 band season has completed its first semester, heavily limited on many sides by COVID precautions. As a musical group based on in-person experience and participation, the band has struggled to maintain its usual practice, rehearsal, and performance schedule.
A technical standpoint of the music shows that COVID precautions have put a strain on the ability to perform together with the same quality and participation as previous years.
“The biggest difference is the participation. With a lack of players, skilled or not, it is hard for us to have coordinated effort to make something great,” sophomore Leonardo Huerta said.
When not practicing in person, the band often has to work together online over Microsoft Teams which presents a very different experience and quality than that of working in the same room.
“Unfortunately, teams just isn’t ideal for playing music over long distances, with warped tempos and rhythms, and breaking audio quality, it can have an even worse effect on players than not participating at all,” Huerta said. “The quality is almost night and day. If you go back and check the recordings, you will be in denial that it is the same band.”
The changes in procedures continue to be a restricting factor between students as they attempt to work together.
“The new procedures and precautions definitely make things harder as we can’t meet with each other as often, or work as close to each other as before,” sophomore Giovanni Victorio said.
However, the band has always been affected heavily in social aspects when noticing the changes in socialization and community.
“I feel that the sense of community has changed quite a bit not only with the change of band directors, but a change of life for all of us,” Huerta said.
The band has always been a group based not only on playing instruments together, but the social life and interactions between the members.
“The thing that feels the most different is the amount of people that show up to rehearsals. There are definitely less people, but this is most evident in Orchestra where there were only four of us.” said Victorio.
The lessened student participation results in even more distance between the band members as the semester goes on.
“ COVID-19 took away the biggest source of our community which was band camp. But now with reduced numbers, I’m not sure if I can even call it a band. It felt like family at one point,” Huerta said. “We had leadership in our community. But now it just feels like people with instruments who happen to be in the same class.”