Band Together


Christine Vo

Band has enforced new precautions, so that they are able to practice safely.

Lake Ridge Eagle Band is back in action for a brand new year. After spending weeks rehearsing, band is ready to perform at the upcoming football game on September 24. Despite the circumstances involving COVID-19, band students are more than prepared to start the new school year with a bang. Including senior band students who are getting ready to say farewell to their last band season.

The Eagle Band has been doing rehearsals differently this year. Safety guidelines like wearing masks at all times and social distancing to keep each student safe has been implemented for this year. These precautions are to be practiced through the entire season. Head band director, Bradley Bonebrake, says taking these new precautions during rehearsals have been running smoothly.

“The marching band rehearses after school in smaller groups than usual, rather than rehearsing with the entire group all together at every rehearsal. For marching fundamental practice, the students are spread apart by 15 feet on all sides. Six feet of social distance between students during water breaks is closely monitored by the directors and staff. The band students have been very cooperative in abiding by the necessary social distancing protocols,” said Bonebrake.

Bonebrake also said that students have two different types of masks for rehearsals and performances.

“The band students have “regular” masks and special musical instrument performance masks. The band students will be wearing masks whenever possible, including at football games,” said Bonebrake.

Flute section leader and senior, Asia White, says it can get a bit complex when teaching new band members the ropes for the new year, especially with the new changes, but it’s a part of the learning process.

“I’d say the hardest part about leading is trying to incorporate the freshmen and teach them all they need to know with limited time. I have to make sure people are following most of the protocols and everything, even though it’s pretty difficult,” said White.

Clarinet section leader and senior, Kylie Wagner, says all of the section leaders have been trying to find new ideas and tactics to keep each band member safe with the safety guidelines in place. Even though band season has gotten a bit stressful for Wagner, she is confident that their hard work will pay off.

“Our job as section leaders has taken on more responsibility as it is our job to ensure the safety of those in our section. We outnumber the band directors, and they have trusted us to not only enforce safety procedures, but also to lead by example. We are also having to find ways to teach fundamentals without being hands-on, which means we have to be innovative in our presentation of information, so we do not sacrifice the quality of instruction. Overall, the pressure, work, responsibilities have definitely been heightened, but this role has given us a sense of resourcefulness and self-assurance that will last a lifetime,” said Wagner.

Wagner says her goal this year is to give show stopping performances and doesn’t want students to feel let down with everything going on concerning the pandemic.

“My goal this year would be to put on the best show possible given our circumstances. Even though we haven’t been able to practice as much, I want the band to be proud of the show they put out on the field. I don’t want the circumstances to discourage the student, but motivate them to do better each performance we are able to have,” said Wagner.

Senior and trombone section leader, Gregory Martinez, said the easiest part about his band experience this year has been their warm ups. The hardest part for Martinez this year is social distancing away from his bandmates because he’s used to interacting with them,

“The easiest thing is just warming up, but it’s only because I’ve been doing it for 3 years already, but the hardest part is probably staying away from each other. We are so used to messing around and talking so it’s really hard to remember that I need to stay distanced from my friends for both myself and for them,” said Martinez.

Martinez also said that being a section leader for his bandmates is now even more important because of the extra responsibilities the pandemic involves.

“There are more responsibilities to me not only because I’m a student but because I’m also a leader, so it’s my peers and I that are held to a standard and set an example of what we are supposed to do, like having masks on and social distancing. We have to keep going no matter how hot it is or how tired we are. Everyone understands the risks fairly well, so masks are on unless we are drinking water apart from each other. We also have to take it upon each of ourselves to stay safe for both us and our friends. This lets us keep going and learn our show until the end. There were already responsibilities like staying hydrated and cool and paying attention, but we have to add care to the pandemic that could affect the group

Like Martinez, senior and brass captain, Noah Daniels, says the easiest part about his band experience this year is the warm ups at the beginning of rehearsals and the hardest part is marching as a group while keeping six feet apart from each other.

“The easiest part of rehearsals are the warm ups. The hardest part of rehearsals are marching while keeping ourselves distanced from each other,” said Daniels.

Daniels also added that helping his peers and making sure everyone is using safety guidelines effectively is another responsibility to make sure his bandmates stay safe.

“I have an extra duty to make sure that I am helping as many people as possible while also trying to enforce everyone to wear their masks and keep social distancing,” said Daniels.

From practices, to competitions, and football games, band has been taking safety precautions to keep each other safe during these uncertain times. The Eagle Band is staying united not just as a class but as a family to make sure that seniors have a special year regardless of this world wide pandemic.