After being virtual for over a year, the Marching Band is back in person and persevering during COVID. Marching Band, just like almost all other clubs, had to go virtual last year. It was hard to do Marching Band virtually so Mr. Posner is thrilled to be with his students again saying, “We’ve all missed being with each other, and getting to be together and play music and working hard has really been amazing. We have a great group of students, and I love being with them.”
The theme for the show this year is based around a show from Disney’s Hollywood Studios in Florida called Fantasmic which is based on the Disney movie Fantasia. The reason Mr. Posner chose this show is because the music is “light, fun, and just something that everyone can get behind.” The first part of the show is, “upbeat, positive, and exciting,” according to Mr Ponsner. It contains a lot of excerpts from Mickey the Sorcerer which Drum Major Nico Taber remembers being one of his “favorite shows growing up.”
The second part of the show is all songs from The Little Mermaid, and the final part of the show features intense and dark moments from Mickey’s dream in Fantasmic. Within the last part of the performance, the tubas hold their note for an extended period of time and Carlos Chen, a tuba player for the Marching Band, said his private teacher called it, “a park and bark.” However, the show does finish on a positive note. The Marching Band plans on performing the show at three different competitions this year, one being at Century HS, another at Westminster HS, and the final one being at Towson University.
Throughout the shows and after school practices they do have to follow COVID precautions. When practicing the show on the football field there is no real difference this year since as Mr Posner stated,“The HCPSS guidelines say we do not need masks outside.” However when practicing inside of the building, which only occurs during inclimate weather, they wear special masks and put covers over certain openings on brass instruments.
One of the only large effects Covid has had on the band is enrollment numbers. “The band’s enrollment has dropped significantly. We’ve usually been between 85-95 members.” Mr. Posner continued, “The redistricting process affected us a lot, and over the past year and a half students found other interests or, unfortunately, are just tired and worried about school which I totally understand.” However Mr. Posner and the band remain hopeful and have a positive attitude throughout all of this.
As Mr. Posner mentioned, one of the main concerns of students who are thinking about joining is about balancing school and Marching Band. Mr. Posner advises those who are scared to join to try it out because, “…studies show that students in Marching Band on average have the highest GPA’s in the school of any other activity. Colleges loving seeing extra-curriculars and when I was an undergrad…it was my job to go through ALL university applications to pick out the students involved with music, because the admissions counselors wanted to know, and the band could offer some scholarships.”
Another main concern for new members is having never played in the band before. But as Drum Major Nico stated, “So many people join without any experience in their instrument. I did saxophone without having played it at all and I loved it. Everyone was so welcoming even though I didn’t sound very good at first… It really is so nice to have that really accepting family around you, people that you can always fall back on, if you’re having a bad day or just wanna talk about something. Mr. Posner has a saying that it’s a little bit about music and a lot about life.”
Anyone interested in leadership roles within the band has a great way to get involved: sign up to be a drum major. The process for joining is different every year but Nico stated that, “ This year it was just a quick application where we sent a resume and talked about a service project that we wanted to work on for the band…, he then talks about how he , “did an interview and the staff majors and drums years from the past year voted on who will be the drum major…It just kinda depends where the band is for that year.”
However through all of these things the band is excited for this year, and as Mr Posner puts it, “Band is the ultimate outlet for relieving stress, not adding to it. You have a whole group of people to support you and no one fails. There’s a place for everyone in band, and as our students say, ‘Home is where the band kids are!”
And if anyone reading this is debating on joining the Marching Band this year Nicos advice is to, “…join Marching Band if you’re at all interested. We would love to have you.”