Marching in quarantine

The marching band has had to adapt to many changes this year in light of the coronavirus but continue to march


Brooke Veith

Jordan Barber and Ben Rutherford are proud to be representing Bethel Park as members of the marching band.

Clara Moir, Staff Writer

The Bethel Park marching band has a long and proud tradition in the community, but with the rise of COVID-19 cases and meeting restrictions in our area, it’s been harder for the band to create the wonderful halftime music it normally does.

In early August of 2020, new and returning students in the marching band were pleased to hear that band camp was, in fact, happening that summer. All students were informed about the safety precautions they had to practice to ensure a safe and fun marching band season.

Musicians were split into their instrument category groups (brass, woodwinds, and percussion). Each group arrived and left the school fields at different intervals during the day in the order of percussion, woodwinds, then finally brass.

This arrangement imposed a severe time loss, going from the usual five hours of camp per day to only 90-minute intervals. However, the band members made the most of their limited time together.

The songs that were given to the musicians to practice during band camp were, “Can’t Stop the Feeling,” “Larger than Life,” and “Bye Bye Bye.” The dedication that the musicians put into these songs was tremendous, and some marchers were even ready to perform for the games.

After band camp, there was a waiting period to figure out a plan for the school year. The directors came up with a plan that started with Thursday only, but then led to every Tuesday and Thursday when the football season started.

Hoagie sales were also brought back after much thought and planning. The traditional hoagie making assembly lines for band students were scrapped, in favor of purchasing hoagies in bulk from a food company. All band members except freshmen were still expected to sell at least 50 hoagies by October 17.

The biggest change in the marching band this year has been the football games. Band sections occupy almost the entire visitor seating section to maintain social distancing, and all musicians wear masks except for when they were playing music.

Last year, the standard formation on the field placed four marchers every 10 yards. This year, the new formation places two marchers every 10 yards, spreading out the band significantly.

With the vast time reductions during both band camp and practices, marchers had almost no time to chart and march every song. This was particularly hard for the freshmen since these topics are completely new to them. So, for the first few games, marchers stood in standard formation, played the songs to the home and visitor sides, then walked off the field.

At the next and last home game (Bethel v. Moon), marchers will play the senior night song instead of the usual show and then march in formation for “Hot Time” and “Bethel Victory,” a beloved tradition for Bethel football fans. The formation and charting are a bit similar to previous years but have been altered to fit social distancing rules and to make it easier for the freshmen musicians.

Despite the challenges the marching band faced this year, the musicians have savored every second they get to spend with each other, making music and representing the school on the field at halftime.