Playing from the porch: Marching band keeps high spirits during COVID outbreak

May 5, 2020

The marching bands across the districts played their school’s fight song from their porches at 3 p.m. on March 27.


In the midst of the coronavirus chaos, what better way to welcome the beginning of spring break than the comfort of the fight songs? This was a way to start off the week with a high note.


“The idea originated with a school in Northern Ohio, and Mr. Raiff, Mr. Smith and the other administrators within the district thought it would be great way to end that week just before spring break with something positive, familiar and uplifting,” band director Dr. Ishbah Cox said.


While many members of the band participated in this event, some took it a step further by group face timing with other players while they performed.


“It felt weird playing and being heard by myself,” junior Emma Neff-Friel said. Neff-Friel participated in the event by  playing her flute from her front yard. “I’m used to have 250 other players next to me when I play the fight song, and six others during our concert season,” Neff-Friel said.


During these trying times, band members have found other ways to keep up the interaction and communication they would be used to as if they were still able to see each other in class every day.


According to Cox, they have challenges between classes to see who is practicing the most individually, and as classes collectively. “We utilize software called SmartMusic, which allows individuals to explore, practice and be assessed on anything that I assign, anything that I arrange, and anything that they explore,” Cox said.


It doesn’t stop there. Not only are they communicating their practice times, but they are also staying up to date on their individual goals and having mental check-ins. Cox has his students self evaluate by asking three questions: where are you, where do you want to go and how will

you get there?


“These questions are regarding their personal goals as musicians. I also wanted to take inventory of how they are doing individually and how they are coping managing these challenging times,” Cox said.


Moving forward, the band was planning on attending band camp this summer to prepare for the upcoming season. 


“I still don't know what the future holds, however, I will both plan as if it will be a normal Football Friday Night in August but plan also to prepare for unique and new guidelines. We have to think ahead and creatively to ensure that we have some kind of success,” Cox said.
After weekly Schoology conferences with Cox and their classmates, the band is ready to step back onto the field.


“I think everyone is excited to be back on the field and marching after a season of sitting in chairs,” Neff-Friel said.
 

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