Marching band finding new formation with COVID-19 guidelines

Local News

SIOUX FALLS, S.D. (KELO) — Despite the pandemic bringing many activities to a halt, one program is marching on. The Lincoln High School Band is on the field practicing for this season. Members are having to incorporate social distancing, masks, and a tool to decrease potential spread from certain instruments.

When a marching band pulls off an impressive formation, it isn’t as easy at it looks.

“It is a lot of work, which is something that might be a little different this year,” Mason LeMaster, Lincoln High School senior, said.

Mason, a drum major, is right.

“We’re just pretty much doing what we can,” Mason said.

The 200-plus students in Lincoln High’s marching band are adjusting their routines so they can space out and following COVID-19 safety guidelines. They’re wearing masks to practice, and they have to answer screening questions every day.

“Look them in the eye and tell them you have to be honest, because the longevity of our season depends on honesty and people taking care of themselves,” Daniel Carlson, head band director, said.

Carlson says when many can’t wear masks during performances, students will spread out as much as possible.

Brady: “What about the spit valves for the brass instruments?”
Carlson: “Right now, what we want to do… For the spit, I’m not as concerned about that. I’m more concerned about the air that comes out of the bells of the instruments. We want to get some bell coverings.”

Carlson says that’ll help mitigate any aerosol particles that come out of the instruments. The National Federation of State High School Associations is studying whether the aerosol produced by instruments students blow into can spread COVID-19 particles. NFHS recommends using the bell coverings to reduce any risks.

“We’re trying to take, get as far into the season as we possibly can and give the kids a good experience. As good as we can this year,” Carlson said.

The formation will look a little different this year, but Mason says he and his bandmates are trying to find their footing during a very off-kilter time in history.

“The school district and the band program have been doing everything they can to make it as safe as possible. But there’s — kind of have to accept the fact I’m not going to have a regular senior year,” Mason said.

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