Marching on hold

Distance learning creates new note for music students


Jacqueline Magana-Chavez

Visual representation of the music department.

Like with many other sports, marching band and colorguard have had to cancel their fall season due to the COVID-19 pandemic, however, unlike other sports, their competitions have not been rescheduled for a later time during next semester.


Since the start of school, our marching band and colorguard staff have been working together to create a useful curriculum for those involved in the program,” music director James Rumenapp said.


As an Applied Arts elective course, marching band and colorguard students must attend twice weekly Zoom meetings on Monday and Thursday during 7th period. Transitioning online has not been easy and there have been changes to the curriculum. Now, marching band and colorguard staff are now focusing on lessons which they otherwise might not have had the opportunity to cover.  


Currently, students are being presented with the opportunity to learn “about all the elements that go into making a show and are synthesizing those components and making something of their own that could potentially be produced by a band,” Rumenapp said.


Flute and fill-in clarinet section leader, Katie Collier, believes that even though everyone involved is doing their best, it is still difficult to get some things done. 


During seventh period, both marching band and colorguard join together on a Zoom call to do a workout for the beginning of class. After the workout, marching band, colorguard, and drumline usually break into smaller, separate Zoom calls to work on technique. Collier feels marching band is not marching band without a show and that right now it is just “glorified PE mixed with a little bit of music appreciation”.

right now it is just “glorified PE mixed with a little bit of music appreciation”-Katie Collier

As a Leader, Collier is finding it difficult to build a sense of community within the groups of musicians that she is in charge of. It has become “so hard to get a full sectional together,” which is small groups within instrument sections, something that students must do their best to attend outside of the allotted class time.


Agreeing with many other marching band and colorguard students, sophomore Jimena Magaña-Chavez, strongly believes that “practicing on your own is really important for marching band.”


Since marching band students all have instruments at home, those in colorguard are able to take equipment home to practice. Student practice during live Zoom class time as well as on their own. Colorguard senior, Cassidy Nettles spends about one to two hours practicing with equipment, such as rifles and flags, at home. Although Nettles finds practicing to be important, she advises new students of colorguard “to make sure they are able to stay on top of their homework.” 


Typically marching band and colorguard only last a semester. Second semester winter drumline and winter guard, both with competitive auditions, would start. However, because of the differences between this year and previous years, marching band and colorguard staff are looking into extending their season into the second semester Magana-Chavez said.