Band trip to New York ends in COVID spread among Amador students


Provided by Adi Lankipalle

Amador band students wait in the audience before performing at the world-renowned Carnegie Hall in New York City.

Lauren Tran and Savana Garber

During spring break, the Amador Valley Band traveled to New York to play at Carnegie Hall, a prestigious concert venue for aspiring musicians. While the band were able to channel their musical ambitions, over half of the members returned sick with COVID-19.

Band members were not required to test for COVID prior to or during their trip, nor were they required to wear masks or social distance.

“[COVID] wasn’t a problem during the trip. But after, our band director did hand out COVID tests and he asked everybody to get tested because it’s obviously a concern, but it wasn’t like anybody knew about COVID during the trip,” said Adi Lankipalle (‘23).

A need for testing and strictly following COVID protocols were not prioritized due to COVID rates declining and vaccinations. 

“I think everyone is sort of at a new normal where they’ve been vaccinated, and they feel like they’re okay. When people do get COVID, it’s like a bad cold. So I feel like people are kind of letting their guard down a bit more, which is understandable,” said Brendan Nelson, Vice Principal.

In New York, the students were often close together in large groups indoors, so there were multiple instances where they were susceptible to spreading or catching a sickness. One instance is when the Amador band partied on a ship in close quarters.

“The last day, we all went on a cruise with two other schools from California who were also in the same program. And there were three bands together, so it was probably close to 400 people on one ship,” said Megan Tu (‘25).

With numerous band students absent from school, the separate music ensembles have been working to operate under these circumstances. 

“There’s quite a few people missing. I think it’s stopping us from progressing as much as we can,” said Tu.

Since many band students returned from New York sick with COVID and colds, the other non-infected members are taking their own precautions.

“I’m testing almost every day, and I’m avoiding people whoI from the trip and not getting too close,” said Das.