It goes without saying that all of Amador’s sports, clubs, and activities have been significantly impacted by COVID-19.
Marching band has been no exception. Instruments can produce aerosols that carry the virus and can stay airborne for long periods of time, making practices, even with proper distancing, unsafe.
However, the spread of aerosols can be reduced with equipment such as instrument masks and bell covers. Research conducted at the University of Colorado has shown that instrument covers can effectively lessen aerosol spread without a significant impact on sound.
“The [instrument masks]…have an extra layer that overlaps and a small opening in front of the mouth where the instrument mouthpiece goes in. All musicians were given bell covers for their instruments to prevent aerosol spread that way [as well],” said band director Mr. Grantham.
The Amador Friends of Music (AFM), a community organization dedicated to supporting the Amador music program, was responsible for fundraising and bringing the masks and covers to in-person practices.
“It was absolutely necessary to provide instrument masks and covers to marching band students so that they could play as soon as the district, following county health guidelines, allowed it,” said AFM president Ms. Hwang.
Despite social distancing guidelines and the requirement for new equipment, in-person practices remain important to students on both personal and professional levels.
“Though the marching band and color guard did not have the opportunity to practice for half time performances at football games or marching band competitions this season due to the pandemic, [giving] this year’s freshman class the opportunity to learn how to march and learn color guard skills in person. . .will be an important building block for next year’s season…I [also] hope that these in-person practices helped the marching band and color guard students cope with restrictions brought on by the pandemic,” said Hwang.
As a musical program with 92 years of history, the Amador marching band has, with no doubt, found ways to strive for excellence despite the circumstances.
“We are glad we got to some playing in our small groups. The band hasn’t made music together since March 12. It was awesome to hear the Marching Dons once again,” said Grantham.