BERKELEY HEIGHTS, NJ- Since mid-August, the Governor Livingston Marching Band has been working to perfect a show that may not even have a chance to be viewed by a live audience.
The season started on August 18, with a two-week band camp. Following camp, the band, which consists of 54 student musicians, took a two-week break, and then jumped back into three to four hour practices on Mondays, Wednesdays, Fridays, and Saturdays.
With the strict regulations surrounding sporting events due to COVID-19 pandemic, a decision was made to have the band only perform at home games, as is the plan across Union County schools.
Other precautions have been taken such as “COVID covers,” which are elastic coverings attached on the bells of wind instruments that prevent the spread of aerosol spray.
In addition, students must fill out a health screening form and record their temperatures before attending in-person practice.
A signature aspect of the Highlander Marching Band is its uniforms. Traditionally, the band wears kilts when performing to pay homage to the school’s Scottish history. However, in the fall the band will be wearing a “civilian uniform”, consisting of a Highlander Marching Band polo shirt and khakis.
The band’s show that will be performed can be organized in different ways. For example, the band can perform all their songs at once, or take breaks between songs, since the performances will be recorded for competitions.
Highlander Marching Band Director Nicholas O'Sullivan said, “We have had people join past the start date, which is something we haven’t done before, and I like it!”
Instead of looking at this new, uncertain season as a means for stress and negativity, O’Sullivan is optimistic. He believes the band can be productive during this time, and there are ample chances to get things done.
Senior Section Leader Emma Sylvester, shares the same belief. She said,“I think it’s an important year to work on the basics, so that anyone who’s here next year will be better and have a better foundation.”
Another Senior Section Leader John Koubek provided insight on how most seniors in marching band are coping with COVID-19 impacting their last year in band. “I feel like right now we’re really doing the best that we can, and we’ve been doing a great job of persevering, and really making the most out of the situation,” he said
Although the ongoing pandemic may give some cause to consider canceling extracurricular activities, the Highlander Marching Band has no intent to scrap this season.
With these new regulations, the band is certain that this season will be as good as any other, and maybe even better.