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TSSAA guidelines have high school musicians playing unfamiliar tune

Story courtesy of James Clark, Editor of Southern Standard


Members of the Pioneer Pride Marching Band will have to change their tune, or at least their routine, if they get to perform this year during high school football games.


The TSSAA voted on rules for sporting events on Wednesday and bands were included in the guidelines issued.


The section pertaining to bands says, “Due to the potential increased risk of virus transmission during certain activities, the use of school bands at contests is discouraged. If the band is present, limit to a halftime performance or relocate the band from the stands to other available areas away from crowds and increase the amount of physical distance between band members.”


Warren County High School band director Duane Farnham says a meeting has been scheduled for next week to determine how to proceed with band this year.


“I want to be a team player and do exactly what the school system wants us to do and what’s best for the kids,” said Farnham. “I should know more after our meeting next week.”


He said it’s probably unlikely the band will sit in the stands at football games as usual because the 100 or so band members would take up a huge amount of stadium space sitting 6 feet apart. He said the most likely scenario he sees now would be for band members to perform at halftime in a stationary position, spaced appropriately across the field, and then leave.


Band camp, originally scheduled for this week and next week, has been canceled. As a result, the band’s routine and song selection will have to be scaled down because band camp is typically the time when much of that framework is established.


“The routine has gone through several iterations,” said Farnham.


He said the band originally planned to have a very competitive show in line with what judges are looking for today, but had to change that idea because of all the missed time due to coronavirus.


The plan was changed to offer a tribute show to those who have been forced to work through the pandemic, but that idea had to be scratched when band camp was canceled.


“Now we’re trying to figure out what will be workable,” said Farnham.


Like sports, band is an important part of the lives of the students who are part of the Pioneer Pride Marching Band.


“I know all of the kids are eager to get back and perform,” said Farnham. “There are still a lot of questions to answer.”

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