FAIRBORN — The Fairborn marching band will not be participating in competitive shows this year.
The band normally participates in six to seven band competitions each fall and travels to Indianapolis for the Bands of America Grand National Championships in November.
Fairborn is following suit of other larger schools, including Bellbrook High School, in canceling their competition schedule. The marching band will still perform at home football games, though currently it is unclear if they can perform at away matches as well.
“As a mother who’s been in the band program for nine years, it’s very disappointing,” said Wendy Landon, president of the Fairborn Music Club.
Nonetheless, band practices have begun for Fall 2020 as students, parents, and staff gear up to make the season the best it can be for the marching band. The color guard, drumline, and pit section have had seven practices so far in July, while the brass and woodwinds sections start practices next week.
All sessions are held outside, with students social distancing from one another. For brass and woodwind players, since playing a wind instrument rather precludes wearing a mask, those students will be provided with bell covers per guidelines by the Ohio Music Educators Association. Temperatures are taken upon arrival, and facial coverings are required inside school buildings. All band students are assigned their own equipment, including instruments, cleaning supplies, and sticks for percussionists.
Little will be normal for students going back to school this year. Particularly for rising seniors, the cancellation of dances, banquets, and other hallmark gatherings hits particularly close to home. However, Landon and other band parents are looking for ways to keep celebrations like these alive as much as possible, including the Senior Breakfast.
“These kids have already had enough disappointment,” Landon said. “The band is doing one heck of a job making sure this happens right.”
The Fairborn Music Club provides nearly all funding for Fairborn High School’s music programs. The money pays for everything from instructor salaries to sheet music to instrument sanitation. The club runs nearly 40 fundraisers in a year, including Jazz Fest and Band Day, but most of these fundraisers have been forced to cancel due to COVID-19.
With these new challenges, however, the club is finding ways to adapt and overcome. Currently, the Fairborn Music Club is selling handmade cloth masks, one for $8, or two for $15. More information can be found on the Fairborn Music Club Facebook page.