RAPID CITY, S.D. — The COVID-19 pandemic has put many people and things into flux this year.
This includes students and those that participate in extra-curricular activities.
The Rapid City Stevens High School Marching Band hasn’t been exempt from the effects of the pandemic, but its members are marching on.
Some might think that playing an instrument may be difficult. But, if you add in other elements like masks or instrument bell covers for the students and marching while trying to remain socially distant, it could be the recipe for disaster.
Not for the Stevens marching band.
“They know to take it down to play and to get it up right afterwards,” said George Dragoo, the Band Director of Rapid City Stevens High School. “That’s almost become second nature, they don’t even think about it, they just do it at this point; and with the bell covers, at first it feels a little different, sounds a little different, but the made the adjustments they make right away.”
Members of the band are taking many things in stride and have become accustomed to the added safety measures implemented, like getting their temperature taken before practice.
Those adjustments that the students are making still come with challenges.
“I would say just making sure to stay like six-feet away because you want to go say ‘hi’ to people,” said Abby Scott, a Drum Major. “But you can’t really, so that’s kinda weird but once you get used to it, it’s not that bad.”
“It’s hard and you always have to be conscious of where the mask is on your face to be as safe as you can be and that’s kinda hard, so it presents more challenges,” said Cole Blackett also a Drum Major.
“It’s actually not too different, of course, it is just like an adjustment with the mask, but flags are usually six-feet apart anyway so we don’t hit each other,” said Jessa Simpson the Captain of the Color Guard. “So it’s not too different but it is kinda strange.”
Thankfully for students, they practice formations and techniques for marching outdoors. This helps to keep students socially distant and sharp for marching band season.
With the added safety precautions being taken, Dragoo and his crew are hoping to keep the band “marching to the beat of their own drum” for as long as possible.