How do you play an instrument during a pandemic?

The show must go on for the Marist War Eagle Marching Band


Photographer: Mr. Brian Collier

The 2019 Marist Marching Band performs in Woodruff Auditorium

By Madison Roberts, Staff Writer

Friday Night Lights at Marist have undergone many changes this year, but the Marist War Eagle Marching Band is still going strong. With a show inspired by the music of Queen, everyone tuning into the football game from home via MBC’s live broadcast gets to witness this year’s ten-and-a-half minutes of music. 

“Because we don’t have to march, we get to reinvest that time in music,” Associate Band Director Aaron Schmitt said. “Away bands aren’t coming to games, which means we get to luxuriate at halftime. We don’t need to compress ourselves to make room for another performing ensemble.” 

No physical marching is not the only change the band has had to make this year. Many band members have had to switch instruments, as the airborne virus has made it risky to blow into wind instruments. “The biggest challenge this year is most certainly learning a new instrument and playing intermediate to advanced level music after just starting,” Band Captain Isa Yelamo-Cockcroft ‘21 said.

Social distancing is another hurdle the band has had to climb, according to Tyler Morgan ‘22, a member of the drumline. “I think our biggest challenge this year is keeping everyone locked into the same tempo,” said Morgan. “Because we are so spread out, it is hard to hear where other sections of the band are in the music as we attempt to play in unison with the other sections.”

Because of the quick changes Marist made in returning to campus, the marching band was able to start practicing in July. The members of marching band have sacrificed a lot to be able to perform this year. All students wear a mask for the entirety of the show. There was no traditional band camp this year, there will be no competitions, and the band is only playing home games.

“The biggest challenge for me is accepting that this year is always going to have an asterisk by it. We can’t play wind instruments, go to away games, take trips together, and that’s all detrimental to our relationships, which is what this is really all about,” Schmitt said. “Making those decisions was actually pretty easy, but just hard to accept. This year and season won’t feel like any other year and season, but it’s to keep us all safe, which is more important.”

Despite all of these challenges, the Marist War Eagle Marching Band is reinvigorated by their love for music. The band has been tackling all of their new challenges to produce an outstanding show, and the energetic performances show these students’ love for what they do.

“Our students are creators,” Schmitt said. “They give more than they take.”