Marching Band Is Back, but It Looks a Bit Different


Photo courtesy of Chamblee Marching Band.

The Chamblee Marching Bulldogs enjoy a socially distanced rehearsal.

Adam Pohl, Staff Writer

Like many other clubs and extracurricular activities, the Chamblee Marching Bulldogs have been held back from meeting by COVID-19 and DeKalb County School District’s safety policies. However, that is all changing, as their first practice was held on September 28.

Practices are a different experience now, though, as the band is required to follow a plethora of safety precautions instituted by the county. Everybody involved in the practices is required to wear a face mask and socially distance, and band members are prohibited to share water, valve oil for instruments, or anything else. Additionally, each member’s temperature is checked at the entrance to each practice, and trips to the restroom are limited to one at a time. The biggest change, however, comes from the implementation of practice pods, smaller groups of band members, divided by sections.

“[Because of the coronavirus], we can’t gather in huge groups, so to limit the risk of infection, but still be able to do marching band to some degree, we’re practicing in pods, which are groups of up to 20 students and one adult,” said Senior and Marching Bulldogs drum major Samantha Hopper. “If one person on one pod tests positive for COVID, the entire pod has to quarantine for 2 weeks.”

Pods are being kept completely apart, practicing on different days of the week. And while students understand the necessity, it is still difficult to get adjusted.

“It’s really tough for all of the seniors to spend our senior year marching band season divided up like this. I have friends in pods that I’m not a part of, and it’s devastating to not be able to experience this last season with them,” said Hopper.

All in all, though, student’s concerns revolve around the fragility of the system.

“My biggest concern is that people won’t take the rules seriously, try to get too close to their friends, and get the whole system shut down,” said Hopper.

Jasmine Lawrence, a junior and third year Marching Bulldogs member shares this sentiment. “I feel like people aren’t gonna follow the rules within their own pods, like not following social distancing just because they’re so excited to see their friends,” said Lawrence.

For the most part, however, students are just glad to be practicing, and are excited to be back on the field.

“I’m just happy that marching band is starting,” said 9th grader and first year Marching Bulldogs member Christopher Navarette.

The band isn’t learning a show this year, but still plans to attend football games to play in the stands. And while these plans are still tentative, the band is excited to have some semblance of a season.

“I’m looking forward to playing [stands tunes]  at games because playing [stands tunes] is one of my favorite parts of marching band. Just being in the stands with all of your favorite people around you, playing music that’s fun to play, it’s just very therapeutic for me,” said Lawrence.

The Marching Bulldogs hope to be back to a normal schedule by the 2021-2022 school year, but until then, they are making the best of it. 

“ I’m still just so happy to be able to do something with the band. Chamblee’s band program is one of the best things I’ve ever been a part of, and I was terrified that I’d have to graduate without being able to spend my senior year without them,” said Hopper. “I know this setup isn’t perfect, but the people who came up with it did the absolute best they could given the circumstances, and I’m so grateful. I’m just looking forward to creating music with my band one last time before it’s time for me to go.”