A Wonderful World in the Age of COVID

By: Hayden Alexander

The Drum Major made eye contact with the drumline, hands poised, ready to give the count-off. We stood three feet apart, covers on our bells, music filling our hearts. The Drum major’s hands went up, the masks came off, and our sound exploded into the night. It had been months since we had performed, months since we had felt the joy of dancing in the stands, months since we screamed until voices disappeared. The return of Friday Night Lights marked the return of the Jenks Trojan Pride.

Before COVID-19, the band was slated to perform at Regionals in San Antonio, Grand Nationals in Indianapolis, and several state competitions. While the loss of these experiences is disappointing, the band is not letting it stop them. Instead, they are utilizing this time to focus on the smaller details that get glossed over in the rush to get ready for competitions.

“The marching band is still a marching band, but the scenario you’re in is different,” says Scott Hillock the headband director.” We want to do it and we are thankful we have the opportunity to get to do it,”

Drum Major Holly Hilst 12 stands ready to begin the halftime performance. Photo by: Izzy Pankey

The Trojan Pride has been working hard since late July thanks to the new COVID policies in place. Students are required to fill out a daily health form, wear masks on the sidelines, and distance on the field at all times. Practices have been limited and even canceled due to weather during distance learning. 

“We are social distancing as much as we can,” says Julie Cryer, an assistant director of the marching band. “For us in the marching band that means students have to be three marching band steps away from each other to maintain that six-foot spacing.” 

During football games, students are required to distance themselves at all times. In order to achieve the correct distance, the band spent a rehearsal figuring out their exact spots in the stands. Masks are mandatory in the stands, during chants, and when entering the field. The band also utilizes instrument covers to reduce the risk of spread. 

Percussionist Jack Williamson 11, wears a mask during the band’s halftime performance. Photo by: Izzy Pankey

The theme of the marching band show this year is “Wonderful World of Wonder” featuring “FINALE” by Aaron Zigman, The “Children’s March” by Percy Grainger, “Breakfast  Machine” by Danny Elfman, “Rainbow Connection” by Paul Hamilton & Kenny Ascher, and last but not least “Let’s Go Fly a Kite” by Richard M. Sherman & Rober B. Sherman. There are also fragments of recognizable childhood songs scattered throughout the music. 

“Most band shows would play songs that non-musicians wouldn’t know,”  says Steven Nguyen, 12 a Student Leader in the band,“but this year we have nursery rhymes pieces and music from kids films like Marry Poppins being played with concert band pieces,”

Concept photo for the Trojan Pride’s Marching show entitled “Wonderful World of Wonder”. Photo by: Jenks Trojan Pride 

The main concept of the show is that the audience member is transported into a child’s mind and they get to experience the wonders of a child’s imagination.

“Just play like you’re going in the mind of a child. They’re reading a book, it’s a book that they really like, and you can see their imagination go wild,” says Hillock.

Even in the midst of a pandemic, many in the band feel that the marching band is essential and that a semi-return to normalcy is good for the students. The band will spend this season preparing the new members for the rigors of competition season next year and give the seniors the best year possible. 

“Being out and having an activity and being outside is a great thing for our kids both musically and mentally. “ says Cryer. 

Junior Rori Johnson sports the Trojan Pride’s brand new uniforms. 

The band plans on performing at every home game this season. You can see the band in their stylish new uniforms on October 2nd at 7:30 pm at the Jenks vs. Broken Arrow game!

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