The wall of sound returns


Photo provided by Ashley Lee

THE PACK MAKES A COMEBACK: Northwood’s marching band leadership meets on Zoom to discuss the logistics of upcoming plans.

William Baik and Tyler Wong

Northwood’s marching band made its official return second semester after the California Department of Public Health (CDPH) issued safety guidelines pertaining to wind instruments. With the return of the long-awaited marching band season, many students are excited about this announcement; However, some have also questioned this decision, particularly with the current severity of COVID-19.

“There’s a lot of uncertainty,” Instrumental Music Director Ben Case said. “I think it’s very normal as these are big changes that we’ve never really seen before. That being said, we’re keeping safety first and foremost.”

Marching band began its virtual meetings on Jan. 28 to communicate in-person and virtual plans to students. Meeting once a week in-person in separate cohorts, students will also be practicing their instruments individually and with other members in virtual sectionals.

When students attend in person,

they will be required to follow specific safety protocols, such as using brass bell covers and wearing face masks specifically for horns and face  shields for flutes. Students will also be required to be spaced out at a minimum distance of 12 feet by 12 feet, and rehearsal times will be limited to 30-minute segments with five minute breaks to allow aerosol to disperse. The safety precautions have relieved some student  apprehensions.

“I still naturally have concerns like everyone else but, knowing our directors and how meticulously cautious they have been, I trust their judgment in returning for the second semester,” drum major senior Sean Yan said.

The marching band looks forward to rehearsing their repertoire of “Fight Song,” “Word Up” and “Don’t Stop Believing” in sectionals this year. Though a sign of Northwood’s return to normalcy, there are still marching band members who have chosen to remain at home for this year. Regardless of their absence this year, Case and the other music directors reassure that the bonds created through music are ones that take much more than a 12-foot distance to break down.

“If you’re a part of our program at any point, you’re always a part of our program,” Case said. “Maybe you’re not participating in the same way that you always have, but that doesn’t take away or negate any of those relationships and friendships that we’ve built over the years.”