Courtesy of Mariah Lambert
Struggle and overcome. That is the general theme of 2020 for the LCHS Marching Minuteman Band. Despite numerous COVID-19-related obstacles, the 71-member band has performed at all home football games and had the opportunity to practice during the summer as well as after school hours.
“The band has worked so hard to get to where they are now, we learned new field shows every 2 weeks, and it’s been hard this year trying to get everything done,” Audra Cogar, freshman, said.
According to LCHS band members, the 2020 struggle started just weeks before their trip to Disney World in Orlando, FL last March.
The band was slated to travel to Disney World in Orlando, Florida to perform at Magic Kingdom but it cancelled because of Covid-19.
Band members and their families spent several months fund-raising for this trip which happens once every four years. Members said they were not the only ones disappointed with the cancelled trip.Members said money was refunded to the students, but they were disappointed the trip was cancelled. Walt Disney World closed for several weeks during the start of the pandemic.
“The band got the money back from the trip however that didn’t help much because all the band wanted to go so (badly),” Mr. Allen Heath, band director, said.
Band members said they felt especially sorry for senior members who would not get an opportunity to make the trip as an LCHS band member in addition to all spring events including the concerts, parades, band banquet and final farewells.
“I felt like I had everything I was working for in band was taken away, and our seniors will never experience what that’s like, ” Raylee Radabaugh, sophomore, said.
Members, though, played on despite the challenges. The struggles for band members carried over to the beginning of the school year with band camp being cancelled.
Band camp, as it was normally conducted, was cancelled with members working during the summer.
“Even though we dealt with many obstacles this season, including a very limited performance schedule, all of the band students surpassed the expectations and had a great marching season. This proves that band students are hardworking, high achieving, and successful students that can work through any type of situation.”
Students said that it was also disappointing that the festival at Phillip Barbour High School was cancelled due to COVID-19 and the statewide ban on extracurricular activities.
For about 24 hours, it seemed as though the band’s performance season would end as Governor Justice announced that band would not be able to perform at football games.
“As Covid got worse the band was refused a lot of things we were not allowed to travel, we were only able to play at home games, and eventually it got to the point where the band wasn’t allowed to play for 24 hours” Heath said.
The outcry of many parents, family members, and supporters of the band sent tons of emails to high-ranking individuals including those making the decision.
Looking to the future, band members said they are hoping to play at basketball games this winter. However, it all depends on the virus and the WVSSAC rules for the crowd capacity and the band.
Heath said the concert band this year the band will be learning a concert march, two pieces for the band festival, and two other pieces that differ in style and technique. The band is excited to do concert band and possibly play at basketball games. Band members said they will do their best to give a good concert show and try their best to represent the school if they go to the band festival in the spring.
Members said they are focusing on the positives and the future.
“Band family stick together no matter what. We are one,” Hannah Collet, junior, said.
Sophomore Emmalee Cottrel said she agrees and is very thankful she had the opportunity to be in band.
“Even though this year wasn’t normal for us we adapted to what we had and made the best out of the situation. I’ve met pretty amazing people in the band (who) became family to me. People in the band are the most genuine positive people that I know. The band is like an escape from everything for people,” Conttrel concluded.