Marching band season canceled

Kaleigh Earhart takes a break during last Friday's graduation. She and the rest of the marching Musketeers learned that marching season for 2020-21 have been canceled.

The disappointment caused by COVID-19 for the Class of 2020 officially made its first impact on the Class of 2021 last week with the announcement of the cancelation of the fall marching band season.
The announcement was made July 15, by the Indiana State School Music Association.
The news was disappointing to both Matt Lindley, who directs the band at Eastern and Bonnie Harmon, who is the band director at Salem.
“We felt it coming,” Lindley said. “I was having conversations with the kids ahead of the announcement. We talked a lot about the ‘why’ we do band. Students, parents and former band members were asked why they do band and none of them said for the trophies. It’s the other aspects that come with band.”
Lindley said those aspects include family, atmosphere, hard work, practice and time together.
“We still get to have all of those things,” he said. “We don’t get to compete, but we still have our time together and all the great things about marching band. We can still accomplish through other aspects of the program.
“It’s frustrating and disappointing for our seniors, but at the same time, we have a lot of things to do, a lot of improvements we can make and get ready for next year!”
Harmon said disappointment was the primary emotion she felt when the announcement was made.
The Marching Lions were coming off a state championship and were anxious to get back at this year.
“We have such a great group of seniors this year,” she said. “All of the senior groups are special, but this one is a nice group and we were going to have another great season. It’s disappointing that we won’t get that opportunity.
“The kids were already talking about the season and looking forward to it and were ready to get in there and take on all competitors.”
West Washington was not planning to have a marching band this season, as they are looking to rebuild the program.
Eastern had already determined who the drum majors would be this year -- Anna Brown, Allyah Garvin and Vanessa Walker.
“They had already been through a week of virtual drum major camp,” Lindley said. “They were excited, as well as our other student leaders, we were well underway when the announcement was made. I am thankful for our music association making that announcement now instead of six weeks from now.”
Salem doesn’t use the drum major model, but Harmon said the seniors for the 2020-21 school year are Emily Morgan, Brayden Westfall, Tyler Zink, Parker Blackwell and Colton Wheeler.
While the marching season has been canceled, both Lindley and Harmon said there is still plenty to do.
Harmon said if there are athletic events, the band will be there supporting the Lions and even taking part in some competitions virtually.
“There are lots of things we can still do, but the primary objective remains the same and that is to grow as musicians,” she said.
Lindley said he is encouraging his students to remain focused.
“It’s still an important year for us,” he said. “It may not look like other years have looked for us, but there is still a lot to get accomplished.”

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