The time since I wrote my last column has felt incredibly long. In spite of that, the uncertainty hasn’t changed. The only thing that seems certain is that this fall will be very different from our usual routine.
Flexibility and Patience
We’re all navigating new obstacles in day-to-day life, and marching season will likely see plenty more. With no precedent to guide us, everybody is doing his or her best to figure out new policies and procedures. While groups across the country have been making plans, rehearsing virtually, and may even be returning to the practice field, we all need to keep in mind that nothing is set in stone moving forward.
More than ever before, we must be flexible and patient as requirements adjust and affect how, when, and where we are able to rehearse and perform. The last few months have been fairly unpredictable, and the uncertainty will likely continue through the rest of the summer and fall.
Health and Safety
New policies to ensure the health and safety of all members and staff are guaranteed to be implemented this season. Everyone should try to arrive early for rehearsals and events, possibly for health checks and to allow time to thoroughly sanitize equipment afterward. I expect disinfectant wipes to take up permanent residence in my guard bag this year.
I’ve always told my students not to touch other people’s equipment (and not to let band members touch their equipment), but those rules will be more important than in the past. Individual equipment bags are likely to replace communal ones in order to help keep equipment separate. Performers must endeavor to follow these procedures more strictly, now that lives may be at stake.
I wish I had more definite answers for everyone when it comes to dealing with what I fully expect will be a completely unique season, but no one has been in this situation before. All we can do is be patient, stay flexible, and do our best to keep each other safe.