Reported by Monika Garcia
The James Madison marching band has been celebrated for its large numbers. Due to the pandemic last year, about one hundred band students lost interest in the program. Now with a new year starting, the Madison band is still depleted but is planning to compete in this year’s UIL marching competition.
As some band members feel they are recovering from a gap year, they may be wrong. “I don’t feel like we had a gap year,” said assistant director Michael Reynolds. “We had a year of marching band “lite.”
Assistant director Jaime Ramos also has a positive message, stating “It’s pleasant, refreshing way of getting back to being able to do stuff that’s normal again. It put it into perspective how much we took things for granted.”
During the year 2020-21, James Madison High was vacant at the beginning of the first semester, as students were based at home doing online learning. Throughout the year, students had the option to stay online or go in person. This posed a lot of challenges for the band since not everyone was back. The school district itself had strong rules implemented in the school, meaning most normal UIL (and other things) participations weren’t allowed. Since then, the students realized how much they took for granted.
Assistant drum major and senior Pablo Espinoza said “I’d say it changed the way I see the band in the sense I’ve taken so much for granted. I experienced how much we had as a band, and then covid changed it all.”
The underclassmen are more affected by this than anyone. The freshman last year never got to experience a marching competition this year, or even a regular band year. They missed out on summer band and the busy rehearsal schedules we have now.
When asked how they felt about this year, sophomore Isabella Lorenzana reflected “Last year wasn’t much of a marching show, and they didn’t really have high expectations for us at the time, so this year feels odd in a way.”
Surprisingly enough, the freshmen are less worried about this year’s preparations than the sophomores are. Freshman Andrew Brown decreed that this year isn’t really a problem,” and “isn’t that stressed out for competition this year.”
All grade levels in band are excited to be starting the year again on an action-filled note, and everyone is working hard to make this the greatest year after a year of nothing.