Playing an instrument during COVID-19 has risks and gathering a group of musicians presents issues for the health of all involved. Though this was an exceedingly difficult task, band director Mr. Brian Yealy ’79, P’10, P12, assistant director Mrs. Lynn Yealy ‘84, P’10, P12, the Delone Catholic Music Association and the school administration worked together to find ways to bring the marching band back together in the late summer to prepare for the half-time show.
Because of the delayed start, students had to make up for the loss by putting in extra effort on top of keeping track of the various COVID-19-related procedures. Some of the implemented COVID-19 procedures include a temperature and symptom check, social distancing, using bell covers for wind instruments, wearing masks and gloves, and regular sanitation of equipment. However, the most challenging obstacle was the loss of a typical band camp, which is normally an overnight camp held at Penn State Mont Alto.
In its place, the marching band met at the practice field every night for a week for four hours, significantly less time than is usually needed to learn the drill for the whole field show. Despite all of these challenges, we managed to learn the whole drill and put together the music and movements with great success considering the barriers we had to overcome. This could not have been even an option without the great dedication of the marching band staff and student members. This year’s band is composed of 16 instrumentalists, 15 of which are veteran members.
The half-time show for the 2020 football season is entitled Rock On!, a collection of popular rock songs. The show opens with lively “Paint It Black” by the Rolling Stones. Drum major Austin Stiles is featured with his trumpet solo in the Beatles’ “Yesterday.” “Groove Machine” highlights the percussion and color guard sections, with drummers Jon David Frizzell and Isaac Sheerer and color guard members Joy Stonesifer and Molly Stonesifer with featured solos. The show then jumps into 21st-century rock ballads with “Just Give Me a Reason” by Pink and Nate Ruess in a stand-still concert piece. The show is brought to a strong close in the last song, “Tommy,” by The Who.