A Band Apart

Due to rising cases of COVID-19 in Orange County, band’s practices and shows are conducted entirely online.


Rachel Lim

David Lim, sophomore, plays his saxophone during a Dec. 3 marching band practice, held on Zoom. The pandemic has forced Performing Arts programs, like band, to conduct practices and shows online.

Quickly pulling on marching band tunics, blasting pep tunes in the stands during Friday night football games, competing at competitions, and performing in annual concerts in the Performing Arts Center are annual traditions for BOHS’s instrumental music students, but due to the COVID-19 pandemic and increasingly stringent social distancing guidelines, all musical events for the remainder of 2020 will be conducted online. 

The annual Evening of the Arts event, traditionally held in the PAC, will be hosted via a live online webinar on Dec. 16. With pre-recorded performances from each of the musical departments, each member will record themselves playing their instrument, and a program called Soundtrap will be used to edit the recordings together into a single audio file to be distributed to the public. Jazz Band will play “Christmas Time is Here” and Marching Band will perform an annual holiday favorite, Leroy Anderson’s “Sleigh Ride.”  

Amanda Simental, freshman marching band member, is disappointed that the event won’t be conducted in-person because “[Evening of the Arts] is usually a super-festive event” and one of the highlights of the year for the performers.

Because of the many in-person limitations of COVID-19, this year’s “The Planets” field show will be shared through a compilation video of the musicians performing their intricate routines. The production will be shared with families and friends at end of the first semester.

Currently, band members participate in after-school online rehearsals on Zoom, and utilize breakout rooms to collaborate with other performers. 

Substitute Band Director Kenneth Taber is directing all of the instrumental music classes, including Marching Band, Chamber Orchestra, and Jazz Band.

Taber, who is filling in for Band Director James Charrette while Charrette remains on paternity leave, acknowledged that he is sad that students will not be able to play together on campus because of rising cases of COVID-19. Despite the challenges of directing band remotely, Taber explained that he has “tried hard to incorporate other tidbits of knowledge within the discipline of music” to help his students achieve proficiency in their skills.

Students rehearsing online acknowledge that rehearsing from home has been especially challenging. 

Abra Marquez, sophomore flute player, finds it difficult to practice music with other students through Zoom due to lag and erratic internet connections. 

Also, with the 0 Period Marching Band beginning its remote Zoom rehearsals at 7:05 a.m., many band students find it difficult to practice on their instruments without waking up their families or disturbing their neighbors.   

Some musicians, however, like Enzo La, sophomore flute player, find distance-learning convenient. “I am able to set my own schedule and go at my own pace” when practicing, La said.

Maya Sanborn, freshman cello player, enjoys some of the online limitations because “we are able to practice more independently,” but she doesn’t like “how the audio glitches on Zoom,” making playing “on tempo” challenging. 

La is hopeful that the band will produce quality results regardless of online learning since his section works hard on “learning the material and mastering it.”

As the pandemic continues, and BOHS once again moving to full distance learning, instrumental music classes will continue to meet online as they prepare for upcoming virtual concerts.