Marching Band returns for a long awaited season

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Courtesy of Michael Pavlik

A group of students in the Marching Band playing sousaphone line up to perform at a home football game. “Leading up to the first game, nothing really felt real-especially because of COVID-19 it’s been hard to really look forward to something and expect it to happen,” senior Rose Menichini said. “When we came back, it all finally set in and it was so much fun to walk out on the field again and hear the pep band songs.”

Phoebe Stergios and Mustafa Valika

After a year of not performing, the Marching Band has finally returned, bringing with them an abundance of positive school spirit. The ensembles are performing at football games and plan to participate in future concerts at the end of the year.

“We are thrilled to be able to perform again,” director Michael Pavlik said. “At the last football game, even temperatures in the thirties couldn’t keep the Marching Band away from playing to the end of the fourth quarter of the game. The kids played really well and we all had a blast.”

The program took into consideration the COVID-19 pandemic and have implemented restrictions when performing in large groups.

The Pep Band performs at last week’s football game. After a year of not performing, the York Marching Band is more excited than ever to perform at football games and future events. “I am thankful for the amazing community that the York Marching Band is,” freshman Isabella Pingel said. “Those have been the times when I have really gotten to know people and have made memories that will last which is what really matters.” (Photo courtesy of Mike Pavlik)

“We are planning to have around fifty students in attendance at the football games as a socially distanced pep band,” director William Ernst said. “We won’t be marching a halftime show due to spacing, but we are really looking forward to performing with one another again.” 

Even with these restrictions, the ensembles are incredibly excited to perform again after such a long wait. Senior student leaders and directors are appreciative to get a season this year.

“Like the rest of the Marching Band and Color Guard, I’m definitely looking forward to partaking in one of the band’s most special traditions,” senior drum-major Grant Heinberg said. “Being a drum major adds a little extra stress to it, but it makes the end result even more rewarding and enjoyable.” 

In the band community, the students in the ensembles have created many friendships with one another. The students are hoping to get the most out of their musical high school experiences by the end of this year.

“One of the best things about Marching Band is the time in between songs and before the game-when you just get to talk with your friends and hang out with the band,” senior drum-major Rose Menichini said. “We have two more games but there’s a modified Collage Concert scheduled for the end of the year, and hopefully small groups will also get to do some rehearsals and get in a performance or two later this year as well.”

Although, amid this frantic year, it was difficult for some students to form relationships with other students and immerse themselves within the community, especially freshmen.

Seniors and Drum Majors Kayla Rask, Grant Heinberg pose for a photo before performing at a home football game. “The total amount of musicians in the bands hasn’t changed much, but we’ve had to limit our pep band size to 50 people and have been distancing to follow the necessary guidelines,” Heinberg said. “However, the spirit behind the performances is definitely the same.” (Photo courtesy of Michael Pavlik)

The transition to band at the very beginning of the year was actually pretty difficult for me,” freshman Isabella Pingel said. “But when I actually got myself out there, I felt so welcomed, even if it was in the most obscure ways possible, and it made me want to be a part of the community even more. It may not be normal, but it’s enough for me.”

After a long awaited time, the pep and marching bands are welcomed back with open arms. Despite the setbacks, the program has come back stronger, more determined and excited.

“The band students have been extremely patient and understanding throughout the year with regard to all of the changes that have taken place,” Pavlik said. “I have been so proud of their grit and adaptability – it’s an awesome privilege to work with such great students.”