So many students have asked this important question recently, and the answer from our Sauk Rapids-Rice Public Schools band directors is a resounding, “YES! We will definitely have band this year.”
Ms. Planer, Sauk Rapids-Rice Middle School Band Director, and Mr. Sander, Sauk Rapids-Rice High School Band Director, report that band will SOUND as awesome as ever—but may LOOK a little different than in the past. The goals for all of our bands this year will be to play as safely as possible and in-person as much as possible.
The bands have added additional gear as recommended for instrumental music programs based on the most current research. For example, Mr. Sander says the high school band will be using specialized Personal Protective Equipment (PPE), like filtered bell covers and specially modified face masks, for rehearsals. Both programs will utilize play in small groups for some rehearsals, practices and lessons as appropriate. Mr. Sander says, “At the high school, we plan to play outdoors whenever possible, so we can maintain safe physical distance in a full ensemble.” As the weather turns too cold for outside play, Mr. Sander says creative use of space within the high school’s Performing Arts Center (PAC) and band room will ensue.
Mr. Sander reassures students that if the high school group comes to a point in the year when in-person play can no longer occur, the group will explore interesting recording projects and discover new sides of music-making to “keep our chops up.”
Ms. Planer sends this gentle reminder to middle school band students in grades 6, 7 and 8: “Even if you’ve done so in the past, please do not bring your instrument or band supplies with you to open house or on the first day of school. Wait for me to tell you when to do that.” Ms. Planer is managing space in the middle school band room, so it is really important for those band students and their families to get instructions from the director in this matter.
Both Ms. Planer and Mr. Sander are excited to see their band students very soon and begin making-music together—in old AND new ways.