Musician-friendly masks allow band to host full in-person rehearsals

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Sophomore James Cao rehearses “Mr. Blue Sky” with the flute section. Photo by: Aasha Sendhil

Aasha Sendhil Watchtower Editor-in-chief

Daria Milovanova staff writer

Band members held their first in-person full rehearsal on the football field on Tuesday, May 11, after a year-long hiatus for performing arts students due to the COVID-19 pandemic. 

“Honestly, the in-person rehearsal happened very quickly. It was an idea we have had for a while, but it was hard to find field time especially with all the school sports teams practicing at the same time,” Head Drum Major senior Maryann Han said. “It was only last week when we decided to really try and push for it, and the plan came together very quickly. All we had to do was figure out how to get some of our larger instruments down to the field and how to pass out our special instrument masks and instrument bell covers.”

To limit the spread of germs, band students are required to use bell covers for the instruments and to wear musician-friendly masks that allow them to insert their mouth pieces. Han and her assistant drum majors distributed the face coverings at the beginning of the rehearsal as students checked in.

“The band masks are different from normal masks because they have a vertical slit along the middle of the mask that allows the band members to insert their mouthpieces in and play. The two sides of the mask overlap along the slit around the mouthpiece so that there isn’t exactly a gaping hole in the middle,” Han said.

“The masks allow us to actually have in-person rehearsals, which is a great step forward after having nearly a year of online band,” Han said. “Online band and playing alone at home is just not the best band experience, and the masks allow us to play together when students do come to school in person, which is a nice option to have.”

Transitioning from lonely virtual rehearsals to on-field practice made the music feel more coherent and pleasant for percussionist freshman Jeremy Levin.

“It feels great being back in person as what we’ve been working on can be put together as a group. It’s a lot better as music is annoying and hard to play alone, but together it sounds nice and allows me to count accurately,” Levin said.

Han agrees that music sounds better when playing with others.

“Music, in general, is just not the same when you are playing alone. It’s nice to be able to hear the other parts of the music play along with you. There are harmonies, melodies, and counter melodies that you miss out on at home that you can hear again when playing live with others,” Han said. “I really think being together physically and playing together live is a core part of band that brings people together, and a lot of band members were reminded of that nice feeling.”

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