Dr. Ryan Smith, Frenship High School’s new Band Director, said due to COVID-19 this year has been different for many of his band members, but now with football season in full swing, they are getting back on track.
During a typical school year, UIL mandates allow high school bands to begin practicing during the summer months. Additionally, they typically travel to each away football game, where they perform their marching show as well. This year, they were set back by three-weeks and have not been able to attend each away football game.
“Normally a football season starts at the end of August, beginning of September,” Smith said. “Normally at this point we have already performed six or seven times, maybe even more. Our very first time to perform was during the game at Jones AT&T stadium, which was pretty high pressure.”
Dr. Smith said last weekend the band performed at the Lubbock Westerner Marching Festival at Lowrey Field in Lubbock.
“This was only our second time to ever perform our show,” Dr. Smith said. “They did a great job, and the judges loved the show and the energy of the music, so we are very excited about it.”
Dr. Smith said this year he and his staff decided to go with a “Keep Calm and Carry On” theme. He said that they wanted their student to focus on the fact that even though things are different this year, we all just must “carry on.”
“We are focusing on fundamentals, so we can have a little bit more fun,” Dr. Smith said. “We are performing ‘Carry on my Wayward Son’ by Kansas, ‘Carry On’ by Fun, and then since all we are trying to do this year is survive, we are also performing Destiny Child’s ‘Survivor.’”
Dr. Smith said the new band uniforms are a more relaxed style than a traditional band uniform. He said that these uniforms are serving as “COVID” uniforms since they have a scaled back season this year.
“These new uniforms will be our secondary uniforms for the future. This year we will use them at football games and parades, which in the future will help preserve our UIL uniforms.”
Dr. Smith said for Homecoming and all home football games, due to social distancing requirements, the band will be sitting in chairs in the end zone.
“We would take up half of the visitor side stands with our full band,” Smith said. “This will be our first time sitting in the end zone, but we are excited to see how this works.”
Assistant Band Director Jose Gonzalez said COVID-19 has helped them re-build their band program and breakdown all procedures to revamp them. He said that this will help them this year, and for years to come.
“It has been a good learning process to establish what we will be doing for the next few years,” Gonzalez said. “It has been a good defining year for us.”
Assistant Band Director Hunter Stockton said that the band students and staff have learned to have more patience this year.
“Teaching band is one thing but teaching band during this time had been a whirlwind,” Stockton said. “Three months into the process now, the students are doing great, and we, as a staff are doing great. We are ready to finish out the season strong.”