On Friday, April 30, the Centennial High School Marching Band concluded its first-ever spring season with a final performance, including a recognition ceremony for the seniors in the program. The production showcased the hard work and dedication of the Counterpoint dance team, the Color Guard flag bearers, and the instrumentalists, and drew an enthusiastic response from those who attended.
In a typical year, the marching band performs during halftime of CHS home football games. However, with the steep rise in COVID-19 cases last fall, administrators cancelled all performance-based activities outside of school. Band directors David Matchim and James Kranz, Counterpoint director Rebecca Clark, and Color Guard sponsor Sydney Littmann organized a fully virtual fall season, culminating in a video show that featured spliced-together clips of each participating student.
As Howard County schools began to transition to hybrid learning in March of 2021, Matchim began reaching out to students to gauge interest in a possible spring marching band season. This year’s drum majors– Seniors Colin Eng and Josh Oberly and Junior Audrey Hasson–worked collaboratively with Matchim and Kranz to plan the season.
“We had to decide what would be possible to put together in five rehearsals when we would normally have ten,” Hasson said.
The return to in-person, school-affiliated activities was officially approved by the school system in late March, and plans were put in place for a spring season to start in April. The band met twice a week in the Centennial parking lot, donning their instrument-specific personal protective equipment (PPE), including specialized masks and bell covers.
Despite the condensed season and new safety equipment, drum major Hasson felt relieved that the band “didn’t have to be perfect” and replicate previous years’ performances since the situation was so unprecedented. “We still wanted it to feel like a marching band family and produce something that we’re all passionate about,” Hasson commented.
The final performance consisted of three popular songs– “Hey Pachuco” by Royal Crown Revue, “Shut Up and Dance” by Walk the Moon, and “Viva La Vida” by Coldplay. It was a special night for all and a long awaited reunion for the Marching Eagles.
Next year, the marching band hopes to return stronger than ever and experience a full fall season. Hasson believes that the difficulties posed by the pandemic will not hinder the band moving forward and is excited to see what the future holds. “We all went through a COVID marching band season together, so I’m sure we will come back next year with even more spirit and enthusiasm for this program,” she expressed.
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