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Patriot Band accepts ‘new normal’ to deliver marching performances

NOTE: Support Bob Jones Band at their annual mattress sale on Aug. 29 from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. in the band room. “We need your support more than ever! Masks will be worn, social distance will be maintained, and disposable covers will be used for trying out mattresses,” Band Director Leigh Thomas said.

MADISON – Ever tried playing a musical instrument while wearing a mask? Even this requirement has not squelched excitement to make music for Bob Jones High School Patriot Band.

“An amazing system of parent volunteers” has helped with virus precautions. “They screen each child (take temperatures and ask questions about symptoms) every day — sometimes twice (when) we have both class and after-school rehearsal,” Band Director Leigh Thomas said. Kevin Smart is assistant band director.

Bob Jones students have agreed decidedly to wear masks and maintain social distance. “They’re all just glad to be back together and are determined to do whatever it takes to stay safe,” Thomas said.

Students can only play wind instruments outside. On rainy days, students break into smaller groups around the school to allow for indoor safety. Bandsmen are working on posture and horn carriage, while anticipating a student-designed marching show and music theory lessons.

For the football show, students already used “four-step spacing” in past shows (one student on a yard line, one between each yard line), so distancing is easy. Currently, they’re playing in place to memorize show music but eventually will implement some marching. Brass and woodwinds slip the mask below the chin when playing and then return masks on the face. “Students have been great at following our new protocol,” Thomas said.

The football show’s theme, “Rainy Days,” relates to weather. Well-known tunes include “Thunderstruck,” AC/DC; “It’s Raining Men,” The Weather Girls; and “Rocked You Like a Hurricane,” Scorpions.

In addition, the competition show examines time and “making the most out of every moment … perfect for the times,” Thomas said. Selections include “Time,” Pink Floyd; “Back to the Future” theme, composer Alan Silvestri; “Time After Time,” Cyndi Lauper; and “I’ve Had the Time of My Life,” Bill Medley and Jennifer Warner.

Currently, Bob Jones band will perform in the stands and on the field for four home games and three away games. “The students are working very hard to make this happen,” Thomas said.

No marching competitions are scheduled now. However, the band will learn that challenging music/marching to further develop musical skills and wait for a competition in digital format or other option, hopefully.

Drum majors for 2020-2021 are Ashley Rehage, senior French Horn player; Claudia Vargas-Ramirez, senior flautist; and Alondra Vargas-Ramirez, junior alto saxophonist. Claudia and Alondra are sisters. The all-female team is the second one for Bob Jones.

Section leaders take responsibility for their instrumentalists:

* Bob Jones Band Captain — Emma Tolbert.

* Flute — Claire Garrett, Eva Smith.

* Clarinet — Ruby Ingram, Gwen Newell.

* Alto saxophone — Anna Samudio, Salina Turner.

* Tenor/baritone saxophone — Jacob Johnston.

* Trumpet — Boyd Emmons, Nick Owen, Bennett Rigby.

* Mellophone — Paige Hughes.

* Trombone- Josh Cagle, Ethan Zecher.

* Baritone — Thomas Garza.

* Tuba — Larson Stauch.

* Percussion — Alex Cockrell, Dani Oliver, Austin Revera, Daniel Wright, Philip Hotz.

* Color Guard — Lenora Lee, Faith Martin, Jordan Moro.

* Dance Team — Hannah Cleveland, Nyah DeDeaux, Julianna Taylor.

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