Marching in Place

The NHHS marching band prepares to play together, from a distance


Anastasia Everding

Andrew Julian, the NHHS music program director, has planned a full slate of experiences for his marching band during the quarantine.

Anastasia Everding, News Editor

With no more late-night rehearsals or time spent with fellow band members on bus rides to football games, it is with great sadness that the marching band will not be meeting in person this fall. For the time being, it is not possible to continue in-person rehearsals, and every marching band association that hosts competitions for high school marching band shows — the California State Band Championships (CSBC), the Southern California School Band and Orchestra Association (SCSBOA), and the Western Band Association (WBA) — have canceled their fall seasons as well. 

Fortunately, Andrew Julian, the music program director, is giving the marching band a silver lining. He will continue to provide the students with a musical education through their screens, having them analyze past marching band and drum corps videos, as well as learn about the history of the American marching band phenomenon. The students will be learning about the history of marching bands, Julian explained, starting when the British military bands were first formed.

The students will also focus on content production to create a marching band album. They will record and submit performances of themselves playing songs like the Newport Harbor Alma Mater and “Anchors Aweigh,” the fight song, on their instruments. Mr. Julian plans to produce a virtual parade band march that would feature music from the band and the color guard’s choreography. 

“While these options are not ideal by any means, this will be an exciting opportunity to create a unique, memorable product and to experience what the pros up in LA recording studios do for a living,” Mr. Julian announced in an email to students.

Julian added that, due to the new online class schedule, marching band will not be held during 0 period, as it usually is; instead, the class would have to take a spot in one of the period 1-8 slots. Zero period is usually held to accommodate athletics, but it is not included in the online schedule because of the limits placed on sports at this time.

Not having a 0 period “could be really convenient for some people to not wake up earlier than they have to,” said junior Leilah Rayo, “but it could also be inconvenient for other people since it could conflict with their schedules.”

Additionally, having an online marching band has caused sadness among many students. 

“I don’t like how I can’t see my friends,” said sophomore Alex Myers. “I miss being able to play with everyone in person.”

Several students mentioned the importance of in-person activities such as rehearsals, competitions, and after-school meals like going to Pizza Bakery for building community and creating friendships. Although students will not be able to spend time together in person anymore, different online resources through social media and Zoom give most students the opportunity to spend time with their band classmates virtually. 

“I’m part of a band group chat that students can use to communicate with other band members,” said senior Timothy Badum.

Freshmen going into the marching band program have not had the chance to spend time with other band members at rehearsals or play music on the field in person. Most returning students agree that they should be treated in a pleasant way and be included in the band members’ activities so they have the best first year in marching band that they can get. 

“Returning students should be welcoming and not intimidating,” Badum said. “When I was a freshman, most of the seniors were very nice and welcoming, which gave me confidence.”

Considering that the marching band will be online now, some students want to be reminded of the enjoyable times when the band was in person because this will give them hope for the future when everyone can go back to meeting in person again.

“We need to make promises to [freshmen] that things will get better,” Rayo said.

In January 2021, there is a possibility that football season will start, giving the opportunity for the students of marching band to play music together and spend time with each other in person.

According to Mr. Julian, fielding a band for football season “will be a lot of fun and hopefully will give us back some normalcy.”

Since there is a possibility that local conditions will improve later in the year, most students are currently crossing their fingers that the marching band will go back to playing music for the football games and hyping everyone up who listens to them.