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High school band marches on

CONTRIBUTED PHOTO MHS Band students Jordan May and Joshua Reynolds keep their rhythm during percussion practice last week.

The Marshalltown High School Band Camp is going to be unique this year. 

The COVID-19 pandemic has required a string of precautions to make sure the students participating stay safe, and competition dates are still up in the air. 

“Marching band this year will look very different compared to previous years,” said Brett Umthun, director of bands. “Due to size limits and social distancing guidelines, we may have smaller groups march and play on the field while the rest play standing still on the sideline.”

The band could have a revolving group of students on the field according to interest and equal opportunity. 

“Another option is to forego the traditional marching band experience to grow and develop small ensemble skills for and around the community,” Umthun said. “We will have a better idea of what marching band will look like this fall once the school district announces their return to learn plan.” 

Band Camp will begin on August 6 with a small group of students. The full band camp will begin on August 10. 

Umthun has a whole set of reopening guidelines to keep band students safe. Students will need to sign a permission slip and abide by those guidelines to participate in the band. 

About 126 students are estimated to participate in the marching band this year, but they may not participate in the marching band competition this year. 

“I’m hoping that the marching band competition will still take place and that we will participate,” Umthun said. “I imagine many aspects of the competition will be altered and safeguards will be put in place.”

Despite the restrictions and precautions students will still be able to learn how to play their instruments.

“I am confident that we will adapt and grow in these unprecedented times to serve our students and provide them with a quality music education experience,” Umthun said. 

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Contact Thomas Nelson at641-753-6611 or tnelson@timesrepublican.com

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