Marching On

Remy Merrill

Band 2020 Covid-19 Edition

The first half of the game comes to an end as the buzzer echoes on the field and through the stands. It’s showtime! Members line up in the end zone waiting for their cue. In the view from the stands, they march like ants onto the field assuming their positions. The conductor waves her wand and the show begins. Trumpets, saxophones, and snares. Oh my! The band creates a rhythmic scene combining sound and movement to tell a story. You hear the pyramid of sound and see a cohesive unit moving to the beat.

This was the Marching Mustang’s routine for Friday Night Lights. Mark Liberko, a junior, plays the trombone for Mount Vernon’s band and was first chair trombone in Jazz Band last year. Mark, 16, started playing the clarinet in sixth grade. He switched to his current instrument, trombone, in eighth grade.

Mount Vernon has high standards for their Marching Mustangs. They perform outstanding and technical performances. With help from director Scott Weber, competition scores have continued to rise over the past years. “Last year was one of our best seasons,” Liberko said. The band started off the 2019 season at an all time high on purpose. There was years of work and technique accumulated just for the 2019 season. The Marching Mustangs planned years prior to create an unstoppable band.

In November of 2019, the Marching Band performed in the Chicago Thanksgiving Day Parade and got to stay in the city for a couple of days. Mark and the band enjoyed a memorable trip and played a performance worth being proud of. Mark remembers a funny story with a fellow band member, Eli Krob. Mark’s friend had bought fancy hot chocolate for their special trip to drink in the city. Eli Krob put the hot chocolate mix into a coffee maker and instead of making hot chocolate it overflowed and ruined the machine. Although it made a huge mess in their hotel room, Mark looks back on the memory and laughs.

With 2020 bringing Covid-19 into play with new precautions, Mount Vernon’s band may have lost momentum, but in no way lost hope or foundation. Mount Vernon’s Marching Band has a reputation for being very close and “Weber describes” the band as a family. The band balances love and fun with work and dedication that pays off for the audience.

The Corona Virus has completely turned Mount Vernon Band upside down. Unlike choir and orchestra students, who can make music with masks on, the band cannot. A new rule for the band is they must practice outside with each member in a still location, meaning as of now there is no marching for the Marching Mustangs. Also, practices are now half capacity, which makes it difficult for the band to practice the full sound of all the instruments. There will be no indoor band practices until the new bell covers can be used for the band, which Mount Vernon is fortunate to afford. The bell covers are like masks for instruments that are needed for indoor playing. Even though a majority of marching band practices are outside on a field the bell covers are needed for rainy days and Concert Band.

With Covid-19 precautions constantly rearranging 2020 plans, “expectations are low,” Liberko said. “I just hope of getting the satisfaction of learning and playing music everyone can enjoy.” The Marching Mustang’s show this year is titled “The Witching Hour” by Randall D Standridge.

Unfortunately, the annual band competitions have been cancelled due to the virus. There is lots of uncertainty with the band’s schedule. “Who knows if there will be a Jazz Band this year,” Liberko said. Despite Covid-19 cancellations the band still has safe plans for the 2020 season. The Marching Mustangs can perform for home football games on Sept. 8 and Sept. 25. The band will also partake in the Homecoming Parade and perform at halftime for the Homecoming game on Oct. 9.

With the safety rules, thanks to Covid-19, the Marching Mustangs look a little different, but the hope and magic are still there. The band community is doing everything they can to carry out a safe and full season for everyone. “Band will always be fun no matter how little we do,” Liberko said.