The Greenwood Marching Woodmen have been achieving excellence for nearly 45 years. Since the 1970s, every member has had the opportunity to experience what previous bands had experienced by upholding traditions that have allowed the band to win 15 State Championships and 41 ISSMA State Qualifying performances.
While that is all fine and dandy, this year, due to COVID-19, changes needed to be made.
Coronavirus caused the usual June band practices to be cancelled, so the band was prepared to start learning their show in July before band camp. Unfortunately, ISSMA cancelled their fall competitions. There was some discussion that led to the band cancelling their traditional band camp and rewriting the show. This year’s show will consist of excerpts from the 2014 and 2006 shows. It will be titled, “Chasing Rainbows.”
Band Council president Amelia Hoffman, senior, had this to say about the changes.
“I’m not going to lie, I’m devastated that I was not able to have the feeling of practicing hours on end with the band members. Band camp has always been such a bonding experience for all band members, and this year we didn’t have that same sort of experience,” Hoffman said.
Rehearsals for the band usually take place after school every day of the week, but the band was only allowed Tuesday and Thursday of each week to rehearse after school. Despite not having traditional rehearsals, Hoffman said this on the matter.
“But that doesn’t mean I’m not happy. I’m so glad that the directors found a way to still have a show and still do the major traditions we have every year. I look at it as a way to encourage positive thinking within myself instead of looking down at all the different things we couldn’t do this year. I wish we would have had more time to practice together, like I said before. But all in all, I am glad to have a season, even if it is drastically different,” she said.
While adaptations were made to the usual band camp, one of the more difficult parts of the season to substitute is the ISSMA State Finals in Lucas Oil Stadium. GHS has had a band go to the ISSMA State Finals for 41 out of the past 42 years. In a way, going to ISSMA State Finals is almost a tradition in itself. The band is scheduled to host a community performance in October to act as the culmination of months of hard work.
Senior Megan Dudenhoeffer, drum major, offered her opinion.
“I think that the community performance instead of ISSMA is a good fit for what’s happening with this season,” Dudenhoeffer said, “We are at least doing something that we can do together without actually going out and competing and getting that experience, just in a different way.”
As the pandemic progresses, it would be an understatement to say that everyone is just waiting for the day when everything can go back to normal. Until that day comes, everyone, especially the members of the band, are left with hopes and expectations.
“I hope that we do have a normal season next year and that we can go to state again and BOA (Bands of America) and that all of our performances go well so that we can make up for this year,” sophomore Lydia Johnson, saxophone player said. “It would be ideal to win state next year, too.”
Junior Aidan Weber, saxophone player, agreed.
“I hope that we do actually have a next season,” Weber said. “Hopefully we are able to go away for competition and make it to State next year.”
The band will continue to practice until further notice and perform at five home football games starting on Aug. 21 leading up to the community performance some time in the week before Fall Break. During these uncertain times, the Band’s slogan holds true especially now, “The Tradition Marches On.”