Changes to band bring more leadership opportunities

Band director Matthew Rome leads the bass drums through a difficult section in their rehearsal time during M1. Without the commitment of any marching festivals, the students will have the freedom to vary their music throughout the season.

Many changes have been made to the Music Department regarding COVID-19 protocol, but band director Matthew Rome is intending to make some changes of his own to the way his class is conducted, both in and outside of school.

To start, Rome is looking to take “a much more casual approach to building the marching season” for band this year.

“The students voted on what they’d like to play for our halftime shows, and we may change out music later in the season if we want to — something one definitely doesn’t do when preparing a show for adjudication,” Rome said.

Rome is also looking to run the pep band more like a collegiate-level ensemble with a small, core group of players that can switch off if the student finds someone to take his or her place. This would lift the requirement for every student to be at every game.

Outside of halftime arrangements, Rome is considering splitting the band into a wind ensemble and symphonic band, with the former being a smaller ensemble with generally one to a part, and the latter being a more open group.

“This should allow for all students to have a more tailored experience,” Rome said. “Additionally, having two bands means having two sets of principal players, so more students will get to step up and lead than normal.”

In midst of the pandemic, Rome said he now holds a greater appreciation for what was previously commonplace, and that he is hopeful for the growth that the future of band will hold.

“Things that once seemed mundane are now things that I miss and look forward to experiencing again,” Rome said. “Instead of viewing the current guidance relevant to COVID-19 as a negative, I’m looking at the positives. I still look forward to the day when normal operations can resume safely, but I am optimistic for the opportunities ahead of us regardless.”