Marinette band adapts to virus safety measures

The Marinette Band recently played classic hits for residents at The Cottages.


The MHS Marching Marines directed by Hilary Oskey and the MHS Cheerleading team coached by Ruth Maguire marched down Cleveland Avenue with a Marinette Police Department escort Sept. 22. Their destination was The Cottages assisted living facility.

The band played popular tunes such as “​Hey Baby,” “Twist and Shout​“ and ​“Sweet Caroline.”​ The performance also included a medley of patriotic tunes and ended with a rousing rendition of ​Hail Marinette.

The residents were seated outside the facility at a safe distance from the band. The band and cheerleaders were spaced 6-feet apart from each other while performing. The staff and residents at The Cottages were quite appreciative of the concert. 

All departments within the Marinette School District have made adjustments to their programs, and the band is no exception. All of the bands from sixth through 12th grade are divided into cohorts by last name. This presents unique challenges in instrumentation and preparing music. The band plays outside as much as possible to allow for safe spacing. Indoors, all bands maintain six feet spacing all around. Also, when playing indoors, students are required to place protective equipment over the instrument itself to mitigate the aerosols that can be spread in the air. While it surely must be frustrating at times, the students are taking it in stride.

Because the bands are not always together to rehearse regularly, the high school marching band that appeared at The Cottages is all voluntary. These students meet in the evenings two to three times per week after athletic practices are complete. The high school band usually begins practice in July. This year, the marching band did not start until the football team resumed practicing in September. Their recent appearance last week was only on their fifth day of meeting together. Normally, marching band is a blend of extra-curricular work and curricular work where they receive a grade. This year, these students are donating their time and talents without receiving graded compensation.

The Marinette bands typically are involved in many concerts throughout summer, fall and spring. Because many of these performances cannot happen in their traditional sense, the band department has been looking for new and innovative ways to perform for our community. Many of their performances this year will be shared virtually.