The band plays on


Lizzy Camp

Even during Covid-19, the Fossil band continues to practice and play.

Lizzy Camp, Staff Writer

The Fossil Ridge High School Marching Band is known for its incredible music and visuals. But if you join a rehearsal today, the call will be mostly silent, save for a section leader playing their part and a metronome clicking in the background. Each music program has found it incredibly hard to practice during remote learning, and band is no exception.

The band program has been filled with changes this year. Neal Titus became the new band director, along with Aaron Herman as assistant band director. Rehearsals became all virtual and the program is ever changing. 

“We’ve gone from the freedom of jam packing as many students as we can into a classroom to make a big band. Now, that’s impossible,” said Titus. 

When students do meet in person to rehearse, they are spaced fifteen feet away. Brass players cover their horns with bell covers, and each musician uses a mask with a hole in it to play their instrument. Since the order for PSD to return to virtual, the band has returned to rehearsals from home. Learning and rehearsing music is hard from home.

“It’s hard to feel like you have the music down when you’ve only played it with other people twice,” remarked Adam Gooch, a sophomore percussionist in the band. “For all I know, I could be playing all naturals in a run instead of flats and not really know it’s wrong.”

Not only have online rehearsals been a challenge, but with the constantly changing number of cases, future plans have been thrown up in the air. 

“In the band world, like we plan like eight months in advance, you know, and right now, we’re just, it just feels like we’re hanging on for dear life,” said Titus. “Sometimes that goal is just ever moving. And it’s hard.”

A constant goal for the band is always to learn and play new music, and each band has been working and practicing to achieve this. Although the marching band has not been learning a new show, they have been perfecting a song called “Jupiter.” Symphonic Band and Wind Ensembles are both learning new music, and the indoor season for Winter Guard is about to start. A new addition to the band this year is Winter Percussion Ensemble, an indoor show specifically designed for percussion members. 

This is Titus’s first year as band director, and he already loves Fossil and the community. 

“First year of Fossil’s been great,” he said. “I love my classes. I even don’t mind driving from Denver every day, you know, like, I love the campus. I love our students.”

Titus says he focuses on developing a relationship with each student, and wishes he could spend more time with everyone. He wants each student to feel like they can come to him with anything. He ends every class by saying “If you haven’t heard it yet today, I love you all,” a message that many students need to hear during this difficult time. 

Music itself has been a constant for many members, and has helped them stay positive. 

“[Music] has helped me a lot because I listen to music constantly,” said Gooch. “That’s pretty much where all my mental stability comes from at the moment.”

Band is a lifeline for some members, something they can look forward to after a long day of tiring, virtual classes. 

“You get this real sense of we’re all in this together,” remarked Titus. “So, it’s, you know, it’s been an experience, but it’s been a really positive experience.”

Music is a way for students to escape and express themselves, while working towards a goal of becoming better musicians. 

“Music saves and continues to save,” said Titus. “I really feel like my embodiment in life is music.”

Even during this uncertain time, where plans can change in an instant, where cases continue to rise, when the world feels like it is coming to an end, one thing remains the same: the band plays on.