ENGLEWOOD — This year will be much different for the Lemon Bay High School bands.
But Lemon Bay’s marching band, two concert bands and ensembles are ready, willing and able to play.
“We’re here and we’re making it happen,” Lemon Bay band director Philip Eyrich said.
Due to the onset of the COVID-19 virus, band activities, such as the annual band camp and various live performances, have been cancelled or curtailed. New protocols are in place to keep the students healthy.
The Lemon Bay High School Marching Band will play only at home football games. The football team’s first home game, against Cape Coral’s Oasis High School, is scheduled for Friday at 7:30 p.m.
Band members will be seated on bleachers in the end zone and will perform at halftime in what Eyrich described as a “standing still” performance with limited choreography.
No band members will ride school buses to away games. Musicians in marching bands inherently keep a socially safe distance from one another while performing. However, how can they travel at socially safe distances seated in a school bus, Eyrich suggested.
What’s really was missed this year was the band performing in the annual Pioneer Days Parade on Labor Day, which was canceled. Eyrich said he cooperated with Pioneer Days organizers regarding their virtual celebration by providing a video recording of a marching band performance.
The band also marches in the annual El Jobean, Rotonda West and Boca Grande Women’s Club winter parades, but he hasn’t heard whether any of those parades were cancelled. Instead, the young musicians will get a taste of “the recording artist experience.”
Hopefully, Eyrich said, conditions will change and the bands will be able to offer live performances in the spring.
Eyrich thinks of the Englewood community as the band’s biggest fans.
“Even though things won’t look the same, we will find ways to engage the community,” he said.