With the ongoing COVID-19 quarantine and the closure of schools, the Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School’s Eagle Regiment Marching Band has had a shaky start to its 2020 marching season. Being an extremely physical program, the band faced a few obstacles when converting to online instruction. Additionally, the band released its leadership choices for the 2020 season.
In place of its normal after-school practices, the Eagle Regiment has implemented a 2 hour Zoom call twice a week to prepare its returning members for the upcoming season, and teach incoming freshmen the basics. The first 2 meetings were successful, with over 150 students in attendance.
“Tough to play together, so it’s a lot of physical stuff that we’re doing… marching techniques, showing it, and [the students] do it, and then our staff looks at them and critiques them,” band director Steve Rivero said. “The playing aspect is really the challenge, because of the internet delay – it’s really not going to come off the right way.”
Like any other sport, the physicality of the band program somewhat hinders progress when conducted virtually. Audio delays and connection issues, not to mention hundreds of separate cameras to monitor for mistakes, are a drastic change compared to the in-person training that the band is used to.
Despite these issues, the band is prepared to make a full return once quarantine is completely lifted in Broward County and is ready to take on the new season.
“With everything that has been going on, I think that the season can make a comeback around August when school starts. The Zoom calls are helping us to get a head start and make sure we aren’t missing too much, so I think that the Eagle Regiment will come back fully prepared and ready to take on the season,” sophomore Alayna Diaz said.
Before its first meeting, the band announced its student leadership picks for the season ahead. These picks were highly unusual compared to previous years, having 3 band captains (Lea Serrano, Alec Nutter and Hunter Fryburgh) compared to just one in previous years. The band now also features a sophomore drum major, which is a position usually occupied by juniors and seniors.
One of the 3 band captains is senior Lea Serrano. She has high expectations for the season, and is ready for the challenges that come with being a band captain.
“Having 3 band captains is a new aspect to the program. I actually really like it. Alec, Hunter, and I make a very good group. We bounce ideas off of each other and make the title a collaborative effort. When making decisions, we make them together. I’m so happy that I have them by my side,” Serrano said.
As for the decision to appoint a sophomore drum major, Rivero completely based that on skill, rather than seniority or experience.
“She conducted really well. Whether you’re a sophomore or a freshman or a senior, whoever the best one is, with the whole all-around package, they’ll get it. It’s not going to be a seniority-type thing because you’ve been there 3 years or 4 years, it has to always be of merit,” Rivero said.
With the band now entering its second season under the direction of Steve Rivero, it is ready to take on the new season, albeit with COVID-19-related hurdles to jump through.