Director’s Letter July 3, 2020

2020 Band Students and Parents,

We live in an ever changing environment of complexity, anxiety, patience, creativity, innovation, and modification. We have always lived in this world but today we are more aware of our own abilities or inabilities to adapt to our surroundings. Whether we agree or disagree, or want to or not want to face the challenges that are given us, I know that all success in our lives comes from our willingness to put forth our very best effort in the face of adversity knowing that we will be stronger, and smarter for our efforts. How we decide to face our challenges dictates  the direction, the outcomes, and the successes, our future life will produce.

The next trial that the MAC Band faces is how do we create a positive and uplifting program that is enjoyable, entertaining, and challenging in the environment, and under the protocols of Covid-19? In a recent meeting of numerous band directors from our area, it was discussed what the marching season may look like. Every school, every district and every band in the area is going through the same situation. Every director will make a decision of what they feel are best practices for the good of their students and their program. At this meeting, the North West Association of Performing Arts (NWAPA) decided that they will not ‘sanction’ any competitive marching shows this fall. So, what does that mean? That means that NWAPA does not want to be responsible for 1000’s of students and adults in a typical marching band type festival. This decision was based off of State and local guidance as it pertains to the safety of large groups of individuals. I believe it is a wise decision and will support them.

What does that mean for us? I will be honest with you 100% of what I can share. PERSONALLY, I feel that marching band, and band in general, is a giant social experiment. That fact was proven to me by the students within a week of the school shutting down. Many students, even those who were heavily active in the program during the year, disappeared from radar. Secluded themselves in their private lives and waited out their quarantine. Sadly, I don’t think this is the most healthy way to deal with great disappointment. For many students, the band needs to exist, it needs to be all inclusive, it needs to be familiar, safe, challenging, fun, and yes, even social. (albeit six feet apart)

Marching band is even more important as it pertains to possible scheduling decisions of high school classes for this fall. I can not discuss any of these decisions with you because nothing has been decided for sure, and nothing has been announced from the school. I can just say that I see marching band as a vital part of the program, the growth of the students, and a possible way to present something recognizable and entertaining to a solemn school and community.

Where would we perform? The NWAPA competition hosts have NOT cancelled their shows, they have simply altered the format to a festival and not a competition. They will most likely be open to whoever can get permission to be there. It will be difficult for McMinnville to attend them because we are the ONLY marching band in our district and our county. IF there are football games, we may be able to perform; IF there are soccer games, we may be able to perform; IF we can march downtown or perform for the public or parents, we may be able to perform.

The key to our success is to NOT GIVE UP, and NOT GIVE IN. Face the challenge and rise above it. We have to face some pretty serious protocols to have a band, and I am willing to make it work. This could be the best season ever and it is completely up to you students and parents to decide to make it that way. If you don’t believe me, ask any marching student which rehearsal last year they will remember the most and probably share with their children and grandchildren… the one in the POURING rain. Why? Because they overcame adversity with great poise, maturity, and courage… and it was fun!

Marching band camp begins as was planned, August 3rd. We will have a much reduced schedule this year. I will send out a marching schedule at the end of this week. I would plan on a 9-12 rehearsal every day Aug 3-7 and a parent ‘something or other’ on Friday at 12. After that, rehearsals will be as normal. T/TH evenings 6-9 and Sat. mornings 9-12. You can discuss your family vacations etc with me after I send out the schedule… not yet.

Please follow this link if you have not yet signed up for marching band in the fall.

I look forward to seeing everyone again!

Stand tall, head high, feet firm, eyes wide, no fear inside, we are: MAC PRIDE!!

Love you all!

D. Barton

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *