The band plays on

Glenn Parrish
Percussion members captain Kaylee Elliott, Landon Richardson, Lucas Deltedesco, Jaxon Scott, Michael McLean, and Caden Evans are socially distant for practice last week for the instruments requiring no aerosol spray.

During a school board meeting earlier this month superintendent Trent Goff informed the board that Booneville High School band directors Brian and Angela Rhodes have prepared one of the more coronavirus response detailed plans for the upcoming school year.

The floor of the band room is taped off in squares of six by six. There have been devices constructed for some instruments and coverings are being created for others.

Each of the seven flute players will have their own device constructed of PVC piping encompassing a plastic screen.

“The flute (player) blows across so when you play the flute you’re blowing (forward), so we’re going to try to catch. The rest are blowing into a tube so there’s no more aerosol than there is talking.”

Last year, BHS tuba players had a covering featuring a Bearcat drawing, but this year also featuring a covering, though it will be white, will include clarinets, saxophones, trumpets, French horn, trombone, and baritone.

The idea was to prevent the spread of aerosol vapor from the instruments, although a Colorado State study released two weeks ago suggests aerosol coming “from the instruments is not as big of a problem as they thought, and some further ways to mitigate it is to put fabric over the bells.,” said Angela Rhodes. “They determined that the air coming out of the holes of the instrument is not near as much as they had thought.”

Students are using separate entries to the brand room.

There are multiple sanitation stations to prevent congregating. Students also have their own through a band booster purchase.

They also have their own specific mouthpiece sanitizers, a product called Mi-T-Mist through another.

“It’s strong mist alcohol. It’s a formula safer if you put your mouth on it,” said Angela Rhodes.

When masks are required they are easily added to the face via mask lanyards Angela Rhodes created.

“When they are outside playing they can take their masks down and be able to play and when they come back in they can put their masks back up,” said Angela Rhodes.

Through last week the practice schedule was limited to percussion, where instruments are played without the mouth, and color guard.

“They all have been staying in their space and doing their thing,” said Brian Rhodes.

Everyone else starts on Monday, Aug. 3, at 8 a.m.

“As of this morning we found out we can play outdoors,” Brian Rhodes said Wednesday. “But they still haven’t given us the go-ahead to play indoors.”

There are also more music stands than in previous year to prevent stand sharing, Brian Rhodes said, and the instrument room is off limits as students will check out school owned material and keep it with them at home rather than leave it on campus.

To prepare for the season uniform sizing is also being conducted individually, via an appointment schedule and the uniform is being sanitized both before and after they are handled.

“Obviously we don’t want anyone to get sick,” said Angela Rhodes. “We want to do everything we can. We’d love to perform and we’d love to have band, so we’re doing everything we can.”

“We don’t want to be the problem,” Brain Rhodes added.

Brian Rhodes said the halftime show students will be learning is a program called True To The Red, White & Blue.

In the event there isn’t school, or students are sent home, the directors have another plan.

“Everyone will have a Chrome book and there will be appropriate written assignments,” said Brian Rhodes. “They’ll also use the Chrome book to record their playing assignments at home.

We’re going to make video recording part of the core curriculum for band now so they’re going to have to learn to record themselves. We ran into that the end of (last) year.”

Rhodes expects about 55 kids which could include any virtual learners or home school students who are on campus on for band activities.

Band director Brian Rhodes displays a screen flute players will use to control an aerosol from playing.