MT. MORRIS TOWNSHIP, Mich. - Last week, high school football hit the ground running. But you may notice a familiar sound is missing, marching bands.
Why haven’t they returned to the field?
It has to do with the Governor’s executive order and the MHSAA’s decision to minimize crowd size.
Right now, only players and cheerleaders are allowed on the field.
While this decision hits a sour note for many marching bands, it hasn’t stopped those here in the Westwood Heights School District from dusting off their instruments and doing what they love.
“They’re dedicated. They show up every day and they put their hearts in to it,” said Jeanene Brewer.
Brewer is the band director at Hamady Middle/High School. She says for her students, marching band is more than just music, it’s a lot of hard work and dedication.
“The physical activity that’s involved with carrying an instrument on the field and doing the drill, it’s very exerting. That’s something I have always felt is considered just as athletic as sports,” Brewer stated.
Brewer says it feels like yesterday fans were cheering not just for the athletes, but for the band bringing the noise.
“I would love to see them perform. They get so excited,” she said.
Student Desmond Brown joined the band this year and says he’s bummed he can’t show off his drumming skills to the crowd.
“I feel like I worked really hard to learn all the drills and stuff and not being able to perform is kind of a let down,” Brown said.
While it’s disappointing, this bands passion for playing keeps them marching on but with precautions.
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“We are masked, we are staying 6-feet distance apart. They do not share band equipment,” said Brewer.
Steps Brewer feels will keep everyone safe and she hopes the state realizes that too to allow marching bands their place back on the field.
“Many people come to the football games to see the bands and we would love to see that be able to happen again,” Brewer said.
Brewer said there is a statewide petition online encouraging the MHSAA to make these changes.
We reached out to the MHSAA. Spokesperson Geoff Kimmerly sent the following statement:
“As for performing during athletic events, we believe bands may begin returning downstate when the rest of the state moves into Phase 5 of the Michigan Safe Start Plan. Until then, only players and cheerleaders are classified as “participants” in athletic events under Phase 4. This is tied to the Governor’s Executive Order regulating crowd size; the intention is to keep crowds as small as possible to limit virus spread.”