Band v COVID


Calvin Ku

Picture by Calvin Ku

In the past year, COVID-19 has changed the way in which everyone is living their lives,  especially for students. From wearing masks and staying 6 feet apart in the classroom, to Zoom classes instead of in-person, and some even going completely online. 


For the “biggest marching band in the land” at Allen High School, COVID-19 changed things for its 800 members from what they were accustomed to in the past. These changes included special masks for their instruments, social distancing at both practices and football games, no uniforms, and no UIL contests. 


For Quinlan Covey, a freshman last year, her first year in the band wasn’t normal by any standards. Because of this, she didn’t get the full marching band experience. With this year almost back to normal, many are looking forward to various band traditions and moments that take place throughout the year.


“Actually having the social interaction added to it, being able to bond with people again,” Covey said. “I think it was a lot harder for freshmen to make friends with upperclassmen. I definitely have more junior friends this year than I had last.”


But COVID-19 didn’t just affect freshmen; it was a struggle for upperclassmen as well. Adjusting to the procedures that were made to keep everybody safe wasn’t an easy task for most band students. Not being able to see people, hang out and have fun by taking part in band traditions like they were used to in the past. And for many members, like Syndey Goss, a sophomore quartermaster last year, it was a struggle for them to adjust to those changes made last year.


“It was really weird not being able to see people, and having to stay so separated was really tough on me,” Goss said. “I love to be in big groups and go out and have a good time, and it was just impossible to do those kinds of things, so it was tough for me.” 


Everybody struggled with the pandemic in some way or another, whether that be with the safety procedures, isolation, or with a family member getting COVID-19. But despite their hard battle against the pandemic last year, the Allen band has come back better than ever and is ready to get this season into gear.


“It’s awesome, I’m so excited,” Goss said. “This year I think is going to be great, and just being able to be that band family that I was used to once again, and being able to socialize and be close to people. It’s going to create a feeling of togetherness that I think the band really needs right now.”


With their new season just starting, student leaders say the band is coming back with a bang. And despite the obstacles they had to overcome last year, they have their sights set on some big goals. Lance Alston, current senior and band president, hopes to make many accomplishments this season, both for him personally and the band as a whole.


For Alston, band president is a big responsibility and a big leadership position, much different than being part of the Student Leader Team. 


“I’m trying to improve on my leadership qualities because these are things I’m going to be using going into music education at college, so this is kind of like a preemptive test for me personally,” Alston said. “Because I’m trying to push myself and make everyone feel as included as possible, and just making sure, personally, that everyone is having a great time.”.


Alston has shown his determination in how he is approaching this new season with brand new members. 


“I just want to see everyone having a good time and having fun, and for everyone to succeed at a high level,” Alston said. 


And to say that the band is hoping to end their season as winners would be an understatement, because Alston, like the rest of the band, said he is hoping to make state this season. 


“I want to see the band go to state [competition], I think everyone does, but obviously you’re gonna have to put in that work,” Alston said.