COVID Couldn’t Stop the Music, But Band is Joyful for Return to Normal

By Jake Faghan, ’23

Staff Writer

Drum majors . . . is the band ready?”

It’s often said that absence makes the heart grow fonder. And as members of the Hanover High School band felt the crisp air of a recent Friday night while standing silently in formidable formation on the field, those words rang true. There’s magic in band, and what makes it truly magical is how the HHS band has pulled through the challenge that has been COVID-19. With pride, we stand. With strength, we return.

“Please welcome back to the field, the Pride of Hanover!”

With Thanksgiving break wrapping up Autumn 2021, the marching band will finish its season with one final performance at the Hanover-Norwell football game on Thanksgiving Day. But before the band leaves in the early morning to perform that day, members will likely reflect on the  hours and hours of sacrifice and strife that have led to the day’s opening notes. It all started back in March 2020, which may be scary to realize was around a year and some change ago: the era of no band.

The band takes the field at a football game this fall.

Well, no tangible band. Band continued through remote school in spring 2020 as most of my classes did, with students turning in assignments and becoming dangerously independent. While it wasn’t the best, it was something that should be respected given the quick thinking. Our assignments from Mr. Harden focused on practicing sight-reading or even fun games like plotting a field show. However, we weren’t together, it wasn’t the same. So by the end of that year, my first of high school, I was able to see what band was like, but not get the full experience.

Coming into sophomore year, things were different, and that became clear very quickly. No band camp, and just half of the band together during outdoor classes, was a lukewarm welcome into the year, but something we took with a smile. When it got colder, our cohort moved inside to the auditorium, where there was just enough room for us with ten feet spacing. While we were spread out, we played together but we were distant. We recorded separate parts to come to a whole, played over video for virtual audiences, but we were never whole in the first place. Band 2021 was a more normal year, we had our groups, but still were stranded.

Excited for Band Day at UMass Amherst!

Until the calendar announced the start of the current school year, that is. This year has brought so many good opportunities. This year we were able to practice during band camp, and it was perfect. We were able to play in the band room again, together. It took what felt like ages, but we were able to perform for a crowd again with the return of Friday night football, a trip to Band Day at UMass Amherst in October, and a cabaret showcase in the HHS caf.

Our field show this year has a theme of love to it, and also a message to love life before it flies by. I believe that our show illustrates through music how we as a society can finally come together again. 

That also shows through our formations for the opening song Can’t Help
Falling in Love. At the start, everyone is scattered, much like the beginning of COVID life. Then as we play, we march into sections of our instruments, similar to how we were last year, together but not whole. We found a group, but not a united family. Then moments later, the small groups unite and march together with pride. Not only is it cool and a powerful moment of the show, it also has its symbolism. Now that we march together, we do so striding forward with strength. We as a band made it through a long period of confusion, and now as we prepare for the Thanksgiving game, there is a lesson I have learned: Pride is a feeling, and it’s a magic.

To view a recording of the Cabaret showcase from October 21, which features the HHS band and a variety of student talent, click here.

36 thoughts on “COVID Couldn’t Stop the Music, But Band is Joyful for Return to Normal”

  1. I love this article! So uplifting and definitely highlights the student perspective well (especially in regard to COVID), as well as the joy that comes with being involved in a group such as band 🙂

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  2. I really enjoyed reading your article, Jake! Covid really messed up a lot of events and activities and it’s really good to see that the band handled this situation well. I am happy that things are getting back to normal and the band can be heard at football games. On the topic of your article, you use very descriptive words that I believe really strengthen your article. It is also a very engaging title for the viewer. Good job all around.

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  3. I enjoyed your article, the engaging explanation throughout the timeline of band from the end of 2020 into the 2021 school year really helps explain the challenges the band faced. With the explanation of the beginning of the field show, from a scatter to a cohesive set, helps show the thought process that went into the field show. The examples of performances from the band in this year alone shows how the band went from separate during covid to back together again. In its entirety the article is compelling and a great illustration of what the band went through to come back together this year.

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  4. As a member of the HHS marching band, it really speaks volumes hearing another person talk about the same way I was feeling last year. Jake mentions how last year was a turn of events in the band wing and when it came to music in general, we were just parts but not a whole band. I like how Jake also mentioned that when it came to the virtual at home learning, Mr.Harden had done the virtual bands, which were fun to do but nothing like the actual performances we would do on stage or on the field with a live audience. Jake did a really good job capturing exactly what the band was feeling during the unprecedented times last year and even the year prior. I also liked how Jake referenced pride and how the marching band is Hanover’s pride and at certain events like football games when the band could not perform the duty, people could tell something was wrong.

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  5. This was a great article, Jake! I love your story-telling abilities and use of descriptive words to convey the feelings involved throughout your high school band experience. I understand how Covid messed up the band and many other high school clubs, teams, etc., but it is very nice to see how you well you guys are doing now. This article was very engaging and I can’t wait to keep up in the future.

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  6. Great article, love the quote at the beginning. It explains my experience with band, the longer we went without it, the more we loved it when we got back. Also, I didn’t even realise the symbolism in the marching patterns in the field show. Thank you for the news and the reflection.

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  7. The article talks about the HHS band’s return from covid. Throughout the Covid-19 pandemic, band practices continues online through zoom. The article talks about the struggles and challenges the band had to overcome to pratcice, such as practing outside and in the auditorium. The article is incredibly well written and informative.

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  8. I loved the quotes mixed into the article, as well as the great word choices used to encapsulate the story of the band throughout the pandemic. The ending too I thought was fantastic (i.e. describing the meaning behind the field show and the inclusion of the link to the cabaret recording). Overall a really good article, and a testament to what the band has been able to accomplish during the pandemic.

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  9. I thought that this was a really good article. You explained well how the band has changed in the past year and a half. I like how you described the beginning of the field show as the beginning of covid when we were all separated, and then marching into sections like how it was last year, I think that’s a really cool way to think of it. I can’t wait to see what the rest of the year will bring in band and I will definitely miss band next year.

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  10. Overall, I feel like this article illustrates the exact same feelings as I’ve had over the course of the past two school years as a member of the band. Like this article states, it’s been an entirely different situation in band ever since March 2020, and with only being able to play together through screens, the true meaning and purpose of band was lost. However, as this article demonstrates perfectly, the current school year has brought back the joy, connection, and togetherness that comes along with being a member of the band, and has allowed us to even play a field show together despite the odds that plagued us for the last year. In general, I really enjoyed this article and I also like the usage of the beginning quote as well.

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  11. Great job Jake! I loved how your article touched on the spirit of the band, and how the band rallied together despite facing challenges of separation. I feel like this article is also relatable for someone who isn’t in band, because it made me think about the importance of rallying together.

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  12. Incredibly well written, Jake! As a member of the marching band myself, I completely resonated with this article. There’s been nothing quite as magical as being able to return to the field after a year and a half. I thought the quotes like; “Drum Majors…..is the band ready?” and ‘Please welcome back to the field, the Pride of Hanover!” were incredibly effective at bringing me, visually and emotionally, back to the field. I’m also interested in your perspective on band throughout the pandemic since your freshman year was cut short?

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  13. Awesome article! I’m not in the band, but I feel that this really portrayed how band students feel when they’re doing the field show and how everything works to build up to that. I also haven’t really thought about the effect of COVID on the band team, but this definitely helped me understand the difficulties of being in a band setting during the pandemic. I appreciate the effort put into this article. Also, I loved the beginning quote because it really drew me in and put me into the feel.

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  14. I really enjoyed this article! Your beginning reference saying that absence makes the heart grow fonder worked really well in your later discussion to how COVID-19 kept everyone at a distance. I also enjoy your optimism as well. Although you discuss how COVID prohibited you and the rest of the band from doing things you enjoy and from receiving the full high school experience, you continue to say that you had smiles on your faces and how you and the band worked through the struggles of band at a distance, and how you all did so with an optimistic attitude. Your word choices, beginning references, and ongoing mention about how you and the band have managed to persevere despite the pandemic felt super meaningful and relatable.

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  15. This article is really well written and makes me feel like I am actually right there with the band experiencing and overcoming these challenges. I could definitely relate to this article being in the chorus but in this, I can see a different side of the music department and it is very uplifting to read how the band has gone through covid.

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  16. I really enjoyed reading this article, Jake! The spirit of the band has definitely gone up as through Covid, there was very few that we could do. It is so great to be back doing what we love, and I am glad that the spirit of the Band has been lifted with the increase in activity that we have been able to do this year so far!

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  17. I absolutely love your writing, Jake! It truly encompasses how we all have felt over the past year and a half. As one of the drum majors of the band, your description of the meaning behind “Can’t Help Falling in Love” is completely accurate. Standing on the podiums while conducting allows me to see the separations, then the groups (similar to cohorts), and when everyone comes together for the chorus and ends in the heart, it is truly an emotional experience. Your use of the quotes such as “Drum Majors… is the band ready?” and “Please welcome back to the field, the Pride of Hanover!” really make the readers feel like they are experiencing the emotions that were evoked when being able to perform again for the first time in two years. Well done!

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  18. Great job on this article Jake! I love the energy from the marching band and the way they interact with the cheerleaders and the game. Last year definitely was not the same without you guys. I can’t imagine another season without the band section. The half time show amazes me every time you guys perform. After COVID the band came back better and stronger than ever. I believe that the band is a crucial part of Hanover High School and I’m excited for what comes next with you guys!

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  19. I really enjoyed this article! This past year or two with covid has been really difficult for everyone, but through this article, I was able to connect to what the band has been feeling. Speaking as a cheerleader, last year the football games were not the same without you guys. The energy was lacking and it wasn’t nearly as enjoyable. Now that the band is back I have had the best season of high school cheer and now I know that that joy is shared amongst the cheerleaders and band.

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  20. I liked how you reflected on the past a how COVID changed the way the band could preform. I also like how you involved how the band came back from the loss of a whole year of playing because of COVID. I can relate to the loss of a season due to COVID, I was unable to play lacrosse at the high school in 2020. I would just like to end by saying nice job writing this article and keep doing it.

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  21. I really like the way this article was written. The detail you used when describing what it is like to play in the band was great. I also enjoyed when you talked about how much things have changed since COVID, it brought a lot of perspective to the article. I also thought the quote at the beginning set a great tone for the rest of the article.

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  22. I was very intrigued while reading this article! This article talks about the band being completely absent at the football games at the start of 2021 due to covid-19, and I found it very interesting to see how the band handled this difficult and frustrating situation. I can really relate to the struggles the band had to deal with as covid-19 basically ruined everything.

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  23. I really enjoyed this article, Jake! Having a sister in the band who also went through this challenging time, I never fully understood her perspective on it. I loved how you mentioned that regardless of all of the challenges the band went through, you continued to push through with smiles on your faces. I have a new appreciation for the field show and how much time you and your peers put into it. As someone who watches the field show from the sidelines, an explanation of how detailed it is and the symbolism that goes along with it is interesting.

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  24. Great article, it was very well written. I loved the quotes you used to like, “Drum majors . . . is the band ready?”. You described how the band faced many challenges during covid but still managed to make great music. This article was very uplifting to read, especially for fellow band members.

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  25. I really loved this article, Jake! You successfully explained the challenges we faced as a band throughout the pandemic and did so in an engaging way. I enjoyed the use of quotes and photos, and I feel like your word choice complemented the subject of the article beautifully!

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  26. I really enjoyed how you started off the article, it instantly grabbed my attention. This was well written, Jake! I’m so glad to have a little bit of normalcy back when it comes to our sports teams, etc. I’m not personally in band, however this made me really happy to see a group of students get through covid together, and come back with that same energy. It really shows a lot about someones true heart and character when it comes to something they love to do. I’m excited that we had a successful fall season filled with fun, and especially music from our very own band.

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  27. Jake, this perspective on the band is so true. I loved the way you explained in an engaging way how many band students felt throughout the COVID-19 times. Keeping it hopeful and engaging even with the topic. As a fellow band member, I could feel the emotion in the quotes, and how the quotes might evoke some some emotion in non-band members! Overall very well written and explained.

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  28. Great article, Jake! This article highlights what being a student in the band was like during COVID. I liked how this was written, it really shows the perspective of how it was like being in the band during the past year and a half. I have always enjoyed watching the Field Show from the sidelines and now have a new appreciation for it!

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  29. I loved this article and the light it shed on the band. Their field shows are always so entertaining and engaging. Can’t wait to see the band tomorrow at the game! Your hard work doesn’t go unnoticed!

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  30. This article is great, and for a lot of reasons. The band is such an important part of the football season, and it’s so exciting to get to play again after so much time spent without it. The song “Can’t Help Falling in Love” is so symbolic when played by the Pride of Hanover Marching Band, and it is so universally understood that anyone could understand the field show, whether they are interested in the band or not. As a member of the marching band myself, I love that someone is writing about the significant changes in this elective over the last couple years.

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  31. This article is great and really goes into detail about what band is like and the challenges they faced because of COVID. I found it interesting on how they had to perform to a virtual audience during COVID. I loved how the writer wrote about the feelings of the band and the hardships that they had to overcome. I also liked how the writer went into detail about what the band does when they perform.

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  32. Its pretty interesting how you guys continued practicing despite the conditions COVID put you through. Its also hard to think you would do band over zoom. And now knowing the symbolic meaning of the bands performance makes you think more about the placement of the performers. I really hope COVID ends soon so everything can return to normal for everyone.

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  33. I like the way this article is started. You can almost paint a picture with the first paragraph alone. I am glad you guys stuck with it through Covid and could eventually have band camp again. I really enjoy that the theme of your show was love and to love life before it flies by. The theme really correlates with these last few years and how Covid has affected them. Overall, very well-written article.

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  34. I enjoy how the writer uses quotes to separate the paragraphs throughout this article. The usage of quotes is not only used for separation but also to keep readers engaged with the text. The writer also uses relevant examples when discussing the band and it is clear that the writer had done their research on the bands return after Covid.

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  35. Wow! This is wonderful! You have captured the struggles and triumph of the band in this well written article! It gave me chills!

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  36. Nice article Jake. As someone who is apart of the band, the first paragraph definitely describes those feelings on the field. Reading about the memories of band over zoom really brings back some good and not so good memories of recording some of the pieces. Great job writing this piece,it will definitely give insight to others of the background of band.

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