By Jake Faghan, ’23
“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.
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.
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.