CGHS band holds June camp

Published 7:11 pm Wednesday, July 1, 2020

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The 2020-2021 school year will definitely have a different look and it even shows in the way band camps are held. Despite this, the music and show will go on.

It all begins with the typical COVID-19 precautions in place but the musicians of the Pride of the Cumberland Gap Marching band is ready for the challenge.

CGHS band director Johnathan Elliott took a moment to speak about the challenges and the upcoming show, “It really has been an unprecedented time for us. When the school year ended, our indoor percussion was two weeks away from ETPAA Championships before it was canceled, and about a month and a half away from TSSBDA Concert Festival and our Spring Concert.”

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Elliott continued, “We definitely had a sense of not feeling closure to our season, but I think it’s made us appreciate our early rehearsals together.
Our June camp is always voluntary, a light warm-up before band camp. This year attendance has been amazing. Each rehearsal we’ve only had a few absent and they have communicated with us why they wouldn’t be there, but they’ve all desired to get back in and work.

This June camp is different in that Elliott stressed its importance,  “We’ve really stressed just how important of a camp June Camp is for us because we’ve haven’t played music together in so long, and that showed during the first rehearsal when we first started, but I’m already seeing so much growth already and us picking up where we were.

Elliott also spoke about the process of finding new members, “What hurt us the most was we didn’t get to do the end of year recruiting and setup that we normally do at the end of the school year. This is when we send out schedules and recruit the upcoming freshman to continue band at the high school. A lot of this was halted. In addition, those final two months of the year caused us to miss the momentum we had going and stopped the development of the musicians that occurs during that time.”

He spoke about the COVID-19 challenge as well, “As far as what’s changed now that we are back. We have to take precautions more so. Every year I give the speech that there are going to be days you feel bad and don’t want to get out of bed, but you’re going to have to push through those days and work anyway. That’s going to be the difference between being a good and great band.
This year, that speech changes obviously. There are liability issues where we have to address those things differently and every time a kid says something about how they feel, we really have to take it much more seriously and we will see how those things evolve as we go. In addition, really stressing the importance of not sharing water, not messing with the other student’s mouthpieces, etc. Things we do each year, but much more emphasis than normal.

He spoke about the mission and ultimate goals, “Other than stressing safety, my goal is for us to be as normal as we can. We try not to change how we rehearse and the importance of music. We want it to be business as usual as much as possible. What I will say, we picked our show in December before Christmas and our arranger, Cole Hunt finished writing our music about a month and a half ago. I don’t want to give too much away, but the title of the show is “It Is Well”. The show has nothing to do with the circumstance we are currently in. It’s a very deep, deep story that we are going to tell but I think the overall theme of what we are telling is going to hit home to people. No matter what is happening, any trials that come, it’s going to be ok. “It is well with my soul.”

Band captain and senior Zoey Davis added, “In a way, I feel as if the situation has brought us closer together as a group and given us more of an incentive to work harder. Considering that we’ve been apart for three months now, getting back into our routine has been more exciting than ever before and I feel like we can all agree on that.”

(Photos supplied by band)