EHS Band Faces Virtual Challenges

Tyler Chrenka, Staff Writer

When EHS band students log into class via Zoom, they face an array of blank, black boxes that represent each student in the class.

It’s a harsh reminder of what school is like during the pandemic, but unlike other classes where students see each other’s faces, band students often have to leave their cameras off. 

“We have to keep our cameras off because band classes have many more students than other classes, so leaving our cameras on can cause the Zoom meeting to lag,” said junior Logan Roever, a saxophonist in the symphonic band. “Recently though, we have been splitting up into two Zooms, so we sometimes are able to turn our cameras on.” 

The adjustment came after nearly three months of playing with cameras off. Though the band was able to fix this problem, rehearsing is still far from normal. 

Sophomore Lilli Armstrong, a trumpeter in the symphonic band, said that students still have to keep their mics off while playing, which is also due to the lag. 

“Not having mics on can make it difficult to hear rhythms and get the feel of the pieces we are playing because yes, we can read the music and look up YouTube videos, but it is easier to hear the people you will be playing with and hear your specific part,” Armstrong said. “There are some instances where I am fine with not having to have my mic on, like sight-reading, but overall it is more difficult to only hear yourself playing when we are working on a full band piece.” 

The time spent at home proves that performing arts and virtual learning do not mix, so many band students were happy with the announcement that in-person rehearsals will resume in mid-February. 

Senior Patrick Cheatham, a trumpeter in the concert band, is excited because the return will allow band students to reconnect and improve in technique. 

“I think it is good that the band is returning to school. I’ve been with these folks for four years, and they like to hang out with each other, talk, and do things together,” Cheatham said. “Returning to school will allow us to be able to hear other instruments play their parts in the music. That way if several instrument groups, like clarinets, trumpets and baritones have the same rhythm, we can match it appropriately and balance it as needed.”