Lakota Marching Bands Triumph Over Tenacity

Lakota Marching Bands Triumph Over Tenacity, Not Trophies
Posted on 11/17/2020
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marching band photosWhile their performance schedules were nowhere near their normal load, both Lakota East and Lakota West’s marching bands have something big to celebrate: they finished their seasons. 

“Several times, we thought that the season would be shut down by the current events of the pandemic,” remembered Lakota West Band Director Andrew Carr. But against all odds, regulations were loosened just enough to give them some semblance of a season. And with it came a new realization.  

“As a group we realized that putting on a great performance and working with each other is the most important thing we do as an organization,” Carr said. “We certainly missed sharing our performance with large audiences at marching contests, but still found that the hard work and dedication necessary to put together a show was its own kind of reward.”

For both bands, the road to that reward was a long and turbulent one. The season started with students not permitted to play wind instruments at all, giving them ample time to focus on just the visual elements of the performance. Despite this setback, both bands continued with their summer camp tradition, closely following mask requirements despite the summer heat. Furthermore, as shifting regulations indicated that all students would in fact be able to play, they reworked their show choreography several times over to account for changing physical distancing requirements. 

“Most of our will to continue on and fight for a season had to do with our kids,” said Lakota East Band Director Rob Tanis. “It would have been really easy to just pull the plug on the season over the summer when things were so uncertain, but our students were the inspiration for us to just find a way.” 

In the end, they did just that. Both bands found their own way to make it work and still showcase their hard work. Despite their usual regional, state and national competitions being canceled, they coordinated other opportunities to still play in their football stadiums for an audience, albeit much smaller ones. Both bands participated in a local exhibition at Mason High School, where they were about to get feedback on their performances and maximize their audience, while still following large gathering restrictions. Both organized virtual viewings, one of which West captured in a video format that brought it closer to the performance they usually do in big stadiums.

“In this season we do not have a list of accolades and trophies,” Carr said. “But what we do have is proof that what we do is not really about those trophies anyway. It is about achieving something together and being proud of that result.”

“It’s always somebody’s senior year,” noted Tanis, sympathizing with this group in particular for the abnormalcy of the season. “Despite all the uncertainty, we did it for the kids because we don’t quit on them. They mean way too much to us to do that.”