Orange County Band Members, Parents, and Staff,
I hope this message finds you well...seriously. That’s typically one of those cliches we casually throw up there at the top of an email just to get the pleasantries out of the way before we get to business, but I genuinely hope you and your families are well. I have found an abundance of opportunity to contemplate and reflect over the last few months, as I am sure you have found the same. I’ve found that my thoughts are consistently occupied with our student musicians, our fantastic band parents, and our talented and dedicated instructional staff. I wonder how you’re doing and how you’ve decided to occupy your time. I wonder if you’re well; physically and emotionally. I also have spent a great deal of time and energy trying to put the pieces together for a logical and practical return to live rehearsals, trying to lay the groundwork for the start of the 2020 OCHS marching band season.
Currently, I have more questions than answers, but I wanted to be in touch with what information I do have so that we can all start making plans to move ahead together. While nothing has been absolutely confirmed yet, it is starting to look like we will be permitted to assemble in small groups starting as early as next week. Our rehearsals will be held in accordance with all safety protocols and guidelines set forth by Orange County Public Schools, the State of Virginia, and the Virginia High School League. The following precautions and protocols can be expected when our students return to OCHS for marching band rehearsal:
● Six feet of spacing will be maintained at all times ● All rehearsals will take place outdoors ● Occupancy will be limited to 10 students per rehearsal ● Students will not be permitted to enter the building before, during, or after rehearsals ● Instructional staff, guard members, and percussionists will be required to wear masks at all times ● Wind players will be asked to wear masks as they enter and exit the designated rehearsal space ● There will absolutely no sharing of equipment, instruments, water bottles, etc. ● Water stations will not be provided (students should bring their own water bottles)
While making music remains the driving force behind our return to campus, student safety has become the mission. I have worked very closely with our activity director and school administration to ensure that every precaution has been taken in order to create the safest possible learning environment possible for both our students and our staff. As we work toward the start of the school year, the safety precautions and guidelines listed above are non-negotiable and will remain in place until amendments are recommended from the appropriate state agencies.
PARTICIPATION SURVEY (link below) Those planning on participating with the 2020 OCHS Marching Band should complete and submit the participation survey as soon as possible. While there is not a formal “commitment form” being distributed this year, your response to this survey will be interpreted as your intent to join us for the 2020 season. Please provide as much information as possible so we can plan accordingly for the coming weeks.
Rehearsal Schedule With ever evolving information and circumstances changing almost daily, I think our best bet is to proceed with our focus on the immediate future. I have been given the start date of MONDAY, JULY 20th and our plans are to begin rehearsals the following day. Currently, we are looking at seven 3 hour sessions throughout the week allowing for small groups/sections to come in and start working on warm up material and marching fundamentals. It is our hope to generate a schedule that allows each member of the ensemble to attend two sessions a week. The rehearsal sessions are listed below:
Tuesday Evenings 5pm - 8pm Thursday Evenings 5pm - 8pm Friday Afternoons 1pm - 4pm Friday Evenings 5pm - 8pm Saturday Mornings 9am - 12pm Saturday Afternoons 1pm - 4pm Saturday Evenings 5pm - 8pm
Once information has been collected through the participation survey, we will generate a schedule that can be repeated weekly. We are trying to take everything into account; transportation, instrument needs, etc. However, should you have a question or concern that has not yet been addressed, please be in touch with me as soon as possible.
Competitions, Football Games, Parades, Public Performances As I stated in the previous section, I don’t feel like we have enough information to address the demands of these types of gatherings. Of course, it is our goal to share our production with the community as well as gain feedback from adjudication panels. I have been in correspondence with many professionals across the Commonwealth to discuss potential avenues for marching performances and state assessment. When that time comes and we have the resources to participate safely, our standards will be as high as ever and we plan to continue to contribute to the impressive Orange County reputation.
The 2020 Show “Class of 2021” Our staff has reached out to our senior class and opened the floor for their ideas and feedback. We have decided to piece together a show that features musical selections from our senior band and color guard members. This year’s show will be by our seniors and for our seniors. A few musical selections have already been made and the composition process is underway. More than anything, with the likelihood that competitive opportunities will be limited this year, we are making it a priority to create a memorable and enjoyable season on the marching field.
Final Thoughts I would like to thank everyone for their patience and their perseverance. As with most challenging times, it is difficult to find solace amidst the turmoil. However, I encourage you to stay focused on the great joy and immense pride that comes with overcoming adversity. How will it feel at the end of a successful season when we can all share a moment of great accomplishment and say to one another, “We did it...and we did it together.” This season is going to be special and I am so looking forward to seeing each of you again very soon. All the best to you and your families. Be safe and stay strong.
With great love, Tommy Doss