Our entire 2020 fall marching season was conducted (no pun intended) virtually! Read below to hear from a few of our seniors on their experiences.
One of the best things about the UCLA Marching Band is the tight knit community that we have established over the years. It is pretty easy to plan social gatherings in person, but this was our greatest challenge while zoom was the only option. We decided to have Fridays be an optional social hour for the band. The idea behind this, instead of a full-band rehearsal, was to give all of the new members an idea of the community we strive for in the band and to remind the returning members who we are. The main priority was to be welcoming and excited that everyone was here for the band.
Planning the social events was difficult at times, we wanted to make sure everyone was able to participate and be excited to come back every week. One of the coolest events we had was inviting some of the UCLA Women's Basketball Seniors to our call to play some games and answer questions. It was an awesome experience and it surely opened the new members’ eyes how much we LOVE Women's Basketball.
A socially distanced season of marching band has been nothing if not interesting. Meeting people outside of your section is always difficult, and continued to be difficult, considering everything had to be virtual. I thought that band leadership did a great job of making the Friday social hour fun and reminding members of what the band is all about. In smaller circles, one thing that has never been hard is getting to know people in your own section, considering the amount of time normally spent in sectionals. This year presented its own unique challenges in acquainting members of sections with themselves.
From games of Among Us to section Minecraft servers, there really has been no shortage of ways for new members to meet each other and other members of their sections. Many students really stepped up in a big way for sectionals, and not just section leaders. Sectionals really were a group effort, and there was so much help from other members who weren’t afraid to contribute to make their fellow new members feel more at home. In many ways, the situation finally gave the band an excuse to compile resources that could be useful for years to come! More thorough online flaps with newly made full band recordings for every song, as well as audio files for each individual instrument were helpful in sectional to help teach music in the absence of group rehearsal. One thing is for sure: after running zoom sectionals, I’ll never turn off my camera in a class again!