Thoughts on the 2020 MB Season

We are living in very unique times and as I write this on June 1, so much is still up in the air as far as the fall school and marching band situations. The uncertainty of how to plan for the season has been the most difficult aspect for directors, designers and staff. The unknowns include summer rehearsals, band camp, fall travel and reduced funding from schools and boosters, many of which lost spring and summer fund raisers. This quickly leads to questions about staff, equipment, prop and show design funding.

Most directors are planning for several options starting with Option 1 – full speed ahead as always. The last option is often having marching band in a much more diminished role from normal. Perhaps those that compete will not be able to do so. Most likely, different areas of the country and perhaps within a state may have very different scenarios. Decisions from school and government administration will probably come sometime in June or July. Flexibility will be the key as the situation may change once marching band begins and a change of options may be required.

That being said, I would like to offer some suggestions regarding show planning as I see the situation now.
1. Design or choose your music and visual design a notch easier than you have in the past. There will most likely be less rehearsal time in the summer and maybe the fall, especially in regards to full band rehearsals.
2. Shorter shows will be an option as many competitive circuits have already reduced their minimum show time.
3. Be prepared to change your option, plans and show design mid-season as bands may lose rehearsal days or maybe even weeks if there is a spike in the virus during the fall.
4. In my opinion, musician visual choreography takes much more rehearsal time than straight ahead drill. And … it is okay to just stand and play a segment. The audience and adjudicators will understand this year, especially if you sound better!
5. Reduced funding considerations – minimize or eliminate props, tarps, new “show costumes” and new equipment that is not necessary.
6. Sound great and look great is always the bottom line. Difficulty and complexity is not required, especially in 2020.
7. For competitive bands, if your season and program is minimized or eliminated for the fall, consider doing WGI Winds in early 2021. It can give the students, especially the seniors, that competitive activity that so many of them love. Winds will also make the students better players and therefore improve the concert bands.
8. Shadow Lake Music can help! Check out our marching band shows in all styles and difficulty levels.

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