INDIANAPOLIS (WISH) — Friday was the perfect day to be out at the Indiana State Fair for Band Day, but one band had to pull out of the annual competition due to COVID-19: the former champions, Anderson High School. A number of students at the school are in quarantine.
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The Indiana State Fair Band Day is the final competition for local school bands participating in the Central Indiana Track Show Association circuit. Schools like Connersville and Tipton returned to the state fair after it was canceled last year because of COVID-19. But on the eve of Band Day, former champions Anderson High School got some upsetting news: They could not compete this year due to the pandemic.
“Not having the opportunity to perform last year and then being one day away and not having the opportunity again this year for the older students was definitely a shock and it was a bummer,” said Cordell Zehr, assistant director of the Anderson High School band.
Matthew Skiba, director of the Tipton High School band, understands. He says not being able to perform last year and show off their new uniform was disappointing.
“We were able to do it at home, which was great. We could do it at home football games, so we were still able to show the community, you know, this is what we fundraised for, we’re so thankful for your support, but we weren’t able to bring it here and do it here. It was rough,” Skiba said.
Richard Geisler, the director of bands for Anderson High School, says it takes a lot of work to prepare for the competition and just get to the fair.
“Contacting your bus driver for however many buses you have, contacting your semi-driver, loading the semi, loading the equipment. That process in itself can take an hour, so we had it all ready to go, and unfortunately, it did not work out,” Geisler said.
But despite the heartaches, Geisler says they’re pushing to provide students with quality performance opportunities.
“Moving forward, our goals here are to get the school year started and work without students just to satisfy their love of music and make them better musicians,” Geisler said.