We’re Back! Band and poms return for short season
April 9, 2021
The smell of fresh salty pretzels, hearing students yell with pride at the top of their lungs and the feeling of unity is a part of what makes “Friday Night Lights” so special. But what is missing is the band playing the music after touchdowns and the poms dance during halftime.
These two groups performing turn a regular game into a Lancer memory.
The poms and marching band prepared to perform at the home football games. Due to Covid-19 restrictions, athletes were given two tickets to give out to their friends and family to watch their games. For a little while, it looked like poms and marching band had no future at games.
Before Covid restrictions were lifted, there wasn’t enough room in the audience for the poms and marching band to have tickets. The participants of these activities were devastated.
Captain of the poms team, Ashley Nash, said, “The hardest part about the season being cut is that we had already started to prepare. We had been creating choreography and teaching the team. Everyone was so excited to dance.
Once restrictions were eased, both teams could perform.
From heartbreak to happiness: Band performs at football games
Just like everybody else, the marching and has had a weird season. Going from practicing for games, then getting notified that the marching and has been cut, to being able to play at games has been pure chaos.
Towards the end of the summer, the band held a two week virtual band camp, something that was new to everybody.
“That was definitely a different kind of band camp than I’m used to, but the band adapted really well, and we managed to be productive,” said senior Ben Scoppa, a member of the drumline.
During the first semester, different sections of the band were going in to practice for an hour one day per week. The band was even able to piece together a few Christmas songs to share virtually. On January 4, FCPS announced that return to play was being suspended, and the future of the season was up in the air.
In early March, the band was told that they would be able to put together a pep band to play at the football games. Shortly after, FCPS announced that the band and poms wouldn’t be able to play due to a spectator limit, and the band was devastated.
“When I found out the band was not going to be performing I had mixed feelings. I completely understood the need to limit people within the stadium, but it frustrated me,” said senior Mackenzie Berry, drum major.
“I fully supported the FCPS decision to prioritize athletes and cheerleaders when issuing spectator tickets for football games, especially since we were only planning a pep band and would not be performing at halftime,” said band director Kevin Lloyd.
Heartbreak did not last long, though, because following Governor Hogan’s latest policies, the County voted to raise the spectator limit and allow the band and poms to perform again.
One of the prominent questions that remains is how the band will remain safe and follow COVID protocols.
“Students are going to be six feet apart, using bell covers on their instruments, wearing masks anytime they were not playing their instruments, and seated in the band bleachers, far away from any spectators,” said Mr. Lloyd.
“I’m super stoked to be able to play again, and play in one more football game with some of the seniors,” said junior Ian Farmer. “I hope things can return to normal so that we can have a fun season next year.”
This year has definitely been a roller coaster for the band, but with the ability to play in football games, and upcoming concert band practices, there is light at the end of this tunnel
Hard work pays off: Poms ready to dance
Before the poms season was put on pause, the team had already held tryouts and created a routine.
Riley Johnston said, “We had a small group tryout. It wasn’t anything like we have done in the past years where we had a week.”
The team had to make a lot of adjustments to their season. Their tryout groups were split in half. The whole team couldn’t dance together and tryouts only lasted a day. Then tryouts and practices were moved to the hallway in the back entrance of the school to create more social distance and to avoid moving the cafeteria desks. In addition, the girls also had to come up with new choreography.
Coach Michelle Richardson said “While practices are inside, we work in two separate groups with two sets of captains. Outside practices allow for the team to meet together, but ensure that there is 6 feet distance and masks worn.
The dances have also been altered drastically. Pre-Covid the team was known for their jaw-dropping kick lines and their caterpillars. Seeing these moves had the audience in awe. Now the caterpillars are moved from the dance completely and the kicks are lone without linking arms.
Although the season has been shortened, Nash said, “I am so happy that we’re able to perform at even just one game. It’s better than nothing”
“I am most excited for some normalcy, and seeing the girls work together and dance again. I’m also really excited they get to perform for the upcoming football game, They truly love it” says Richardson.
For the seniors, it will be their last dance as Lancers.
Pre-Covid the team was a tight-knit friend group, too.
“My favorite memory from poms would have to be all the pasta parties. It was so fun to bond with the rest of the team and hangout outside of practice,” said co-captain Taylor Mitcham.