Notes of some normalcy

Troy Gerleman directs the woodwinds of the Pride of Ottumwa marching band outside Ottumwa High School Monday afternoon. It was the first day of rehearsals for the band, though there are changes for the 2020 season, the biggest of which is that the band will not participate in competitions. However, they will continue to perform at home football games and in parades.

OTTUMWA — There will be no competitions for the Pride of Ottumwa marching band this year, but performances are still on for home football games and parades.

The Iowa High School Music Association recently announced that all state-sanctioned music events have been canceled for the 2020-21 school year. As a result, OHS band director Troy Gerleman said that the 2020 production of “Pandora’s Bach(s)” has been shelved until next year. Instead, the band will perform a new program, “Together As One,” which was created as a response to the COVID-19 pandemic.

“The 2020 version of the Pride of Ottumwa will look different this year as we switch to a non-competitive year,” Gerleman said. “This was a hard decision. The safety of our students is the guiding priority. This in no way changes our intent to provide incredible life experiences for our students through music.”

He said the program will continue to strive for innovation and creativity while providing a rewarding and educational experience for the students. Together As One “will be used to create a universal marching band production that can be performed by mass groups in a universal setting to inspire and motivate all through these troubling times,” according to a release from the district. “Together As One represents all things that represent the resiliency that is to be an American.”

Plans are also in the works for area bands to come together for a large performance of the set. Further updates will be available later in the fall band season.

OHS Band Camp began Monday with extra precautions in place. Staggered, outdoor rehearsals with the students will be held with face masks worn when possible. Brass and drumline will attend in the morning with woodwinds in the afternoon. Wind instruments will not be played indoors in accordance with COVID-19 guidance.. Color guard will rehearse full days in a different location.

“The show design is even being written to be COVID-19 compliant, with proper spacing of intervals with students,” Gerleman said.

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