Newsday Marching Band Festival canceled again

Juliette Amram, Copy Editor

The annual Newsday Marching Band Festival that was supposed to be held the week of October 18 at Hofstra University to honor the marching band and kickline was canceled due to coronavirus concerns for the second year in a row.

According to a post on the Newsday Marching Band Festival Facebook page, “…this was not a decision that was made lightly and was done so after lengthy discussions with members of our Marching Band Festival Advisory Committee, which is made up of members from multiple school districts.”

Newsday is an annual event that takes place over one week, usually in October or early November. High school marching bands gather in many different football fields and perform their halftime shows. In preparation for this event, our marching band and kickline practice tirelessly to perfect the halftime show. On the day of the event, the band takes a full-day field trip to perform at Hofstra University.

“The event is outdoors and the CDC has said it’s okay for vaccinated people to be outdoors together for the past 4 months. I think it should be brought back,” said Commack High School 2021 alumna and former brass captain Elena G., via Instagram Direct Message.

Many argue that the festival should happen this year with some extra safety precautions.

“If we’re able to do marching band in high school, I would assume that it would be ok to do it [..] with maybe less bands playing on one day,” said Commack High School alumni and former woodwind captain Michael K., on a Zoom call.

This year’s cancellation especially had an impact on the seniors in the marching band.

“We didn’t get to perform as we intended to before. […] There’s a mixed reception between people that are happy that we don’t have to do another performance and there are those who are very sad that they don’t get to experience this kind of event anymore,” said clarinet section leader, senior Daniel B.

The marching band has nothing planned to replace the event this year.

“Sadly, we’re just moving on. They [were] expected to have playoffs this year, however that just only [depended] on the sports teams. For now, nothing is replacing Newsday,” said Daniel B.

There is discussion about whether or not the festival will return in future years.

“I expect there to be future festivals after we go past COVID. Do I expect it to be [as fun as previous years]? I’m not so sure about that. I don’t really have a defining answer about that question,” said Daniel B.

The festival is known for the unique energy and excitement it brings to the band, especially when freshmen go for the first time. The feeling of uniting with so many other people under a common appreciation for music is like no other experience.

“I can’t put to words the kind of environment that was at [my first time at Newsday] because it’s something that you have to experience firsthand to know what it feels like,” said Daniel B.

The bus rides to and from the festival have very different moods, with the bus ride to the festival being full of anticipation and the one from the festival full of emotions as many seniors see the end of their last marching band festival.

“Newsday creates passion. It creates a goal where we want to […] be the biggest and loudest band,” said Michael K.

For many members of the kickline and marching band, the festival serves as something to work towards throughout the season, uniting students under a common goal. Without this goal, participating in the band loses its meaning for many students, leading many to not care about music as much as previous years. This leads to a completely different dynamic and culture within the band and can even cause some people to quit.

“By 2024 if they cancel it again, the whole band culture will be completely different, I think. We won’t even recognize them. The thought of it surprises me. It’s dangerous,” said Michael K.🔳