The competition season for state high school marching bands became the latest casualty of the COVID-19 pandemic, with the announcement Monday that the Oklahoma Bandmasters Association is canceling its fall season.
One of the state’s flagship programs, Broken Arrow High School’s Pride of Broken Arrow, had already announced late last week that it was not going to participate in competitive marching this fall.
“As all of you know, we find ourselves dealing with a situation that is completely out of our control and very difficult to navigate,” OBA President Josh Allen said in a statement.
“COVID-19 has created a set of circumstances that impacts our state and education system and has left us with the inability to host our state contests at our host sites.”
Broken Arrow was scheduled to be the host site for OBA’s 6A1/6A2 contest Oct. 31.
The OBA executive board’s decision to cancel all 2020 marching contests was unanimous, Allen said.
Darrin Davis, Broken Arrow’s director of bands, said the decision there was made after consulting with school officials.
“The safety of our students is our greatest concern,” Davis said in a post on Facebook.
He added that “the growing spread of COVID-19 and the uncertainty associated with how or if marching competitions will be held this fall” compelled the decision.
OBA had announced in June that the season would go forward, but with recent developments, a change to the plan seemed unavoidable, officials said.
Allen said: “We wanted to make this decision as quickly as possible for band program planning, but still hold out to make sure that it was the right call.”
“I hope that all of us can work together to help stay positive and keep our art-form alive safely during these uncertain times,” he added. “Please let us know if there is anything that we can do to help or support you and your band program. We are going to get through this together.”
Davis said Pride officials are choosing to emphasize the positive in the situation, and are looking at it as an opportunity to “reinvent” their marching band and implement a “new vision.”
“Competition does create an external sense of motivation, but is never the goal of the Pride or our activity,” he said. “All of our goals are still very much attainable this fall.”
Davis added, “Our fall season will look different, but in no way does it change our intent to provide incredible life experiences for our students through music.”
He said more about the program’s evolving fall plans would be revealed in the coming days.
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