Sounds pushing back restrictions. – The knight crier

Since the dawn of North Penn, school performance groups have shown the true talent of those who want to go above and beyond.

From the loud and explosive marching band, to the harmonic choirs and choirs, to the home performances across the state, they seemed to have it all. They did, until something closed not only the world, but also the hope of furthering their talents.

With the North Penn Marching Knights winning the National Championship this year, let’s look back at what they had to do during the shutdown. March 2020 has been a life changing year for everyone in the North Penn School District. Students were stuck at home fearing to go out due to the coronavirus / Covid-19 pandemic. The press reports made it clear that it was not a flu or a cold, that it was something dangerous, something deadly. One group that was hit hard by the new restrictions were the North Penn Performance Groups.

Bands such as Columbia and Navy Jazz Band, Choir, Choir, Wind Ensemble, Symphonic Band, Marching Knights and Orchestra were unable to perform for a year. It took a lot of conviction from Joseph Santanello, the director of the Marching Knights, Symphonic Band, Wind Ensemble, and Columbia Jazz Band to enable a single performance in the spring of last year in person. Previously, all performances were online, brought together by individual recordings resulting in the sound of a performance. Although it was nice to hear the sound of all the players together. It just wasn’t the same as being together and playing as a full band.

It was bad, we didn’t have a season and it broke my heart. Not seeing my friends and doing what I love hurts me.

– Katherine Hinderliter, color guard, Clarinet

From September of the 2020-2021 school year for music and performing groups, it has completely changed the way they play. All groups in the North Penn District have followed the new COVID-19 guidelines as bell blankets (a cloth blanket that covers the bell of an instrument) to limit airflow and prevent possible spread, although it comes at a cost. With these covers, the sound of the instruments is muffled, making it difficult for people to hear or play. Although flutes have the easiest option of covering the mouth, without limiting the sound of the instrument. Practices at school were also severely limited with classes of 20-30 people at a time, but as of the 2020-2021 school year, they were limited to a maximum of 12 (and this is so people come to school to play).

Although the school group was hit hard by the COVID restrictions, one group that was shut down was the North Penn Jazz Bands. These groups include the Pennfield Jazz Band, the Penndale Jazz Band, the Walton Farm Jazz Band, the Pennbrook Jazz Band, the NPHS Columbia, the NPHS, Nazy, and the NPHS All-State Jazz band. With the closure of all these jazz groups, no performances were made, no competition took place, everything disappeared in an instant. Although during the school year to ensure that the jazz groups at least show the skills of the players, the annual Mayfair was held where all the jazz groups performed 1 time to show the crowd the dedication of the musicians. Although the future looks slowly but surely brighter for the 2021-2022 school year. Hopefully next year for these amazing bands will return to the norm.

We were fortunate not to have been too affected by COVID. Many other schools have seen a huge decline in their music departments due to COVID, but we have held up pretty well. We were fortunate to have the resources and support we need to pass the Google Meet group course last year and social distancing within the group this year. “

– Samantha Reamer, NPMK, Symphonic Clarinet, NPHS Columbia

And now? Where is the North Penn School District with COVID-19 limitations for performing groups? Well, as of September 2021, the school seems to be lifting some restrictions for performing groups. The North Penn Color Guard now has a full season to compete in, and the North Penn Marching Knights will go ahead as if nothing had happened, determined to have a normal season despite the problems of the outside world. At the moment nothing is known about the North Penn Jazz Bands, I hope that the future of small ensemble groups can continue as normal, like the NPMK.

With the normal performance groups (Wind Ensemble and Symphonic Band) it seems certain that sooner or later this will return to normal as well. With larger classes not seen since 2019, until the Bell Covers restriction was lifted, the North Penn High School Bands will be heading home. Although performances are currently uncertain, there are high hopes for members of North Penn’s music programs to show off their true talents with an instrument.

With that in mind, consider that not only groups, but also choirs have also been affected by the pandemic. Having no instrument other than their vocals, they were also subject to CDC and school district restrictions. Wearing masks has been a controversial topic, but the kids having to sing through the mask were also pretty bad. With over 50% of the ENSP chorus behind a screen, only a small handful of children had to experience the classroom affected by COVID. With classes cut in half, mask wearing and the stress of potential school closings similar to the year before, it almost seemed certain this year would be a bad year for the choir. Fortunately, as the world slowly reopens, the Choir is also opening up to everyone.

It may sound bad for ENSP groups and choirs, but surprisingly the orchestra was not affected so badly. With stringed instruments requiring no breathing, the only restrictions they had to follow were wearing the basic mask and social distancing. Yes, classes were still short of people due to the ability to stay at home and attend virtually. Although just like groups and choirs, the orchestra now allows people to come 5 days a week to attend the orchestra as they did before.

A gloomy year has passed for performing groups at North Penn Highschool, with the upheaval of the experience of newcomers to school, to take the last year of school away from seniors, the school has held firm with an iron fist against Covid. As more and more children enter school, they will be able to experience performing groups in all their glory, even through the flames of the restrictions imposed by the district, these determined, talented and young performers. determined stood with a smile behind their mask. .

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