GAINESVILLE — When it comes to high school football games, the marching band is an essential part of the gameday atmosphere.
High school football programs and marching bands begin preparation for the fall season during April and May, but the state ordered school shut down due to the coronavirus spread has put a wrinkle in those plans.
Coaches have been using online apps such as the Zoom to keep their athletes in the loop and to send out individual workouts. Band directors are beginning to jump on board as well.
Gainesville High School band director Larry Miller said he could use Zoom to potentially fill some of the Big Red Machine's fall roster. But, for now, he will hold online meetings via Zoom, starting at 9 a.m. on Friday, for those interested in trying out for various spots. Click here to find out the times for each position.
"The past couple years we've had north of 220-230 kids," Miller said. "We've got to get all that organized and ready before, what normally would be the end of school, however that looks now so that hopefully, everything looks good in the fall. The online thing has really been a great source for us."
Generally, we have informational meetings the week prior to spring break. That is what these initial video conferences will be; however, I absolutely imagine we will need to do some of the auditions online. This is the time of year when marching band planning and recruiting occurs. In order for us to be ready to go for the fall, we must move forward now the best we can."
Moving forward is a chore for most everyone involved in extracurricular school activities. High school softball normally holds tryouts for the fall season in May. Those are up in the air unless school resumes on April 27th.
Spring football also is hanging by a thread as well, and the entire spring sports season has essentially been canceled.
The good part, however, coaches, teachers and administrators are finding differents to keep their athletes, band members and students engaged during the layoff.
"It's not the perfect situation, but I have been amazed by the teachers that I have seen from the Gainesville City Schools who have stepped up and have knocked it out of the park," Miller said. "I've got a first-grader at home, and her teacher is just phenomenal. She's Skyping with these kids. She's letting them use Zoom conferences. You know they're first graders. They're getting on there and waving to each other and saying hey to each other. As a parent, I can really appreciate that because we can tell a difference in our first-grader when she gets off those. Her life for that little minute of time has been back to normal."