Tamaqua band members playing to the tune of COVID-19

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TAMAQUA, SCHUYLKILL COUNTY (WBRE/WYOU) — Many students are looking forward to returning to their extra curricular activities, as they head back to school, but some of those activities may look different due to the pandemic.

Students in band are adjusting to keep the music playing. Tamaqua Raider band members socially distance as they fill the air with music.

“I hope to get back out and just give people what they want. They want to hear the band,” band president Brady Miller said.

It’s been months since Miller and the rest of his band have been able to practice due to the pandemic. It’s the senior’s final season, something he’s been looking forward to for the last seven years.

“It’d just be really nice to have one last final field show and have like everyone there watching and cheering on like normal,” Miller said.

Even though a performance is not promised, the band is spread out across the parking lot outside of the middle school to safely practice. They hoping at least one performance will happen.

“They’ve broken up into sections, they try to keep people in pods. The only difference is that they have not been able to practice or experience their field show,” assistant superintendent Dr. Stephen P. Toth said.

There are more than 200 students in the Tamaqua High School band. Normally the band fills a football field performing at games. This brings them too close to the 250 cap for outdoor gathering state regulation. If given the opportunity to perform, the school will allow band members in smaller groups to take turns performing at different games.

“So we’re going to keep trying to do everything we’ve done, we’re going to try to keep making music throughout the year,” band director Mark Beltz said.

Since band normally goes year round Beltz is exploring holiday music programs to keep the students’ momentum up.

“Our band is second to none. They are absolutely excellent and we want to give them as many opportunities to perform as we possibly can,” Toth said.

Beltz says they are practicing outside as much as possible and added safety precaution and have heightened their cleaning when practicing indoors.

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