Har-Ber band working to keep students safe following new ADH directives

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SPRINGDALE, Ark. (KNWA/KFTA) — Newly released directives from the Arkansas Department of Health for School Sponsored Music dive into details of what will be allowed and what will not be allowed once school starts.

Student’s are not allowed to play instruments at practice yet due to the directive asking for bell coverings on wind instruments. Bell covers provide a barrier for aerosols.

Har-Ber High School’s Band Director, Jeremy Ford said he has ordered bell covers to be sent to the school, but until then they are working just as hard, if not harder.

“The word band means a group of people together,” Ford has been the Band Director at Har-Ber nearly 16 years. “I generally know what to do when it comes to band,” he said.

But, he said that’s not how it’s been the last few months. He’s had to work with constant changing guidelines.

“We haven’t ever finished adjusting to those guidelines” said Ford.

Between masks, social distancing and daily temperature checks, band student Ryan Yumang said it’s been tough.

“It’s a challenge. Sometimes it’s hard to remember that we need to be 6 feet apart, and it’s hard to shout with your mask on,” he said.

Ford said the new guidelines released last week by the Arkansas Department of Health have helped provide guidance, but not everything seems to add up.

“For instance, they suggest bell covers, and a saxophone has a bell that hints, but air comes out of 18 holes in a saxophone, all over it,” he said.

Nonetheless, bell covers are on the way to Har-Ber so they can remain at 100% compliance.

Ford said if the band preforms at football games, he doesn’t see it looking like it used to.

“We won’t be able to field our typical 240 students in the stands, when you see Har-Ber Band in the stands Friday night, normally we’re packed in there like sardines,” Ford said.

Yumang said Ford has done a great job keeping everyone in positive spirits.

“Mr. Ford has been good to keep us not with the negative mentality of what we cant do, but what we can do, and what we can do to compensate for what we’ve lost,” Yumang said.

Right now, this parking lot is the only place they can rehearse. But Ford is hopeful new guidelines will be implemented after school starts and will change that later on.

“Beginning band, 7th graders that have never even opened the case of a clarinet and how to get them started. Are we gonna be gong outside for 12-year-old beginners in December? I hope not,” he said.

But Yumang said even with all the chaos, it’s made him realize why he loves band to begin with.

“What really shines, is like this Har-Ber Band spirit of family. When there’s so much that we can’t do but we don’t talk about it, we only talk about what we can do,” said Yumang.

“It’s important for them to not lose that connection through this, you know of all the cliches that are out there “We’ll get through this” is the first one on my mind.” commented Ford when asked about the impact directives have on students.

The directive is not applicable to intercollegiate or professional music rehearsals, performances or
competitions.

Copyright 2020 Nexstar Broadcasting, Inc. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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