Pride of Cove gets put through its paces, no travel to away games this season
By BRITTANY FHOLER
The Copperas Cove High School Pride of Cove Marching Band kicked off practice as soon as they were allowed this school year, following the first day of school.
On Thursday afternoon, in the Lea Ledger Auditorium parking lot, the Woodwinds students and members of the Color Guard stood several feet apart as they practiced their foot work and marching positions, taking frequent water breaks in the Texas heat.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic and social distancing, the number of students practicing was reduced compared to previous years.
This year, there are 202 students enrolled in the Pride of Cove Band. This year’s drum majors are seniors Elmo Bailey, Selena Falbe, Krista Gray and Lillian Peterson.
For Peterson, 17, this is her first year as Drum Major. Peterson plays the flute and plans to attend either Texas Tech University or Baylor University, majoring in Flute Performance before attending med school.
She said she was excited to be drum major this year, but disappointed in how COVID-19 has affected her senior year of high school and her final year in band.
“It’s very unknown. There’s been a lot of questions regarding our season, if there’s going to be a show or not, how competition’s going to work,” Peterson said. “It’s honestly really scary and disappointing in some aspects because the parts of marching season that I know I look forward to the most might be cancelled, and since it’s the last year that I’ll be in band, it’s really disappointing.”
Despite this, Peterson said she was excited for how the band will perform this year.
“I’m looking forward to watching the band come together and then perform our show, if that’s allowed, because I love seeing the progression of the show over the season, and I can’t wait to see it come together,” Peterson said.
Bailey is in his second year as a drum major this year. He plays the trumpet and is also in JROTC. He plans to attend Texas A&M University-Central Texas through their ROTC program and getting a degree in computer science.
Bailey said that band practice is definitely different this year.
“It’s just getting used to not being able to be more up close, direct and personal helping someone,” Bailey said. “You’ve got to find new ways to teach everyone because we can’t be directly in contact with them, so it’s just adapting to a different situation in a sense. It kind of helps us as leaders because now we have a different way on teaching someone instead of just what we’re used to.”
Bailey said that being a drum major is kind of surreal, with everyone looking up to him.
“You’re that top dog. Everyone looks to you for everything and you have that responsibility now,” Bailey said. “You’re in charge of making sure everyone’s doing what they’re supposed to, and it’s a good feeling and very rewarding when you see the band doing good and knowing that you’re the cause of it.”
This year’s show is called “Stained Glass’ and features more operatic pieces, Bailey said.
“It’s just bright colors and making sure that everything pops out at you. It’s kind of super vivid in a sense,” he added.
Bailey said he was looking forward most to seeing how the show comes together.
“Everyone’s already working their butts off now, just learning everything,” Bailey said. “Just seeing that final product is going to be great, and I look forward to seeing everybody working on it.”
On his favorite part of being a member of the Pride of Cove Band, Bailey said the people were definitely his favorite.
“The people and the experience that they bring because you get all these people coming from wherever they come from and they all get on a field and work hard together for hours on the day, and everyone feels just like a big family in a sense,” Bailey said.
Jolene Travis is new to the CCISD band family, joining S.C. Lee as one of the new band directors, teaching Brass Beginners and helping with the CCHS Marching Band. Travis came to Texas in 2016, and prior to joining CCISD, had been a music teacher and high school band director in Crandall ISD.
With the social distancing precautions and not having all the band kids practicing together as usual, Travis said they are doing more rehearsals, so the kids all get the same education.
“The kids they came in really excited to learn so they’re getting a lot more information faster, just because they’re so willing and ready to go,” Travis added.
The CCHS band will be performing at the first home game against Waxahachie on September 25. There are five home games this season.
The UIL rules state that the only persons allowed on the field at away games have to remain on the field, according to District Communications Director Wendy Sledd. This means that band, color guard and Copperettes are not allowed to travel to away games.
“It’s actually turned into a positive for us, and normally we’d rehearse at stadiums about twice before we went to a contest, and instead of traveling on those Friday nights to away games, we’ll still travel, but we’re going to travel to our stadium and take full advantage of the stadium,” said Tony Chapa, CCISD’s Director of Instrumental Music. “As you can see, this rehearsal area is nowhere near a football stadium in terms of where the judges sit at the top to watch, and so that always is a big positive for us.”
The stadium practice will also allow the full band to practice as one. Due to COVID-19 and social distancing, the practices are split into smaller groups, such as woodwinds and color guard on one afternoon.
“The biggest goal is just to keep them loving band, to get them ready for next year and to make sure that they know that they’re loved, and that we’re still going to put on a great product, even if it’s a little bit different than normal,” Travis said. “We still want excellence, just a variation of it.”
Chapa added that he and everyone involved with teaching the band students are very excited for the marching season.
“We missed the kids tremendously, and they missed us,” Chapa said. “We’re one big, tightknit family. It was just good to see them all back together again.”