PEARCY – The Lake Hamilton High School Power Band of Arkansas placed second in the state marching competition and took home the Outstanding Musical Performance award at War Memorial Stadium in Little Rock earlier this month.
Jon Shultz, director of the LHHS group, said being able to compete in the state group competition during a pandemic was an accomplishment.
The band members started rehearsals on July 13 and never knew if they were going to perform. Shultz said he thought it was about three weeks before the Arkansas Department of Health gave them any real guidelines on how groups could participate and have course this year with the warrants. .
âWe rehearsed for three weeks and in the sweltering heat, not knowing if we were going to have a season,â said Shultz.
The guidelines were followed as if the students and group officials were attending a football game.
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âThe only thing that’s different is that when we play in the stands at a soccer game, kids have to wear a mask with a slit. We have custom made and designed masks where they can open it. , then it closes itself, âhe said.
The recommendation came after the marching band had marched for a week. When on the football field, if it hinders their performance, they do not have to wear the mask for rehearsal and performance situations.
âWe built it into our installation process. When the kids take the mask off, we wanted to make an effect, where you see these kids wearing masks, and it was striking to see so many children’s faces. , “said Shultz.
Seeing the dedication of the students in the group during the COVID-19 pandemic is a humiliation for Shultz.
âIn a year where you see other programs in smaller and smaller groups and you see less support, we’ve grown. We’ve had quite a few students moving in. I think some of them have moved in. between them came here because of the group because we were doing something and we’re not much bigger, six or seven students bigger than we were last year, “he said.
The group’s show this school year was called “Our Voice”.
âIt was an election year and we knew there would be a lot of negativity. No matter which side of the aisle you fell on, there was so much negativity,â Shultz said.
âWe wanted to do a show that makes people think about being good human beings even in these times, and being kinder to each other and making a change,â he said.
“That was the whole deal and when we got into this it didn’t feel right to do anything but use the kids because when we sat down and had a meeting with the students, and (asked them how they were feeling) They started expressing their thoughts about what was going on in the world, âShultz said.
âThere’s a lot of blame. Some of them don’t understand what’s going on more than we do. I can’t imagine being a high school student, and everyone tells you, you’ve got your whole life in front of you but you don’t. don’t. You don’t really feel that way, “he said.
“The students wrote about 90% of the words that were actually in the story that was spoken on the show, and they voiced it all.â¦ We used the voice of every senior on the show at some point.” , said Shultz. .