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'We're just one big family'

Mt. Pleasant Marching Band celebrates a unique season

Senior Drum Major Erin Andreasen listened during the award ceremony where she won  the outstanding senior award. (Liam Halawith/The Union)
Senior Drum Major Erin Andreasen listened during the award ceremony where she won the outstanding senior award. (Liam Halawith/The Union)
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MT. PLEASANT — On Monday morning, Mt. Pleasant Community High School senior marching band members filed into the band room in regular fashion, but instead of preparing to play music, they prepared to reminisce and laugh about the season that they had just successfully completed.

With only a single competition, – complete with masks, horn bell covers and a socially distanced show, the band was ready for a celebration.

To celebrate this distinct season, the band had its annual “Band Breakfast,” with only seniors this year. Along with limited attendance, students had premade and prepackaged meals. All sat 6 feet apart using music trays as tables.

During the annual gathering, the players watched videos of former performances, a video about the season, baby pictures, and heard “prophecies” or premonitions of their futures by Jim DePreist, the band’s director.

During the season, the marching band marched during all three Panther halftime performances and received a “1” rating at the state marching band competition, their 33rd consecutive “1” rating. Due to coronavirus concerns, the Panther Marching Band was only able to compete at the state competition because it was held in a virtual format, all other competitions were canceled statewide.

The band received a major boost, after carrying on Panther tradition and receiving a top rating at the state competition, ending the Panther season on a high note. Senior drum major Erin Andreasen said the band’s biggest problem was staying positive even with the lack of competition.

“It was hard for some kids to stay motivated, but we did our best and had a really great year,” Andreasen said.

It is one thing that many seniors will remember after leaving their high school career during a year that scoffs at tradition. However, despite the absurdity, the Panther marching band has adapted and stayed positive.

“It was a really good season, even with the circumstances I feel like we did really well,” Andreasen said.

With a season very different from normal, the music department attempted everything they could to make the season as normal as possible. Band director Jim DePriest said the band has had to accept the fact that it’s a “different kind of year” and has been “super positive.”

“It was different, but at the same time, we tried to do a lot of things the same. We had to make some adjustments just to be safe, but overall it was great,” DePriest said.

Ending the season on a high note, the marching band has accepted and run with a year full of rules, safety concerns and negativity. However, they performed remarkably well, rising to and beyond the circumstances.

“I’m really proud of the kids. It’s not about me it’s about them, and they rose to the occasion,” DePriest said.