Fall field band competitions cancelled for schools in NYS

By Tom Rivers, Editor Posted 29 July 2020 at 9:27 am

Medina won’t get a chance to defend state title this year

Photos by Tom Rivers: Jada Draper, left, leads the Medina field band as the drum major in this photo from the Fall Festival of Bands in medina on Sept 21, 2019. The Medina band performed to a program titled, “Walk the Path.”

There won’t be a fall field band competitive season in Medina or New York State.

“It is with great regret that our conference has voted to end the 2020 competitive field band season,” the New York State Field Band Conference announced on Tuesday. “After meeting for several months and creating multiple contingency plans, our directors remained hopeful that some version of our traditional in-person season could be offered. However, after careful research and discussion with directors, consultants and other state associations, the New York State Field Band Conference has decided that the 2020 competitive field band season must be cancelled.”

Destiny Jones is a member of the Color Guard for the Medina Mustang Band. She is shown during last year’s Fall Festival of Bands in Medina.

Medina is the only school district in Orleans County that competes in the program. Medina won the state championship last year, winning the Small Schools 1 Division at the Carrier Dome in Syracuse.

This season would have been Medina’s 54th season competing as a marching band.

Jim Steele, Medina’s marching band director, this morning shared the news about the cancelled season on the marching band’s Facebook page.

“It is with great sadness that I announce to you that the 2020 competitive field band season has been cancelled by the New York State Field Band Conference,” Steele said. “This decision was not an easy one to make but in this crazy and ever changing world we are living in it was the right one.”

Steele said the conference acted out of safety for students and staff.

“The field band conference is looking into some alternative options to at least give the students of each school an opportunity to come together and perform in some way,” he said. “Details on that will be revealed at a later date from the conference.”

He said he is hopeful the band in Medina can still get together for rehearsals to keep their skills up to date. If the football season is allowed by the state, Steele said the Medina band might be able to perform at a game.

The NYS Field Band Conference urged school districts to safely allow in-person band rehearsals and parent/community performances this fall.

“We share in the immense disappointment of our performing students, educators, parents and fans,” the NYS Field Band Conference said in its announcement. “It shall continue to be the mission of the New York State Field Band Conference to encourage and provide a positive experience for all participants. We will still work to create opportunities for our students throughout the upcoming calendar year. Despite the lack of a formal competitive 2020 season, marching band in New York State will still exist. We will do everything in our power as directors to support and cultivate marching band for our current and future students.”

Lancaster’s Marching Band performed, “Into the Yonder Blue,” a tribute to the U.S. Air Force, during the Fall Festival of Bands at Vets Park in Medina on Sept. 21, 2019. KC Gust was the junior drum major for Lancaster. More than 1,000 people filled the bleachers for the show, which included nine marching bands.

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