Detwiler decides travel game cancellation


Jaidyn Palladini

Hit the Drum Freshman Reece Myers and Sophomore Ryan Longstreth play their snare drums at the Baker Mansion Concert to the pregame cadence. They are always practicing for what is to come within the weeks of game day.

Jaidyn Palladini, Reporter

On Sept. 14, band director Larry Detwiler decided to cancel the band performances for the game on Sept. 24 and the upcoming game on Oct. 8  for the safety of students in preparation for Homecoming coronation and senior night. The goal is to keep all students as safe as possible in spite of a COVID-19 outbreak on a bus. 

For many band and band front members, it is upsetting but they understood why this decision was made. 

“Yes, it’s disappointing,” freshman Seth Goheen said. “I didn’t want this year to be like last year where we didn’t play at any games. Joining this band has opened up a variety of opportunities I’ve never had before. It’s a lot of hard work but in the end it’s so much fun. I was excited to travel to different cities across Pennsylvania, but I have many years left at the school. I will have many other chances.”

“It was pretty upsetting because since this is my first year being able to do away games since last year, due to COVID-19, all of the away games were cancelled, so this is my first time doing this and having the second and third one cancelled was a bummer,” sophomore Ryan Longstreth said. 

Members were disappointed with having many specific things they wanted to do this year taken from them.

“I was looking forward to traveling and performing because when we travel we get to see other bands, so it is kind of hard to work on ourselves when we can’t see what other bands look like and where we can improve ourselves,” junior Abigail Gensamer said.

“I have been looking forward to the ‘big things’ in senior year like Homecoming week, prom and graduation. I was also looking forward to being cheerleading captain,” senior Amiradama Smith-Banks said. 

For the freshman and seniors, it has taken a toll since it is some of their first and last time being able to do something like this in high school. 

“[I’m upset about] the things I could’ve learned and the time I could’ve spent with my friends that will leave the school after this year. The time I could’ve had with the seniors,” Goheen said. 

“Away games are always so much fun,” Smith-Banks said. “After high school, I’m never going to have another opportunity to experience something like this. It’s upsetting that COVID-19, having started my sophomore year, is affecting my last year of school.” 

Many feel like this is a good choice that Detwiler and Superintendent Charles Prijatelj made for the safety of all band and front members, specifically seniors. 

“I know Mr. Detwiler and Dr. Prijatelj came to a conclusion for our safety and that it does come first. It still sucks but our safety comes first and that is more important,” Longstreth said.

“I was upset at first but I understand why they did it to protect the safety of the seniors and so they could have their time for senior night, but I wish the rest of us could’ve gotten to go,” Gensamer said. 

For Detwiler, it was a hard decision. to make but he knew it was the right one. 

“The last couple of weeks we’ve had a lot of kids, not even specifically with COVID-19, but just kids sick right now,” Detwiler said. “We’re always just a little bit cautious because COVID-19 and flu symptoms can look very similar, so that’s why they tell a lot of people if you’re seeing symptoms, stay home and be cautious. We are just getting people on track to being healthy again. Putting kids on a closed bus for a little over two hours to go to an away game before Homecoming, alumni band and senior night and have someone test positive and have to quarantine an entire bus would wipe out the band. We’d be looking at the possibility of not having a band at Homecoming and senior night, and I just don’t see that as being a good risk. We just want to be as safe as we can through these times.” 

The entire band knows this situation is difficult, but Detwiler hopes they understand why. 

“They are probably disappointed,” Detwiler said. “My guess is that there is a little bit in there that they are excited to have a night off this Friday. I enjoy the away games and this was a really hard decision to make. Some people are going to look at it and say that we just didn’t want to go to away games, but that’s not true at all. We want to be there, support the team and do the things that we do. I’m probably as disappointed as all of the kids that aren’t going to go. When I look at the big picture and tell the band that there would be a ton of members quarantined and can’t march Homecoming, that would be way more disappointing than not going to an away game.”