First and final: West Virginia marching band competition brings hope


ONA, WV (WOWK) – The pandemic has wreaked havoc on the high school football season as well as the marching bands that perform during the games.

Aside from performing in the stands, the 2020 competitive marching band season has been almost non-existent. While high school sports like football games were able to work around the pandemic, marching band hasn’t been so lucky.

Everything is always up in the air. Football games can change within hours of kickoff and we were so worried that that would happen to us.

Alyssa Dillon, Buffalo High School senior

West Virginia Governor’s Cabinet Department of Arts, Culture, and History representative Randall Reid-Smith helped make sure the student’s hard work this year didn’t go to waste. Reid-Smith says he can relate to the student’s disappointment with losing their season.

Once in band, always in band. They’ve been working since June and it’s been very different. They can’t work all at once, so they do little pods together.

Randall Reid-Smith, WV Governor’s Cabinet, Dept. of Arts, Culture, and History

Along with insistence from Gov. Jim Justice and help from the WVSSAC, 14 marching bands in the mountain state were able to compete in the West Virginia Marching Band Invitational at the Cabell- Midland High School all day on Saturday.

The invitational was the one and only competition the students were able to participate in this year. Seniors like Alyssa Dillon from Buffalo High School say, while this year hasn’t gone quite how they expected, they’re happy to be able to compete.

Football games are about football, even though we get to join, but to have a competition, it meant the world to the seniors, especially that we all got to go on the field. Everyone was tearing up. It was really hard.

Alyssa Dillon, Buffalo High School senior

The bands were scheduled so there would be plenty of time for students to enter and exit the field without overlapping. Face masks were also required for anyone not performing.

The invitational marked the beginning and end of the 20-20 West Virginia high school marching season.

For more information on other sports programs in the mountain state, click here.

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