Pioneer Marching Band is back after a Covid-related hiatus of 18 months.
The band is directed by April Woolley and Jared Burch. Their last performance was in Oct. 2019, at the New York State Field Band Conference competition in Syracuse.
Mrs. Woolley has been encouraging students to keep their skills sharp since Covid-19 struck last spring. Even with the reopening of school last fall, extracurricular activities such as band were severely limited out of an abundance of caution.
Now extracurricular activities are re-emerging. The Marching Panthers are preparing for a Memorial Day return.
Traditionally the band has performed in Memorial Day parades in Machias, Delevan, Chaffee-Sardinia and Arcade. It was somewhat of a whirlwind morning for the band every year.
Mrs. Woolley said, "In this year where everything else is different, Memorial Day will be as well. Because of social distancing it is not possible to transport the students to four parades. We have decided to instead have one big parade that will begin at the high school and end at the high school so the students can be dropped off and picked up and no transportation will be needed."
Mrs. Wooley added that all of the local American Legions, VFWs and volunteer fire departments have been invited to participate. "We will also be sending trumpet players to the Memorial Day ceremony in each town, to provide Taps. It is important that we honor and not forget those who have given the ultimate sacrifice for our country. That is what the day is about."
The Memorial Day parade will be begin at 9:30 a.m., at the High School on May 31, Memorial Day. It will proceed around the connecting road to the middle school and continue down Route 39 to the Kless Boys gas station. "We will use the Kless Boys road as our turnaround and head back to the high school," Mrs. Woolley said.
As for the future, fingers are crossed for a return to 'normal'.
"It does appear that our regular competition season will begin in the fall," Mrs. Woolley said. "We are planning on having our band camp week in August, and are excited about next year's show."
The Marching Band Boosters club is also a key part of supporting the band. Any parents willing to help out are asked to contact Mrs. Woolley. The boosters have traditionally sponsored monthly paper drives, which raised funds while helping area residents clear out recyclable items.
Unfortunately the paper drive will not continue, according to Mrs. Woolley. "We will not be able to have the paper drive any longer. We appreciate all of the amazing support from the community over the past years at the paper drive. We will miss seeing everyone each month with their paper and cannot thank the community for all their support."