COVID-19 reshapes the freshmen band experience


Nicholas Herring/Le Souvenir Yearbook

Band members perform on their way to Strawberry Stadium as the Lions football team faces off against Northwestern State.

The freshmen experience for many college students this year has been unique compared to the past experiences to COVID-19. 

With COVID-19 restrictions and procedures in place, newly joined band members have had to learn a routine that others have not. 

Blake Leblanc, a freshman history major, shared how being in band became a hobby for him from an early age. 

“I joined the band in the fifth grade when I first learned to play the saxophone. I really became passionate about the band during high school when we began to march while performing,” Leblanc said. 

Each year, the Spirit of the Southland Marching Band performs at football home games and events on campus. However, with COVID-19 regulations and procedures, the group has faced many challenges. 

Leblanc explained, “Band has been great despite COVID. I have gotten to meet new people and learn new songs. Unfortunately, the marching band hasn’t been able to perform due to COVID, but I am absolutely looking forward to what we do in the future.” 

Being a first-year student, the saxophonist mentioned what he hopes to accomplish throughout his time in the university band. 

“I see myself improving with music memorization. I hope to learn all the Spirit of the Southland songs to show off to my band friends who went to other universities,” Leblanc said. 

Lance Schenck, a freshman new media and animation major, shared how his experience has been shaped by a certain band role model. 

Schenck said, “My experience in the band so far has been different than most, due to COVID-19, but still it has been fairly positive and really fun with the support of Mr. Brothers, our head director this year and head of percussion.” 

The transition from high school to college can be challenging for many to adjust to. Schenck explained the differences and similarities between high school and college band. 

Schenck said, “Both have their similarities but they both differ very much in their ways, as many that you play with in the band are most music majors of some sort- but also some of us have very different majors. Though, we also work just as hard as we did in high school and still have a lot of new people in the process that come in and out of band throughout the semesters.”

Schenck emphasized the band’s perseverance through the pandemic. 

“It has definitely been more challenging because of COVID-19, but we do our best to overcome the challenges that we’ve had to face the past couple of semesters, and still play our best,” Schenck said.