The Kayhi Bands New Personal Protection Equipment

Tristan Dahl/Staff writer

The Kayhi Band resumed rehearsals with the start of the school year. Like all other Kayhi activities, students are required to follow covid guidelines. However that brings extra challenges regarding a class largely centered around wind instruments. 

Kayhi Band Director Bradley Crowe is basing all of the covid precautions in his classroom off of the schools guidelines, studies he is familiar with, and what other orchestras and national music groups across the country are doing.

    In the beginning of the year the band began by using surgical masks with slits cut in them and brass players emptied their spit onto puppy pads. Crowe also had more personal protective equipment ordered, or PPE for short, but the band didn’t receive them until this week. 

The new PPE is different depending on the instrument. Brass instruments such as trumpets, trombones, and french horns use bell covers that cover the end of the instrument. 

Crowe said that the bell covers somewhat alter the brass sections tone.

“As we have tested them we noticed they slightly mute the instruments, but the overall effect isn’t too detrimental to our sound,” Crowe said.

Senior trombone player Judy Meiresonne said it somewhat hurts her sound quality.

“It’s a hindrance because it stops my trombone’s reverberation, it’s more dampened,” Meiresonne said, “It’s sorta like a mask for my instrument.”

The new PPE for woodwinds is a large nylon bag that the instruments slip inside of, alongside the previously mentioned edited surgical masks. 

Senior Saxophone player Henry Clark said the PPE affects his instruments tuning. 

“When the instruments are in the bags they get really sharp,” Clark said, “Like 35 cents sharp.”

Crowe said the equipment is causing his woodwind players minor inconveniences.

 “With the woodwinds, the nylon bags that they put over their instruments are really just more of a nuisance than anything,” said Crowe, “The flutes probably have it the worst, their instruments are parallel with the ground and the bags that they have fall down on their fingers as they’re playing, and not only that, they have their own special face masks which are made specifically for flute players. Navigating those has been a significant challenge.” 

In addition to the safety precautions in class the band no longer meets all together, they meet as three separate ensambles of brass, wind, and percussion. They then combine for the final performance. 

Crowe said he misses the big band set up, but there are some advantages to the smaller class sizes.

“It is working out very nicely, all three instrument families have time to work on their craft and do work related to their specific instrument,” said Crowe, “Overall we are able to get more work done in a shorter amount of time.”

Crowe also said that the band adjusted surprisingly well to this years challenges.

“There were a lot of changes at the beginning of the year, a new director, covid, and a new class set-up,” said Crowe, ”I couldn’t have asked for a better transition into this year, the students have done an amazing job.”

    Clark said he thinks the band is already getting used to everything.

“I think that when we get to the first concert it (the PPE) will be a little more natural for us, but I don’t think it will ever feel normal because that’s not how any of us were taught to play our instruments,” said Clark.

    In addition to the in class precautions, the band has committed to the first performance being completely virtual. A Youtube Live link will be made available to all family and friends on the day of the performance. 

    Initially the band had considered different ways to hold the event in person. Clark advocated for an in person performance.

    “If we can socially distance while we play, then I definitely think we should do it in person,” said Clark.

    Meiresonne said she would prefer an online concert. 

    “Im just thinking of older parents,” she said, “We don’t want anyone to not come out of fear.”

The final decision came down to including everyone. Crowe and the students didn’t want any loved ones to miss the performance.

The Kayhi fall concert can be viewed live on youtube at 6:00

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