The pandemic dealt a significant blow to the entire Bedford band program, making it extremely challenging for them to perform. It required a multitude of DIY masks and coverings to ensure the safety of the band members.
As a consequence, the Bedford High School marching band witnessed a decrease in its membership. However, this year’s band, consisting of approximately 30 students, including participants from John Glenn Middle School, has fostered a distinctive and vibrant culture.
Band director Jim Felker said, “This year, we’ve assembled a dedicated group of individuals who are truly passionate about it. Our senior students have set a remarkable standard that the newcomers eagerly embrace.”
Felker particularly highlighted the support from the student section this year, saying, “The student section has really rallied behind the marching band… You can see kids cheering for their friends.”
He expressed his relief at the shift in attitude from previous years when the band often received a more snarky reception from their peers.
This shift is felt by the band members. One student said, “The support from my peers is overwhelming. I feel that there is a lot of energy and enthusiasm.”
In the current season, the marching band is gearing up to participate in three competitions. The New England Scholastic Band Association (NESBA) offers high school bands a platform to perform in front of an audience and receive scores based on a comprehensive rubric.
NESBA’s championship event is open to any band willing to compete, rendering the initial two competitions akin to “regular season games,” as Felker described them.
Felker emphasized that these events offer an invaluable opportunity for the students to perform in an environment dedicated solely to their music. He noted, “At football games, we’re somewhat in the background, but here, they get to show off to an audience that’s here to support them.”
Felker expressed his pride in the band’s dedication and hard work and eagerly anticipates the upcoming events.
The excitement over the competition aspect is in the band as well with one band member saying, “I have high hopes for the coming competitions. I think we will do well as long as we stay focused.”
The scarcity of such opportunities to witness other marching bands underscores the significance of these competitions.
The season can be most perfectly summarized by drum major Evan Kelly, who said, “The band has always been tight-knit, but I feel that this year we are especially [close]. I think spirits are very high going into competition season. We have many new members from the middle school and the high school this year. I can’t wait to see what is still to come this season, and I know [the younger members] are going to keep the band thriving for years to come.”