Mask mandates force local marching bands to take COVID precautions

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ST. LOUIS COUNTY, Mo. – The mask-wearing mandates apply to more than just our faces. Members of one of the area’s top high school marching bands are now having to mask-up their instruments.

It’s no easy task.

Parents are making about 150 coverings for all of the horns of the Lindbergh High School Marching Band, hand cutting the different size and sewing a channel on the edges so the coverings can be cinched tight around the instrument “bells,” the parts where the air and the music come out.

The Lindbergh Marching Band has played in the world-famous Tournament of Roses Parade in Pasadena, California, three times since 2005.

The COVID-19 pandemic has put this year’s season in jeopardy.

That’s unacceptable to band moms like Heather Herbold, who is sewing every covering herself.

“A sousaphone takes a couple of minutes but the clarinets go pretty fast,” she said.

“Based on a study that came out a while back about band instrument specific, blowing air through them creates particles that get released into the air, aerosols,” said band director David Wyss. “They recommended that bell coverings bet put onto the different instrument types.”

The specially-selected stretchy nylon stops the aerosols but not the music.

So, next week, the band will meet socially-distanced in the football stadium and get to feel like they’re in high school again.

“It’s just classic high school experience,” Herbold said. “You think of high schools and you think of sports and marching bands. If kids can’t have that part of their school year…it’s already so drastically different…(then) trying to hold onto to something they’re used to having is worth it.”

This is likely just the beginning. “If and when” kids ever get to come back to their classrooms, Lindbergh Schools will need about 900 of these instrument “masks” for music programs district-wide.

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