Marching through the pandemic

Jefferson’s marching band continues to work hard from home during the pandemic


Dave Pearson

Jefferson’s marching band front ensemble gets set up and ready to play at one of their concerts during the 2019 season.

Nivika Gandhi, Staff Writer

As the seasons begin to change and the school year sets in, Jefferson students have much to look forward to. One group in particular, however, has been working towards this part of the year all summer. The Thomas Jefferson Marching Colonials (TJMC) is Jefferson’s marching band, although it acts as a second family for the majority of its members. The season begins with each new school year, and the band performs at football games and Saturday competitions in Sept. and Oct. Not only is it a fun bonding experience for the participating students, but they are also a 5-time Bands of America Regional Finalist and were named State Champion in Class AAAA at the Virginia Marching Band Cooperative 2019 State Championship.

TJMC is easily one of Jefferson’s largest student groups, amassing a total of 115 members during the 2019 season. During a parents’ interest meeting last May, former TJMC director Adam Foreman described how Jefferson students are positively impacted by marching band and other arts programs at school.

“Marching band students in particular, but any band student, any arts student at TJ, tend to be the happiest students in the school,” Foreman said.

This season, however, is unlike any other. Due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic, students are forced to perfect their music and marching technique from home. Current Jefferson senior and TJMC flute section leader Hita Yalla shared how she felt about the situation.

“It was a pretty big loss because we have a lot of traditions. We would have had a bunch of senior pranks and gotten to do stuff we’ve been waiting to do for four years,” Yalla said. “Then of course, senior night would have been really fun. Walking out onto the field and having that last show. We didn’t have a senior bonfire either so it is sad, but it was a slow burn, so we’re okay.”

Although the pandemic has driven many groups apart physically, TJMC continues to bring each other and the rest of the Jefferson band program together for master classes and occasional weekend calls. Yalla also elaborated on how there may still be hope for a spring performance of the 2020 season’s music, and the music may be reused during the 2021 season.

“You probably have to get three people on each instrument to do it, and it has to be socially distanced. Honestly, the seniors already knew that they weren’t going to perform in the spring show, so it’s not a big deal for me to see [the underclassmen] do it. It’s already past, so what can you do?” Yalla said.