HHS kicks off summer band camp, shares Disney theme

By NATHAN HOWELL | Special to the Reporter

HELENA – While band students had to miss out on the concerts and events that typically precede the end of the school year, band students at Helena High School are finally able to move ahead with some sense of normality as their summer band camp recently kicked off.

According to Director of Bands Jeff Burnside, band camp began on Monday, July 20, when the 220 students in the HHS marching band reunited to begin working on their show for the 2020 year.

“They were ready to get back, they missed a lot of things in the spring like concerts and other events,” Burnside explained. “They are hopeful that they get to do more during the fall, but I think they understand that some things might be limited. But everyone is grateful to be back.”

Those who get to experience the group’s 2020 program will be thrilled to witness a show with music from Disney’s hit classic Aladdin.

According to Burnside, the students have been working very hard this year and taking their safety very seriously so that they can continue moving forward and doing what they love.

With the COVID-19 pandemic still affecting almost every part of daily life, the school has had to radically adjust the way it operates band camp, including limited hours and certain safety measures.

“The kids have to stay 6 feet apart whether they are inside or outside, they wear masks moving from place to place and when they might have to be closer together,” Burnside explained. “When they break they are socially distanced. We also have designated areas for things like water so that the students do not have to cross over each other’s paths.”

The band camps are also cut into half days, which is a standard among most schools in the county, to limit any unnecessary potential exposure.

Burnside also said that the students were taking the safety precautions very seriously and following the guidelines strictly. He also said that because of the limitations on time, the students are working even harder to perfect their showmanship and playing ability so that they can compensate for the shortened days.

While there is uncertainty about how the fall sports schedule will proceed, Burnside said that the HHS band will participate in as much as possible, including whatever football games, contests and exhibitions they are permitted to attend.

“The season may not look like it normally does as far as how long it goes, but the students are very motivated and so excited to be back and to get to do what they are doing,” he said. “They are very accepting and very hopeful.”