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High school band uses individual tents to keep practicing during pandemic

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They’ll be no two peas in the single-person pods given to members of the band at Wenatchee High School in Washington. 

The school’s student musicians are rocking out together inside individual pop-up tents. The innovative solution comes as the trumpets of in-person learning resound after months of remote schooling due to the pandemic.

“You get kids back in the building. You can tell people are happy,” Principal Eric Anderson told WenatcheeWorld of the schoolhouse vibes since doors reopened on Jan. 26. 

During rehearsal, happy campers in the band each zip into their personal tents, spaced 6 feet apart, along with their instruments. In an effort to avoid COVID-19 exposure, the ensemble practices in shifts per Wenatchee High’s new AM-PM hybrid schedule. 

“We’re getting into that groove of what are we doing in-person and what are we asking kids to do as an extension of learning when they are not with us,” Anderson said of the remixed school day. 

The AM-PM schedule allows half of his student body to attend 35-minute classes in the morning, and the other half rotate in for learning in the afternoon every Tuesday through Friday. All Wenatchee students return to virtual learning every Monday. 

Wenatchee High School band member Juan Cruz and his sousaphone struggle to fit inside his small COVID-19 pod during rehearsal.
Wenatchee High School band member Juan Cruz and his sousaphone struggle to fit inside his small COVID-19 pod during rehearsal.
World photo/Don Seabrook

But when it’s time to bring the noise, student-band members, such as Wenatchee High School sophomore saxophonist Alison Chamberlain, get jazzy inside the shiny green shells. 

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Unfortunately for sousaphone player Juan Cruz, he and his 35-pound instrument can barely fit in the solitary confinement cell. 

As cautiously creative as Wenatchee High School’s kids are, this isn’t the music world’s first attempt at safely turning up in the midst of the global health crisis. 

In January, rock group the Flaming Lips blew fans away when they hosted the world’s first-ever “space bubble” concerts in Oklahoma. 

During back-to-back performances, the psychedelic superstars and their 100-person audience members were all individually encased in inflatable capsules. Even the drummer and his entire kit were fully enclosed in plastic protection.  

While it’s not totally clear how much these one-person bubbles reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission, they’re definitely the most poppin’ PPE we’ve seen thus far.  

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