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Gering High School band gears up for festivals, future

Gering High School band gears up for festivals, future

Despite the title of the show the marching band is putting on, it’s more excitement than panic that senior drum major Anais Barraza feels when standing up in front of her bandmates directing them through their Panic! at the Disco field show.

“Music is my passion,” Barraza said. “Because of band, it brought out that passion for music, so band to me is very important, and it means a lot to me.”

Barraza has been playing an instrument in some way or another since the sixth grade, playing bass clarinet for pep band and concert band and guitar and bass guitar for jazz band. It wasn’t until her freshman year that she realized just how much she loved music.

“It has gotten me through a lot,” she said.

Despite the uncertainties that this year has brought, Barraza, along with the rest of her bandmates, are hopeful to compete in their normal band competitions. Right now, Band Director Ben Veilleux said the biggest competitions they are most looking forward to are the Old West Marching Band Festival and the Ogallala Festival.

Still, this year has seen numerous changes in how the Gering High School band practices. They practice in the auditorium with three to four chairs spacing them out, have to wear masks when they are not blowing a horn instrument and the brass players have to use puppy pads to empty their spit on. Veilleux said one of the biggest limitations they face is how often they could play inside.

“The (National Federation of State High School Associations) says we have to be six feet apart inside at least, the trombones a little farther back, and then we can only play for about 30 minutes inside before we have to let the air ventilate out a little bit,” he said.

Even though the restrictions have been a little difficult to work around, Veilleux remains hopeful about the rest of the year.

“We’re preparing as if we’re going to compete, and if we don’t, then we don’t,” he said. “But I mean, there’s a lot of talented kids in both (JV and Varsity) groups, and we just can’t afford to have them not learn how to march.”

Barraza said she has enjoyed the field show they have been working on and has a good feeling about this year.

“These are songs everyone will get hyped up about,” she said. “I feel really excited and really good about this year and everyone in general. I think everyone is going to do great for this field show.”

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Olivia Wieseler is a reporter with the Star-Herald. She can be reached at 308-632-9051 or by emailing

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