It's the end of October! State band competitions have concluded and the end of high school football and the middle of college gameday are upon us! With BOA Grand Nationals only 3 weeks away, schools are pushing through the end of the season with drive and intensity! As the sun sets earlier and pumpkin spice makes an appearance in the hands of staff members, the kids may begin uttering thanks (finally!) for the thick wool/poly-blend uniforms they wear on the weekends.
But what about rehearsals? As the chill of fall and hints of winter start becoming a factor in rehearsal preparations, let's talk about some important safety precautions we can take to ensure that students are as prepared for the cold as they are for the heat.
If you're from the Midwest or the North East, snow, or at least extreme cold temperatures, are a mainstay of your existence. It's common to hear Midwesterners say that fall lasts a week, winter lasts 6 months, and spring may decide to show up for a day. However, our body's reaction to heat and cold is entirely relative. While the South and Pacific West think 60 degrees calls for puffy jackets and layers, someone in Wisconsin sees 60 and rushes to open the lake house for the summer! The same applies to our perception of hot temperatures.
With that said, nearly everyone in marching band will experience the "cold part" of the season. From students to staff, important safety measures need to be considered when planning for rehearsals toward the tail end of the season. Cold conditions, raise a serious risk for performers and staff alike. In order to maintain peak performance and drive the final push of the season, staff need to know the risks cold weather poses and how to prevent injury/illness due the cold.
The NFHS Band Safety course outlines guidelines and tools needed to understand cold weather risk and how to mitigate it.
Proper preparation for cold weather is vital even when the performers and staff members are not yet at rehearsal. This is especially important for winter guard rehearsals and pep band gigs. Parents can help educate their young drivers on safety in cold and winter weather conditions.
Taking care of your body and demonstrating preparedness no matter the conditions will pay dividends in the end for you and your program. No matter if you're wrapping up the marching season, preparing for winter bowl games, or heading to winter guard rehearsal, it is important to heed the weather and armor your body against uncomfortable conditions. For more information on this topic or for additional resources regarding cold weather risks, mitigation, and more, enroll in the free NFHS Band Safety Course!
Danielle Lavrenz lives for pageantry and the marching arts. Passionate about colorguard, she has marched since she was in 7th grade. She marched with the Morton High School band program for a total of 6 years, including 3 years in their circuit-level winterguard. She was a 4 year camper at the Music for All Summer Symposium and marched in the 2009 Bands of America Tournament of Roses Parade Honor Band. She went on to attend Murray State University, where she studied English Education, was an active member in the MSU Racer Band, and was devoted to her sisters in the Sigma Alpha Iota music fraternity. She marched with The Cadets Drum and Bugle Corps in 2010, 2011, and 2014 as well, earning a bronze and gold metal during her tenure. She has teched, choreographed, and directed for Marshall County High School, Calloway County High School, Bethel University, Morton High School, Waukesha North High School, and Greendale High School. Lavrenz is a member of the DSI Marketing Team and currently resides in Waukesha, Wisconsin, where she teaches at Greendale High School. She is also a staff member at the Music For All Summer Symposium.