Marching to the Finish Line

The Spartan Regiment wraps up their 2020 season amidst the COVID-19 pandemic


Hannah Bernard

The Francis Howell Central Spartan Regiment performs at the Howell Preview, one of their few performance opportunities this season. The preview also saw some performances from the other Francis Howell high school marching bands as they performed their shows for each other.

As the fall sports season draws to a close, so does the end of the Spartan Regiment’s fall 2020 season. This year’s season has been one of many unknowns and challenges, but the group was able to pull through and make the most of the few performance opportunities they had. They performed at a few home football games and at a school district preview event with the two other Francis Howell high schools. Though some may have been disappointed with the differences from previous seasons, for many it was all worth it. Senior Emma Smallen describes how her feelings progressed as the season went on.

“At the beginning of the season, around July, I’m not going to lie when I say I didn’t want to do it,” Smallen stated. “It was supposed to be my senior year, and it was kind of just ruined. But I kept going with it because I couldn’t just stop something I loved so much. By the second month of doing it, though, something had changed … I started looking forward to every day and moment I could spend with [the] drumline and the band.”

Some people, like junior Allison Hoefle, doubted if there would be any sense of normalcy at all during the start of the season.

“I feel like we defied the odds because in the beginning I honestly didn’t think we were able to put a marching band show on the field. But, we followed guidelines and made it happen,” said Hoefle.

Many seniors especially were initially and rightfully upset with the lack of performances and changes to the usual “senior season.” However, they had the full support of the rest of the Spartan Regiment behind them to carry them to the finish line. Junior Brady Steele expresses the sympathy he had for the seniors.

“I do feel the struggle that our seniors had since they couldn’t have the senior year they wanted, but the show from both a music and guard perspective turned out well,” Steele said.

This doesn’t mean everything that happened during this season was a struggle, some good came out of it too. During the course of the season and due to social distancing between parts, the sections were able to grow together more and become even more like a family. Smallen remarks that she’s thankful for COVID-19 happening for this very reason.

“Honestly, I would thank Corona for even happening,” Smallen said. “Without it, I don’t think I would have ever been so close with my section and the seniors.”

“Honestly, I would thank Corona for even happening. Without it, I don’t think I would have ever been so close with my section and the seniors.

— Emma Smallen

Hoefle also describes how she is thankful for how the season turned out, even though it was different from her expectations.

“It definitely wasn’t what I expected my junior season to be,” stated Hoefle. “But I wouldn’t change a thing because we came together and finished strong as a whole.”

One of the most important things, however, is that the band was able to push through all the obstacles that came with putting together a show during a pandemic and become stronger because of it. They learned together and they grew together. Above all, they became even more unified because of their shared struggles.

“We all went through this together and I think that’s really what made the season so great, and what makes it stand out compared to the last couple years,” commented Smallen.

The marching band season ended unexpectedly on the Wednesday night before fall break with the original ending supposed to be at the home football game that Friday. Despite this, the band was able to make the night memorable with a glow performance and a car trunk decorating night. Now, the members of the Spartan Regiment wait until next fall so they can hopefully use what they have learned this year and apply it to their next show.