Playing It Loud, Playing It Safe

An Interview with CHS Band Director Alex Shive

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RANDY PARKER/THE DAILY TRIBUNE NEWS Cartersville High School Band Director Alex Shive speaks with members of his student leadership team in the school’s band room.

Savion George, Writer

As I walk into the band room, the first thing I notice is how quiet it is. It’s kind of strange not to hear blaring horns upon entry. The next thing I realize is that no one is there except for one student. I greet him and ask if Mr. Shive is ready to see me. “Oh, he isn’t here right now. He had to go to the CTAE building for a bit. He should be back in around ten-ish minutes.” He replied. I wait for about five minutes, mulling over the questions I have prepared. After a while, I hear Mr. Shive’s familiar, friendly voice. “Is Savion in here?” he asks, and I stand to make myself noticed. Upon seeing me, he begins to apologize for his tardiness, to which I assure him that everything is fine. We move into his office, and he sits down at his desk. “So, what are these questions?” he asks in a lighthearted tone. I tell him that the questions aren’t anything too complicated and proceed into my first one.

 

How has the COVID-19 pandemic affected the band? How have you kept the members safe?

 

Shive responds almost immediately. I feel his tone shift as he goes into a sort of “Teacher-Mode.” He goes into a great deal of detail when explaining the necessary procedures.

 

“Well, first, we have to do a health screening for each member. ‘Have you recently traveled to a COVID hotspot?’, and other questions like that. We also do a temperature check before every rehearsal. Since it’s impossible to play and wear masks at the same time, all drill is done 6 feet apart, and all breaks are done in line with COVID guidelines as well.”

Shive patiently waits as I finish jotting down some notes, and I lead into my next question.

 

How have the members been doing in terms of following these procedures and staying safe?

Without hesitation, Shive answers.

“They have been SUUUUPER helpful; I can’t stress this enough. We had a bit of a rough start. In Band Camp, the freshmen got it right off the bat and did fantastically. The others had a bit of a harder time adjusting because they had been to Band Camp before, so they had to learn not to share things and be physical and things like that, but they nailed it after the first week or so. The kids all work really hard, and you’re one of them, so it’s all been a great help.”

I can’t help but smile a little at that last part. I ask my final question.

Have your plans for the season been heavily altered due to the virus?

 

“Yeah, there are a LOT of changes. We can’t do away games. Marching Bands are essentially banned from traveling to away games. It was hard even to get to do the Cass game. We had to buy our own tickets.” He holds up the tickets that he happened to have in his hands. “Cass might be our only away game for the entire season, but I’m hoping to be able to travel for the State Championship provided we make it that far. Marching band Competitions are also canceled for the year.”

With that, the interview is complete. I ask Shive if he has any closing words.

“Again, the kids have been super helpful, and things are running pretty smoothly. Everyone’s staying safe, which is all I could ask for.”

I thank him for his time and take my leave.