Band concert will honor veterans on Nov. 10

By SASHA JOHNS / Community Columnist

Our county seat has a long history of showing its patriotic colors from the annual Liberty Day celebration to town monuments honoring those who have served in foreign wars from our community.

This year, the beloved Pride of Shelby County Marching Band will be continuing with that tradition with a special Veteran’s Day concert for the entire community on Nov. 10 at Old Mill Square in Columbiana.

The COVID guidelines have been especially hard on students this school year. Traditions have become harder to maintain, making for the occasional loss of several closely held rites of passage for students across the county. Indoor band concerts are one of those things that have taken a hit, due to socially distance guidelines.

Most people tend to think of marching band as an outdoor activity thanks to football games and parades, but in actuality, those activities, although stoked with lots of exciting pomp and energy, only happen for a short portion of the school year. Students in music programs spend most of the year perfecting their skills and showing them off at a series of indoor concerts, usually held in the school auditorium.

The Pride of Shelby County, however, came up with an idea to still get concert time in, and bring the community together in spirit at the same time. The Pride’s outdoor concert will be their first and only concert so far this year other than halftime performances at games. The lawn performance will give them the space they need for families to safely attend and spread out, as well as a beautiful community setting to make it happen in.

The local chapter of the American Legion will be joining the band as guests during the National Anthem where they will raise the flag as part of the program. “I think it’s fitting to include our own veterans in a program that is meant to honor them,” one parent told us.

Matthew Martindale told us that practices have been harder to maintain this year, due to restrictions, but his students “have hung in there and are doing the best they can under the circumstances just like we all are. This concert will be something that gives them just a little bit of the old normalcy.”

Their socially distanced concert will happen outside at the new fountain on the lawn of Old Mill Square at 5:30 p.m. They welcome the community to this free event, where guests can bring lawn chairs and blankets and sit in small groups as a safety measure.

The school board does suggest that guests wear masks and maintain reasonable social distance for the safety of the community.