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Home > Spotlight > Marching arts help battle COVID-19

Marching arts pitching in toward COVID-19 battle


Coronavirus. March 26, 2020 — It's no surprise that the creative, caring people involved with the marching arts are jumping in to help battle the coronavirus epidemic. Amidst the disappointment of canceled events — including the 2020 WGI and DCI World Championships — organizations are vowing to #MarchOn toward the future, and help immediately with the current situation.

Below is a sampling of various efforts underway by marching organizations, suppliers and fans. We hope this inspires ways that you and your organizations may be able to help.

If you know of additional examples, we encourage your comments and messages via social media. (Visit on Facebook or Twitter.)

Shifting Production

Earlier this week, Band Shoppe (Cynthiana, Ind.) was among companies reporting that it was utilizing its production facility to sew face masks to address increased demand for personal protective equipment for medical personnel.

"Recently, our medical community expressed that they were experiencing a shortage of face masks and other fabric items. Our company began to evaluate how we could assist their needs," according to a statement from Band Shoppe President Jay Pearison and CEO Jamie Pearison. "Starting on March 20th, we shifted much of our manufacturing to produce washable face masks to fulfill the shortages at local hospitals, clinics, and patient support services."

Fred J. Miller Inc. (Miamisburg, Ohio) also reported assembling thousands of face masks this week, before suspending production after the Ohio governor's stay-at-home order.

View the full statements from Band Shoppe and Fred J. Miller

Donating Food and Supplies

With today's announcement that the 2020 DCI summer tour has been canceled, drum and bugle corps are brainstorming ways to not only embrace their members, but also support their local communities.

Blue Stars Drum & Bugle Corps (La Crosse, Wis.) moved quickly in determining they have food and supplies that can be useful in fighting the pandemic.

"We have discovered the gloves we use for food service are medical grade. We will be donating our supply into the healthcare system," according to a statement from the Blue Stars. "All food we have remaining from winter camps and/or purchased in preparation for the upcoming season will be donated to local food banks and groups working to feed those in need. We have notified the city and county that our food truck is available if it can be of use in some manner."

Santa Clara Vanguard Drum & Bugle Corps (Santa Clara, Calif.) is also ready to make its food truck available for relief efforts.

"As Vanguard Music and Performing Arts looks towards the future, we continue to explore new opportunities that we can offer our community and region," Executive Director Brett Bernardini said in a statement from VMAPA. "All options are on the table from online learning opportunities, how we can support area school and nonprofit arts programs, even how we can utilize our mobile food kitchen. We believe in the South Bay - especially our home, Santa Clara - and continue to look for opportunities in which we can support residents, businesses, schools and organizations in this difficult time and beyond."

View the full statements from Blue Stars and Santa Clara Vanguard

Foregoing Refunds

A question that frequently arises after a show cancellation is, "what about refunds?" Marching arts organizations that rely on ticket sales for a large portion of their revenue are dealing with the question, along with the wider arts community such as theatres and orchestras.

Comments on social media posts indicate that some patrons are planning to simply consider their ticket purchase a donation and will forgo a refund. Others mention applying the ticket value toward future ticket purchases. In either case, patrons are taking a positive step to avoid straining an arts organization with cash outlays at a time when they have little or no incoming revenue.

For the past few weeks, several memes on the topic of refunds have been going viral on social media. One variation shown below (original creator unknown, otherwise credit would be noted) suggests, "If you have tickets to a live performing arts event which is canceled due to COVID-19, please consider donating your ticket rather than requesting a refund."
Please consider donating your ticket rather than requesting a refund.

Related information on WGI Color Guard World Championships, DCI World Championships

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