Conditions demand changes, Warhorse Band scaling back to keep kids safe

High School Bands all over the United States are having to make decisions due to the COVID-19 pandemic concerning their annual fall marching season which begin in the middle of July with practices daily, and many are scaling back or cancelling their seasons despite being advancing years.  Devine Warhorse Band Director Jeff Miller announced this week that Devine will not put on their usual full marching contest show due to time, health and safety constraints and conditions which demanded changes be made to keep kids safe. Devine High along with most of the South Texas districts are planning to adapt their marching band shows in a way that it is still fun for the kids and a learning experience, but in a way that is as safe as they can possibly make it.

In these unprecedented times band directors are having to make up their own plans, forms and protocols based upon their thoughts, experiences and discussions by networking together with others in the same boat.

“Safety is number one!,” said DHS Warhorse Band Director Jeff Miller. “Most of the surrounding districts are going with the same plan. I started a ‘text chain’ with several other head directors and it is unanimous around here – some are just waiting on administration approval. NEISD has already determined they are going the same route with all their marching bands. Some UIL Regions have already declared as a region that there will be no contests. DISD Superintendent Dr. Todd Grandjean and our Principal Mr. Byrd are very supportive of these plans,” said Miller.

This new Summer Band Schedule is a part of the bigger plan for our Warhorse Band season for 2020.

As we approached July it became obvious that conditions were in fact not improving and literally every Band Director in the nation was struggling with the same issues at hand. It was time to make big decisions!

Marching band productions involve hundreds of hours of preparation and thousands of dollars being spent, with little actual realistic hope of being able to appropriately teach the production to our kids.

Honestly, without every student present every day of Summer Band, success on the competitive field is just simply not possible.

On the other, even more important issue is the health and safety of our students and staff – and this is where to me the decision making became very clear and simple. Safety is number ONE!”

This new schedule will provide a way for us to maintain small groups of instruction on summer days before school begins.

Each section will be able to see exactly what days they will need to attend and KNOW there will only be few other students  and staff present.

The full marching band group is only scheduled for two Fridays to begin with – and it will be together ONLY OUTSIDE on August 7th and 14th. (Usually the full band is together each morning for several weeks before school starts.)

This will help us to ramp up prior to the first day of school on August 24th.

Our 2020 season is going to be very different. As part of the plan to keep our Warhorse Band members safe, we will have a “non-competitive season”.

It is not safe to travel to marching contests, or be in the mobs of students gathered from all across south Texas – period.

We will instead only perform at home varsity football games and it will be a limited marching show supporting Devine while having fun! Our kids will be encouraged to learn a lot of music, have fun, support our team, and above all do so in a safe manner!

Our contest show production we had planned will be learned and performed hopefully for the 2021 season. Our students will still approach each and every performance with the goals of excellence and pride that has become the Warhorse Band tradition!!!

Here are some reminders for ALL our students from the Devine Band Directors:

Click to see more from Chaparral Ford!


All incoming 9th graders must complete the Medical History and the Physical and have signed by a doctor.

All upperclassmen must only complete the Medical History and only get a physical IF they answered YES to question #1-6 on the medical history.

Forms are due upon arrival to Band Camp!


ALL students must provide their own drinking water!! Water fountains will not be accessible. The Warhorse Band has purchased 1/2 gallon water jugs with printed logos which will be issued to each student upon arrival that they will be able to carry with them at all times. They will have to fill and clean everyday at home. For their first day they will need to bring their own full container!!


All students will be given lists of COVID-19 symptoms and they will have to be responsible to self-screen daily. They will sign in each day and have their temperatures checked. Anyone who has reported symptoms or a temperature over 100 will be sent home. Parents are encouraged to check for fever each day and symptoms. PLEASE do not send your child to school with any of these concerns!!


Several steps are being taken to make sure our facility, equipment, and all people present can be safe. School-owned marching band instruments have been commercially cleaned. Several hand-sanitizing stations have been installed throughout our facility over the summer, and additional portable stations will be set up outside. Students who utilize large moveable equipment such as percussionists will have access to sanitizing wipes to clean off surfaces and mallets before each use. Students will be primarily in small groups in large areas both inside and outside as noted in the summer band schedule.


Students and staff will wear face masks inside the buildings – they will need to bring their own beginning with their first day of summer band – this is very important.

Revised Summer Schedule

The revised summer band camp schedule was posted online Monday, July 13 and can be found on the high school band tab on the districts website It can also be found on the Warhorse Band Facebook page.

Leadership Camp (leaders/officers only) will be this Wednesday through Friday, July 15 to 17 from 9 am to 11:30 am for work and training. All band officers, drum majors, section leaders and captains are asked to attend. Masks are required.

Color Guard Camp will be in the front band hall. Monday, July 20th through Friday, July 24th from 8:30 am. to 11:30 a.m.  Masks are required.

Percussion Camp will be in the back band hall Monday, July 20th to Friday, July 24th from 8:30 am to 11:30 am for Drumline only. Then late that day the Front Ensemble will practice from 1:30 to 3:00 pm.

Freshman Marching Orientation Camp: All incoming freshmen attend. Set for Monday, July 27th to Wednesday, July 29th from 8:00am to 12:00 pm. All freshmen must bring completed physical form.

Summer Band Camp For ALL: Thursday, July 30th to Thursday, August 20th there is a chart that explains what section will come on which days to keep to limited groups at the band hall at one time.

7:30 to 11:30 am .July 30-August 14

Group A= Drumline/Front Ensemble & Guard dates are July 30, 31, Aug. 5, 12.

Group B= Flute, Sax/Horn dates are August 3 and 10th

Group C= Trumpet, Clarinet dates August 4th and 11th

Group D= Trombone/Baritone/ Tuba dates August 6 and 13th

Group E= All members Full Band dates August 7th and August 14 (7:30 to t 10:30 am ) Outside.

Monday, August 17th-Thursday, August 20th 7:30 to 10:30 am Full Band Outside only.

Subject to change.

Mandatory Parent Meeting on Tuesday, August 11th at 6:30 pm. DSAC.

Publisher’s Note: I have high respect for Warhorse Band Director Jeff Miller for leading the charge and reaching out to the other band directors across South Texas to come up with a plan that will help keep students as safe as possible and not just wait to see what happens. Families and communities have spent tireless energy and resources to keep the kids safe during the past six months and with the COVID-19 pandemic health crisis filling up hospitals across South Texas it just didn’t make sense to just open the gates and see what happens. I am sure it was tough for the directors to give up their marching contest season especially for those who are in their advancing year like us which only happens every other year. But they put their kids’ safety first and not their chance at accolades!  What a great way to lead by example. Thank you.

By Kathleen Calame