IHSMA State Marching Band Festival


RE: IHSMA State Marching Band Festival

The Executive Committee of the Iowa High School Music Association (IHSMA) has been concerned for student health and safety as it relates to the musical activities it oversees since the Covid-19 pandemic began this past spring. IHSMA has been in constant contact with other state organizations as well as leaders across the nation. 

Through the assistance of the NFHS/CBDNA aerosol study’s preliminary results and the mitigation strategies suggested, IHSMA has issued Return to Learn guidance for the Band, Choir, and Orchestra classroom.  That guidance was released Wednesday, July 15, 2020. That guidance suggests mitigation strategies that, according to IHSMA’s best understanding at this moment, significantly reduce the risk of aerosol disbursement within the music classroom setting (indoors and outdoors). It is IHSMA’s belief that with proper strategic planning, it can be safe to hold rehearsals and home performances.

Marching Band festivals pose a different challenge regarding student, teacher, and volunteer staff safety.  The health risks associated with transportation of the large number of students involved in marching band for extended periods of time, as well as the health and safety risks posed by bringing students and spectators from multiple communities to a single location are challenges IHSMA has determined cannot be overcome at this time through the mitigation strategies currently available.  To that end, the Executive Committee of the Iowa High School Music Association is canceling the traditional IHSMA State Marching Band Festival and has instructed the Executive Director to explore options for providing an online festival experience for those bands wishing to participate.