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3 Indiana high school bands drop out of State Fair Band Day due to COVID-19

Posted at 10:03 AM, Aug 06, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-06 10:13:26-04

INDIANAPOLIS — Three high school marching bands have dropped out of the 74th Indiana State Fair Band Day competition after students tested positive for COVID-19.

The Anderson High School Marching Highlanders, Elwood Junior-Senior High School Marching Panthers and Hagerstown Junior-Senior High School Golden Tiger Marching Band will miss Friday's event, according to school administrators. The competition begins at 8 p.m. at the Hoosier Lottery Grandstand.

Anderson High School band director Richard Geisler informed parents and students on Thursday that the school’s bands would not compete in the event because of the number of students in quarantine.

“Although we share in the disappointment that we will not be able to perform at the State Fair, you band directors and staff are EXTREMELY proud of the students this season,” Geisler wrote.

The Anderson marching band has won a state-record seven first-place awards at the Indiana State Fair Band Day competition with championships in 1957, 1958, 1959, 1986, 2010 and 2019.

Elwood Schools Superintendent Dr. Joe Brown told parents in an email on Wednesday that three students tested positive for COVID-19 who were close contacts of other students who tested positive.

Brown added that all Elwood students and staff members would be required to wear masks inside school buildings beginning Thursday.

“This tells us COVID-19 is spreading in our classrooms when students and staff are not in masks,” Brown wrote. “We went all of last year without a case of COVID-19 spreading in our classrooms.”

Hagerstown High School became the third school to drop of the competition due to positive COVID-19 tests. Nettle Creek School Corporation Superintendent Dr. Kyle G. Barrentine said the school had not been informed of any additional COVID-19 cases as of Friday morning.

"It's a really tough situation for our students, our band directors/assistants, the families, and our community. But, we are Tigers, and we are resilient," Barrentine said in an email.

In most school districts, students are not required to quarantine due to contact tracing if they are fully vaccinated, unless they show symptoms. The Pfizer vaccine is available to children ages 12 and older, while those who are 18 years old can get the Moderna or Johnson & Johnson vaccine.

For more information on how to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, visit or call 211.