Social distancing practices have reshaped classrooms across campus, but one classroom that is strikingly undisturbed is the football field. The Bulldog Marching Band, directed by Ryan Lovell, is continuing outdoor rehearsals this semester, taking the time to focus on musical technique and grow, expanding its repertoire.
Assistant Director Grant Dalton is grateful to be back.
“I think we all made the best out of our difficult situation last spring, but the study of music really just needs to be in person to be highly effective,” Dalton said .
Drum Major Savannah Newton echoed this enthusiasm.
“I was a little nervous about what this semester would look like; however, I was delighted to see how the university and the School of the Arts have handled COVID-19 safety precautions in order to keep us gathered together,” she said.
Meticulous planning took place over the summer to create guidelines and contingencies for all possible scenarios the band might encounter this semester. Professor Lovell is confident that the band is prepared for any challenges this semester might bring.
“We have actually painted dots to where the students have to stand and they are six feet apart, so they always have to be that way at all times,” Lovell said.
Students are required to wear a mask at all times unless playing their instruments. Drum Major Jackson Vaughan explained.,
“While we are playing, we hang our masks around our necks, but when we break our masks go right back,” Vaughan said.
Soon, students outside of the band will be able to hear what the practices have resulted in.
“Starting late September, the band is going to perform on Fridays in the Quad,” Professor Lovell said. “We are also planning on releasing virtual content.”
The band’s virtual content will include an album and collage videos with the dance team. Lovell is hopeful that these performances will foster school spirit despite the unfortunate circumstances of a pandemic.
Lovell has also found several silver linings to the current situation.
“We are actually taking this opportunity to learn more music than we normally would during the marching season because we are not actually physically marching with drill,” Lovell said.
Though this semester is full of new and unusual challenges, The Bulldog Marching Band is poised to thrive, with even more students involved this year than the last. Their unified mission is to continue making music while having fun.
“Even though it’s different, it still feels like band,” Vaughn said.