2019 Parade of Bands. (Hannah Witteman)
2019 Parade of Bands.

Hannah Witteman

AU marching band finds a way to perform despite the coronavirus pandemic

October 12, 2020

The coronavirus pandemic has enforced many changes to Ashland University to make sure students and staff are safe, including clubs and sports like the marching band. 

Unlike normal practices, the marching band has had to change by maintaining social distancing and wearing special masks while playing. 

“The marching band specifically has been all outside. All of our rehearsals have been outside and they actually have special masks that we had made for them that have little flaps on them so they can still be masked when playing their instruments,” Director of bands, Joe Lewis said. 

Not only do the students wear special masks, but they are also spread out more when practicing.

“We are more spaced out in the stands and our drills are more simple. We’re six feet apart which is like four steps so we’re making sure we are at proper distances and no one is closely touching each other,” Senior trombonist Chante Rutherford said. 

The pandemic has not only changed the way the practice, but also has forced Lewis to cancel upcoming shows for the band to perform at this semester.

The biggest event that had to be cancelled was the band festival that was supposed to be held on Oct. 10. With seven schools lined up to perform, Ashland county went from yellow to red in the COVID spread.

“As we got closer to it [Band Festival], Ashland County went from yellow to red and unfortunately that was kinda of the nail in the coffin so to speak and we had to pull the plug on it” Lewis said. 

Even though there had been many changes with cancelations and new regulations, the marching band plans to have one event via video for people. 

“We do have a show prepared, we are going to record it tomorrow [Oct. 10] and just spend a little time building web content” Lewis said, “That way it gives something for students to focus on and shoot for even though we don’t have any games this year.”

With the regulations of AU and marching band, students are still excited to be back and have a somewhat normal life. 

“Coming back even in a pandemic with all the rules and regulations in place, I feel safe and there are still people out there who are like doing their own thing but I’m just glad to be back,” Rutherford said. 

Lewis has also seen this side of students being excited to be able to come together and play.

“From a practical standpoint they’re doing okay. I mean they’re dealing with the mask thing and the distancing thing. I think they’re happy to get together and play at all and to somewhat have a season” Lewis said.

Unfortunately, this year’s season for the marching band has not been at all of what anyone could expect, but Lewis is excited for the days after COVID.

“I’m excited to get back to normal. To have a marching band that functions as it should. Getting everyone together, playing football games, traveling, doing concerts here, getting community band back together” Lewis said.

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