The entire Pride of the South band played together for the first time this year on Thursday, Nov. 5 in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium for what will be the band’s only on-field performance this season. Because of SEC and CDC restrictions, the fall schedule for the marching band season vastly changed, forcing the band to split with some members playing home games and others playing away games.
Music department guidelines only allow half of the marching band members in the stands on game days. Both groups learned performance pieces from the bands Queen and Earth, Wind and Fire to come together for their performance in the Grove Show. The Rebelettes also performed, and seniors from the groups were honored.
“Our students work very hard, and public performances serve as a reward for all of that time and effort. For our senior members, it was extremely important to at least try to get them on the field in Vaught-Hemingway Stadium one last time,” Randy Dale, director of athletic bands said in a statement.
The music department has faced many challenges since COVID-19 is primarily transmitted through aerosols, and the band as well as spectators were required to follow all CDC guidelines.
While the department has faced challenges as a whole, Nancy Balach, interim chair for the music department said the lack of an audience has been the most difficult part.
“That’s why tonight was so important. We’re going to feel the connection between the performance and the audience again,” Balach said.
Balach agrees with the decision that the SEC made in August to restrict bands during football games. However, since the stadium was not filled to gameday capacity on Thursday evening, the entire band was able to play together.
“We’re the only ones in the SEC, maybe in the nation, that’s giving students that opportunity to do this tonight,” Balach said.
Balach credits Dale and his ability to communicate with the athletic department for making the event happen. While the night celebrated the work of the band, she also believes it is a celebration of the students.
Chancellor Glenn Boyce and Provost Noel Wilkin were in attendance, and Wilkin has expressed his praise for how well the department has adjusted to the pandemic.
“The Department of Music has gone to great lengths to do everything they can to keep our students’ degrees on track during the pandemic. Music has faced challenges that go beyond just the classroom setting,” Wilkin said in a statement.