On Wednesday, Sept. 9, Albion’s British Eighth Marching Band got together on the quad to kick off the Albion College music departments’ series of concerts that are held each semester.
“It feels odd to not be marching on the field when performing shows this year, especially for songs we have done in the past,” said Elizabeth Stout, a junior from Kalamazoo, Mich., via email. “Looking out over campus instead and watching classmates walk across feels very different and is a reminder of how everything can change.”
In accordance with COVID-19 restrictions, the concert was only open to the first 100 people to arrive. Those that couldn’t make it in-person were able to live-stream the concert. The livestream also allowed those off campus who couldn’t make the concert due to COVID-19 restrictions, such as community members and parents, the opportunity to view it live right from home.
The theme of the concert was movie tunes, and the British Eighth Marching Band played a variety of famous songs, including “Pinball Wizard,” from the movie Tommy; “Respect” by Arethra Franklin; “It’s a Wonderful Life,” from the movie It’s a Wonderful Life; “A Whole New World,” from the movie Aladdin; and Albion College’s own fight song “Fyte Onne.”
New Guidelines Due to COVID-19
Due to Albion College COVID-19 regulations, the British Eighth Marching Band has been practicing outside while maintaining social distance and wearing masks whenever they aren’t playing.
“In the marching band specifically, we practice in a block formation where we are all placed six feet apart, and we perform in a similar formation too,” said Noah Keck, a sophomore from Frisco, Texas, via email. “The only time we take off our masks is when we start playing, otherwise, we keep them on while listening to instructions or announcements. We have also been going into sectionals a great deal more because that splits the band up into smaller groups of instruments to practice.”
Changes to the Season
Without football games, the marching band is able to focus more on the music this semester.
“It’s a different band for a different purpose this year,” said Keck. “Without the football games to perform at, we opted to just learn as much music as we can and have just as many performances playing those pieces. That means we don’t focus on learning how to march in unison and instead of time spent learning drills, we learn more music.”
In this time of uncertainty, many organizations on campus aren’t able to meet in person, unlike the British Eighth Marching Band.
“I believe people are excited to be in marching band this year despite not marching,” said Kaitlyn Darling, a sophomore from Trenton, Mich., via email. “Band is still a close and tightly-knit community that feels like family to many of us. I think it helps ground everyone during the pandemic.”