EL PASO, Texas (KTSM) — The University of Texas at El Paso’s marching band is adjusting to the pandemic with some additions to their performance.
UTEP Band Director Andrew Hunter said the university looked into several studies to determine what would be the safest way for the band to return this semester.
“It would be best for the band this year to stay in the stands, socially distant, but still providing spirit,” said Hunter.
The band will only practice outdoors and all players must wear special masks that allow them to play any instrument without taking it off.
They will not be marching this semester and will only perform at home games.
“Simply the logistics of having 250, 260 students in and out of the stands in a quick amount of time are just nearly impossible without them standing a little closer together,” explained Hunter, saying that it would be expensive to transport the whole band to other states in a safe manner.
The bells on their woodwind and brass instruments are covered with a cloth that prevents more droplets spreading into the air.
Over the summer, their practices were over Zoom and now, Hunter said, this will be the solution if they cannot meet for an outdoor rehearsal.
“I miss being able to march and play a regular show, but with everything going on, this is the best that we can do and it’s really nice that we can be out here,” said David Alvarado, saxophone section leader, who was happy to be back.
The students believe the band must keep going and serve the community despite everything that has been going on.
“It also sends a message that everything is going to be okay at the end, we have music there to guide us and it helps to keep the hope alive in the city of El Paso,” said Drum Major Christopher Allen.
Hunter said he believes this is temporary and that soon enough they will be back to marching on the field.