In the face of safety challenges brought by COVID-19, director Christian Carichner is confident in the ISU Cyclone Football “Varsity” Marching Band's ability to adapt and is using it as an opportunity to branch out into new avenues for the program.
The public got a chance to see some new pieces of safety equipment the marching band has been wielding on their instruments at last week’s game against Louisiana.
While following Iowa State’s lead on coronavirus safety measures, the marching band adapted in a new way after a study was conducted on the ability for aerosols to transmit COVID-19.
Based on the recommendations from the National Federation of State High Schools Association, Iowa State’s marching band added MERV 13 bell covers to their instruments and distributed special masks made for limiting the number of aerosol droplets being spread by band members playing their instruments.
Special equipment is not the marching band’s only tool to keep their members safe. With distancing between members at 7.5 feet, they well exceed the recommended minimum distance requirements. The band also did not take the field and, ironically, did not march, but they instead played in the east stands at Jack Trice Stadium.
Carichner said to conquer the lack of an audience and keep spirits high, the band drastically increased playing time.
“We played every single down. We played every single timeout," Carichner said. "We played all of halftime, all of the pregame and an extended pregame show. I mean, we probably played two or three games of music."
While some portions of academia have been blasé in responsibilities, the marching band has not let up. With a detailed schedule down to the minute, the practices are more intense than ever, given the new circumstances.
Brandon Gloeckner, senior in industrial technology and clarinet player in the marching band, remains as hopeful as ever and relishes at being able to capture some sense of normalcy by continuing to do something he loves.
“I think we are all in good spirits,” Gloeckner said. “The feeling of "it could be a lot worse" is pretty common, so we are just happy that we get to do anything.”