Penn State University
ALUMNI Blue Band ASSOCIATION

Homecoming Information

Fellow Alumni Blue Band Members,

One of the things that makes this group special is the number of shared experiences that we have. From our undergraduate days, the tunnel entrance, playing Lion Special on the field after a win, or the fantastic bowl games that we have attended all hold a special place in our collective memory. More recently, for many of us, these experiences include running out onto the field and marching pre-game as part of the Alumni Band or singing The Nittany Lion with the Blue Band. Last year was difficult for many reasons, not the least of which was missing out on these shared experiences. Yes, there were alternative virtual events, but they did not and could not capture the feeling of being on the turf in Beaver Stadium or playing and marching down College Avenue on Friday night in the Homecoming Parade.

It has been our hope that the Alumni Band experience this year would be a return to all the events we have enjoyed in the past. However, the emergence of the Delta variant and the current levels of transmission have made a completely traditional Homecoming experience impossible. That said, while many of the events we have enjoyed are still possible, there will need to be some changes and restrictions in place. Our desire is to provide our members with an experience that, while different, will capture the joy and excitement our membership deserves. Therefore, we are planning an in-person Homecoming, with restrictions in place to mitigate as best we can any risks to our members and their families.  Please keep in mind that the plans we are sharing have been made based on the information currently available and might change rapidly, as changes occur in the environment surrounding the virus. The restrictions are not negotiable, and every performer is expected to abide by these procedures. These have been put in place based on available data regarding the virus, and consultations with the College of Arts and Architecture, the Penn State Alumni Association, the leadership of the Penn State Blue Band, and the College Band Director’s National Association, and are similar to what is being done at other Big 10 schools. The Alumni Blue Band Board of Directors met to discuss these restrictions, and unanimously support them.

Our plan is for Homecoming registration to begin on September 7, and close on September 24. This will give our volunteers enough time to plan and purchase any additional supplies necessary. Additionally, waiting a little longer to begin registration will allow us to monitor conditions as the students return to campus. Here is an outline of the weekend and the restrictions and changes that will be in place for us:

Friday, October 22nd

  • The current plan for the Ice Cream Social at Hintz Hall is for the Alumni Band pep band to perform outside. Similar to the parade, as this takes place outside and we can use appropriate social distancing measures, there are no other restrictions in place.
  • The Homecoming parade will be managed like past parades and have no COVID related restrictions at this time.  As the event occurs completely outside and we are well spaced typically, there are no other restrictions anticipated for parade.  There will not be transportation provided for anyone post-parade.  The traditional post-parade reception will not be taking place.
  • Individuals who need to borrow instruments will still be able to get them at the Blue Band Building (ORBBBB). No one will be allowed in the building except our volunteers; the volunteers will bring the instrument out to the performer.

Saturday, October 23rd

  • All participants in Saturday’s events (Holuba Hall rehearsal and Beaver Stadium performance) must show either proof of a full vaccination or have a negative COVID test within 48 hours of that rehearsal.
  • All participants will be provided a copy of the University’s standard risk acknowledgement statement in advance of the event.  All participants will be expected to sign and provide that acknowledgement for entry to the rehearsal. This acknowledgement specifies that the participant assumes all risk associated with participating in events on campus and agree to comply with all University policies.
  • Rehearsal at Holuba Hall will be closed to everyone except the participants. No other family or friends will be allowed to enter the facility, to include non-participating ABBA members.  Face coverings will be required at all times (except while playing) during rehearsal. We are exploring the cost of bell covers for all instruments, as that might be an additional requirement for the rehearsal and for performing in the stands.  There will be no box lunches provided after rehearsal.
  • For performers who only need instruments on Saturday, the instruments will be made available at Holuba Hall. Again, no one will be allowed in the Blue Band Building other than our volunteers.
  • All drill charts and music will be picked up at Holuba Hall.
  • At this time, we are planning a field performance in Beaver Stadium.  However, the nature of that performance is still very much up in the air.  Difficulties include staging the band in advance of entering the field for the performance and complying with spacing requirements.
  • In the stands, we will be required to maintain adequate spacing between participants. Therefore, only performing members will be allowed within our section.

All performers are expected to abide by these restrictions at all times, and these restrictions will be monitored and enforced for compliance.  Failure to comply may result in an individual being barred from Holuba Hall, the Beaver Stadium performance and/or barred from participating in Homecoming events in the future. Homecoming fees will not be reimbursed for individuals who do not comply with these procedures, including those who fail to provide evidence of being fully vaccinated or a negative COVID test and a signed acknowledgement of risk.

As noted above, this plan is based upon current conditions and health and safety requirements.  At any time leading up to the Homecoming Weekend further restrictions may be dictated to us by the University, Pennsylvania Department of Health, Centre County government, etc. that could modify or cancel our planned activities.  Should these restrictions result in us not being allowed into the stadium, all Homecoming fees would be refunded. This does not include a situation where we are just not allowed on the field (as in a rainy day).

As a board, we recognize that these measures may be difficult and change the overall experience of our traditional Homecoming activities. Each member will need to assess their willingness to comply, and measure this against the inherent risks. If an individual cannot or is not willing to meet these expectations, or believes the risk is not worth the experience, this would be a good year to take a break from performing with the Alumni Band. We will welcome you back in future years. We are still planning virtual events to take place during the week as well. The Virtual 5K will be launching soon, we are exploring another evening of virtual trivia, and members of the Alumni Board will be on the Football Letter Live the Thursday before the Homecoming game. There are also other opportunities for individuals to financially contribute to the Blue Band if they choose to do so.

Our hope will be that we can get this year behind us, and next year offer the traditional Homecoming experience our members expect and deserve. We hope to see many of you this fall, and for those of you who choose not to participate, we will see you in the future. Take care and stay safe.

If there are questions or comments regarding this communication, please send them to homecoming@psualumnibands.org

For the Glory,

Randy Seely

President, Penn State Alumni Blue Band Association

Penn State Alumni Blue Band Association

101 Blue Band Building

University Park, PA 16802

membership@psualumnibands.org

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