By Curt Harler
The big question on everyone’s mind today is whether things will get back to something approaching normal this Fall. Certainly, the Nittany Lions and the Blue Band hope to take the field in front of enthusiastic crowds. Optimism reigns.
“Things are trending in the right direction,” says Dr. Greg Drane, Director of Athletic Bands.
There is reason to be optimistic as the Centers for Disease Control relaxes Covid-19 related restrictions and states do away with mask mandates. Shops and restaurants are standing down on requirements. Yet there are things to be ironed out.
Both the Athletics Department and the University have sets of protocols that will need to be followed. In addition, the School of Music has its own series of protocols – things like bell coverings on instruments, for example. “We will wait to see what the science says,” Dr. Drane says.
A big concern for the Blue Band is that there might be different sets of protocols issued. That said, everyone is optimistic that the Blue Band will be able to perform on the field. Meantime, the Blue Band is working with Athletics to develop virtual shows for fans who can not get to Happy Valley.
First-year Blue Band members turned in audition tapes at mid-month. There were a good number of entrants and enthusiasm is high. Returning members are jazzed, too.
“We are excited to use our new instruments,” Dr. Drane says. Marchers will be ready to step off. Thanks to new music software, students can participate in a summer curriculum with music sent directly to their devices. They now can show up at Band Camp with music memorized.
“We will redesign our marching expectations,” he adds. “We made huge strides with music last year. This year, we will emphasize and prepare for marching.”