“Since being spread out made hearing other parts more difficult, I had to rely on myself more for counting and playing difficult phrases. I think that most other musicians in the band had to become more independent in their playing, which makes us all better players,” Jordan said.
For distancing purposes, the Symphonic Band was split into two groups of about 35 each; each unit practiced once a week with Durst instead of twice and practiced one day a week individually. The smaller Jazz Orchestra continued to practice twice a week as a group.
Practices were in the Great Hall of the Memorial Student Center instead of their Applied Arts rehearsal room, which would have held just 25 musicians under COVID restrictions.
Along with university guidelines, Durst followed COVID research and recommendations for musicians from the universities of Colorado and Maryland commissioned by the National Federation of State High School Associations, the College Band Directors National Association and a coalition of more than 125 performing arts organizations.
The band, with the support of MSC staff, will continue to use the Great Hall to practice during the spring semester.
Commencement included the recorded singing of “Alma Mater” by the university’s Chamber Choir, directed by Jerry Hui. Although rehearsals were different, choir activities also continued through the fall semester, proving that nothing can stop the music.
Music is part of performing arts options for students at UW-Stout.