Photo courtesy of Flickr
This semester will not include a black national anthem being played at a home football game or a half-time show presented by the Blue and Gold Marching Machine because of COVID-19.
Like N.C. A&T football and all fall sports in the MEAC, the Blue and Gold Marching Machine will not be performing in crowds this semester.
Kenneth Ruff, the band director, and his staff members were able to allow 220 members of the marching band to begin practice a week after classes started on Aug. 19th.
The band has implemented many guidelines to keep the staff and students safe. As seen on Instagram, the band members are playing inside its Band Center with masks on, while behind a plastic shield, six feet apart from one another and constantly cleaning their areas and equipment.
To see more of the band’s social distancing procedures check out their Instagram page:
“You come in, you don’t socialize, you wipe down the chair, wipe down your stand, get your instrument out, get ready to play,” Ruff said to the News and Record.
The Blue and Gold Marching Machine has been split into smaller groups and they practice according to the group they are in. Some groups practice on Mondays and Wednesdays and others practice on Tuesdays and Thursdays.
“If there are 200 people playing in the band room and Johnny misses a note, I might not hear that note,” Ruff said in an interview with the News and Record. “But in a smaller group, I’ll hear that note […] I’m hoping after the semester that they will become better musicians.”
The Golden Delight Auxiliary and the Cold Steel drumline have their own areas to practice and they are split up into groups, as well, to ensure the safety of the students.
Once a week the band tries to implement a socially distanced full group practice so that they can record the music that they have been practicing.
Everyone surrounding the band is hopeful that next semester will be better in order for them to participate in events, such as competitions since they are missing the battle of the bands in the fall semester.
The band’s goal is to keep producing music that makes people happy and to be creative. In order to do this, they have been utilizing their youtube channel, BGMM Media.
One project that the band is releasing soon is a short film called, “Emotional Lockdown: A Visual Movie Short,” and the trailer is shown on their Instagram page, where it appears to be highlighting the Golden Delight Auxiliary dancers.
The band may possibly be a part of a few virtual band competitions or host a virtual concert, but that is still not solidified.
In the spring, the band program usually shifts to concert series, but that all depends on the coronavirus.
We tried to reach out to the band department to comment on their precautions during the pandemic and they did not respond to requests for an interview.
To keep up to date with the Blue and Gold Marching Machine check out their Instagram page @b_gmm and their Youtube channel @BGMM Media.