Pride of Dayton: Here for each other
With community being one of the core values at the University of Dayton, being 6 feet apart has produced new challenges. For Pride of Dayton band director Kenneth Will, this kind of distance has rewritten the standards for practices and shows.
From the switch of online sectionals and socially distanced practices to virtual concerts, many changes have been made to protect the health of the students and faculty.
“We have four basic layers that we are talking about,” said Will in an interview on Zoom. “Number one is physical distancing, number two is face coverings that are worn at all times, number three are instrument covers and number four is non-contact music and drill charts.”
Students rehearsed virtually for the first few weeks of school due to COVID-19 risks.
“The students are still as driven, still as motivated,” Will said. “If all we did was play to an empty Welcome Stadium with no one in the stands, we'd still be here, we’d still do this because we're here for each other.”
First-year student Benjamin Mueller, new-member representative on the POD student leadership team team, spoke about the new-student experience.
“Being in the department of music a lot, we've wanted to meet a lot of the people there but because classes are somewhat online, like they started online, they didn't get to meet us,” said Mueller in an online interview.
Socially distanced social events allowed students to connect with and learn about their fellow band members.
“We did a popsicle social where we all got popsicles and if you had the same color popsicle you would go sit down and introduce yourself to people, and that's how we met people,” said Mueller.
As students returned to the field, the UD sense of community continued to blossom within the practices.
“We're so big on family — and we mean it, too,” said Will. “It's kind of cool to see just how well they did online for the first three weeks.”
On Saturday, Oct. 10, POD gathered together to record its next performance, the POD halftime show which will premiere 1 p.m. Saturday, Oct. 24, on YouTube. Prior to recording, Senior Chief Executive Officer and mellophone section leader Susanna Post expressed her hopes for the big day.
“We're going to try to make it like a game day for us,” said Post in an online interview. “We're going to get there, do some of our traditions before we start and then get rolling with our recording.”
Reflecting on their first virtual concert, drum leader Seth Adams, senior on the field, spoke about his pride of and excitement for the band's progress.
“We had two rehearsals to record the whole show, and that was fun, getting up there and kind of making our own stage on the field,” said Adams.
Adams expressed how proud he was of his team and his appreciation for Director Will, POD council and the leadership team.
“They've been super critical in putting everything together that we've done on the field, so shoutouts to all of them for working well, working hard — and I'm looking forward to the rest of the season,” Adams said.
Photos by Jonathan Sattler and Natalie Yersavich.