Furman’s marching band was hoping to be back on the field this fall, but with COVID-19’s disruption of daily life, the Paladin Regiment has been forced to rethink its plans.
Furman’s marching band, the Paladin Regiment, was hoping to be back on the field performing at football games this fall, but with COVID-19’s disruption of daily life and the Southern Conference’s postponement of fall sports, the band has had to rethink plans for both on the field and at practice.
Following fall football’s cancellation, members of the Paladin Regiment had the opportunity to vote on how they wanted to perform this semester. The group considered a number of ideas. One option was for mini “pop-up” bands to play in a flash-mob fashion at various places on campus, while another involved splitting the band in two and having a more theatrical, pop-based production in McAlister Auditorium. In the end, the Paladin Regiment decided to choreograph and practice a field show as they normally would, knowing that they may not be able to have an audience.
Sophomore baritone player Lauren Pollino shared some insight as to why many band members voted for the field show, stating, “Field shows have some of the best performance aspects, and it is important that freshmen have the opportunity to learn our traditions as they join the program. We also want to be prepared for half-time shows if football resumes for the winter or spring.” Drum major Jake Henjes explains that for him and other seniors, a field show “offers one last bit of normalcy” in this time of uncertainty and change.
When it comes to rehearsals, the band is doing its best to be productive while still following all the safety guidelines Furman has in place. For now, students are practicing beneath a large tent in front of the art building, which provides enough room for those on campus to rehearse six feet apart. The musicians must wear masks at all times, except for those with wind instruments, who can take their face coverings off only when it is their turn to play. A shipment of specially designed face masks that will allow those students to keep their mouth and nose covered while playing should arrive at Furman soon.
Sophomores and juniors in the Paladin Regiment are attending rehearsal virtually via Zoom. With their computers muted, home-bound students can play along with their bandmates and still participate as part of the group. As many have experienced in classrooms and extracurriculars, there has been a learning curve associated with Zoom, but the Paladin Regiment remains optimistic. Jake Henjes shared that “the band's last rehearsal has been the best one so far.” In keeping with this optimism, senior clarinet player CiGi Curry explained, “While the situation isn’t ideal, as a music education major, it’s been a good experience to see different ways of adapting to these new challenges.”
With the band's positive outlook in spite of the obstacles COVID-19 has put in their path, it is fitting that this year's performance theme is “Don’t Stop,” featuring popular songs including “Don’t Stop Believing,” “Don’t Stop Me Now,” “Please Don’t Stop the Music,” and “Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow.” At this point the band does not know if they will get to perform these songs for an audience. As of now, they are hoping to have their usual fall Band Extravaganza sometime in October at the amphitheater and to also open the stadium to a safe number of Furman community members to enjoy their field show. However, nothing is definitively planned. Regardless of what the semester has in store, Lauren Pollino promises that “The Paladin Regiment is not going away.”