Marching into action, the band is back

By: Sofia Becherer, Contributing Writer and
Alisha Hancock, Assistant Editor
Photo by Cody Campbell/ The Towerlight

After a year of attending practices over Zoom and being unable to play together in person, the Towson University Marching Band (TUMB) has returned with in-person performances for the Fall 2021 semester. 

During the Fall 2020 semester, the TUMB was faced with the task of adjusting to life online and hosting rehearsals through Zoom. For the entirety of that semester the band was not able to play in person at all.

Multiple band members could not be heard at the same time, so every member of the band would play their instruments with their microphones muted.

According to TU senior band member Stephanie Prem, the band worked hard to create spaces outside of rehearsals for the members of the band to come together and get to know one another during the virtual semesters. 

“We had no performances to work towards because of COVID[-19] so it was difficult to keep our usual positive moral,” Prem said.

During the Spring 2021 semester, TUMB was given a few opportunities to play in person with regulations, including wearing masks and keeping bell covers on instruments. The band was able to rehearse in person and play together at lacrosse games. 

In addition, some of the drumline was able to perform at TU’s graduation ceremony. They were rehearsed inside the Center for the Arts, as well as outside on TU’s campus in small groups. 

Despite being back in person, TUMB is still feeling the effects COVID-19.  

“The most physical, visible impact on the marching band from the pandemic is the size of the marching band and the inexperience of the band,” TUMB Band Director John Miliauskas said. 

As a result of COVID-19, TU’s marching band has lost about 90 members, or, a third of the band. 

“Our main purpose was to try to keep the community together and keep the marching band moving,” Miliauskas said. 

This semester, the marching band is fully back to in-person performances.

“I was and still am so excited,” Prem said. “I am finally able to play with all my friends and make new friends. I am a music minor so I really missed playing in an ensemble and was ready to jump back in!” 

Looking back on team bonding experiences, TU junior Anna Fuhrman recalls members finding ways to spend time together. 

“It definitely wasn’t the same,” Fuhrman said. “Marching band is all about performing and getting to play for an audience, so not having that and not even getting to play and march in the same place together made it hard, but we focused on just trying to keep our traditions going and bonding as a group and we definitely did a great job of that.”

Coming back to in-person activities has also fostered some nerves, according to drumline freshman Daniel Czyz. 

“The fear was that after, of course, COVID-19 and all happening, it’s like jumping back from a virtual season,” Czyz said. “What would we do going back into it? Luckily that fear was resolved when I learned that we were just doing exactly what we would have done in a normal season.” 

TUMB members say they are excited for this semester’s performances.

“I get charged up by the students and the energy of the students,” said Miliauskas. “So it’s been great to do things in person again.”
Aside from home football games, TUMB will be performing at the Collegiate Marching Band Festival in Allentown, PA on Oct. 3. The band will also be hosting the Maryland State marching band championships for Maryland high school marching bands on Oct. 23.

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