Walking across the ACU campus it is common to hear the Big Purple Marching Band practicing their well-known songs. During the COVID-19 pandemic it a curiosity as to how activities like these are happening. Big Purple has taken extensive precautions with immense success to continue playing for the ACU community.
Most notably, they have special face masks that conform to the needs of instrumentalists. Dr. Houghtalen, Associate Professor of Music, Director of Big Purple Marching Band explained these masks and several other precautions the band has been taking. He explained that these masks have overlapping layers, and the mask allows students to insert their mouthpiece into them. Dr. Houghtalen noted several other precautions the band is taking.
“We’re doing quite a bit,” he said. “Ventilation is key, all our rehearsals are outside, and we went to the stadium and we measured the distance so no one is closer than seven-and-a-half feet side to side.”
Several major aspects of the band have changed since last year as well.
“We have less rehearsal time per week. We’re not marching this year”, said Dr. Houghtalen.
However, Big Purple is still keeping tradition alive with their key songs like Grandioso and, of course, the fight song. Overall, he has been very pleased with the way the band season is going this year.
“We’re gonna grow musically; certainly we’ve done that,” he said.
He especially noted the way in which the band has done extremely well in terms of the virus and their numbers.
Similar sentiment has come from students in Big Purple and Joy Wall, senior elementary education and President of Big Purple Band from Allen, has expressed great appreciation for these measures that are being taken, and the rest of the band seems to reflect her thoughts.
“The band is definitely thankful that we have the masks; as an ensemble we’ve really embraced it,” Wall said. “You can’t be too safe. The directors have our safety as the top priority.”