UC marching band rehearses ahead of pandemic debut at Nippert Stadium

UC marching band able to rehearse but not marching right now

CINCINNATI (FOX19) - The University of Cincinnati marching band isn’t doing much marching these days thanks to COVID-19, but its musicians are able to practice with some pandemic precautions in place.

That’s music to Christopher Nichter’s ears.

Nichter is director of bands at UC. He says he doesn’t take for granted that he and his band are able to gather in person to rehearse, because that’s not the case for many other college bands.

“We’ve been given a significant amount of funding to by all of the things necessary to have live bands,” Nichter explained. “From putting bell covers on brass instruments to making sure that we have a way for students on brass instruments to empty their water safely to making sure we have cleaning supplies so that after every rehearsal all the instruments can be flushed out.”

The band practiced early Wednesday evening with safe social distancing. When not playing, the students wore masks. More, Nichter says the band is often split into sections to prevent all 230 musicians from being in one spot at any given time.

“As I have told the students, I don’t think everything that is going to come out of the pandemic is bad,” he said. “We are going to learn how to do something better, like clean our instruments. It’s just everything is slowed and a little more oriented in terms of how we do things.”

The students aren’t able to march, but they are able to play in the stands at football games, and that’s what Nichter says his band is rehearsing for.

“We’ve been told by some of our students this is the only thing they are doing where they regularly engage with other live people other than doing their online classes, so it’s about the music and it’s about the humanizing experience to bring everybody together," he said.

The band will be split into three sections when they return to Nippert Stadium for the home opener against Austin Peay on Sept. 19.

For the first game only senior band members and upperclassmen will get to play. It’s unclear what the rest of the season will hold.

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