Hawkeye marching band members cut from Big Ten game day festivities

The Big Ten will not allow marching bands to perform in stadiums for the 2020 season as part of their COVID-19 guidelines.


Photo of UI Marching Band practice. Contributed.

Will Fineman, Sports Reporter

When the Big Ten Conference announced the return of football earlier this month, it was clear this season would be unlike any other. The conference’s most recent announcement has only increased its distinctiveness.

The Hawkeye Marching Band, along with its counterparts around the Big Ten, received word on Sept. 24 they would not be allowed in the stadium to perform.

“[Hawkeye Marching Band Director] Dr. [Eric] Bush got word from [Athletic Director Gary Barta] that we would not be allowed in the games based off of Big Ten ruling,” said junior trumpet section leader Brandon Burkhardt. “He sat us down and tried to make it as personal as possible and said that the university was on board but based off of Big Ten guidelines, we would not be allowed in the stadium this year.”

The Big Ten hasn’t made a formal announcement, however marching bands and spirit squads across the conference received the news individually.

Burkhardt said this was an announcement he and the other members of the marching band expected to hear, but each still have a small amount of hope the decision will be revisited.

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“We have been working pretty hard to be able to perform, and we were hoping for that since the beginning of the season,” Burkhardt said. “There is still a small chance that they will reassess the situation and change their minds, so we are still hopeful for that.”

For senior band members, this decision confirms that last fall will be the last time they perform at Kinnick Stadium.

“It was really sad for me because I didn’t realize that being in my uniform six months ago was the last time that I would ever be in the uniform again,” said Max Halverson, a senior trumpet player and undergraduate staff member for the section.

For the freshmen, playing in front of Iowa football fans will have to wait at least another year.

“We have one of the best groups of freshmen that I have met in my time in the marching band,” Burkhardt said. “They are very excited for the chance to have a normal football game sometime in the future, and if that is not going to be this year, then they are going to keep working hard and planning for the year that does come back.”

Members of the 140th Hawkeye Marching Band expressed understanding for the health and safety reasoning behind their removal.

The unmatched feeling of performing under the bright lights of Kinnick Stadium will be more than missed, however.

“I can’t really put it into words because as a member of the drumline, we start the game day off in the endzone before pregame,” said Logan Newhouse, a second-year member of the Hawkeye Marching Band. “We run onto the field and at that point in time you have 70,000 fans screaming, and it is just the biggest adrenaline rush I have felt in my life.”

The marching band has practiced Tuesday through Friday for two hours a day in preparation for the football season.

While it will no longer perform during halftime, the band will release virtual halftime shows in which it will play music that it would have otherwise played during halftime at an Iowa football game.

“At the end of the day, we are all there because we like playing music and being together,” Newhouse said. “It’s still all about the music because if we were just in the band to go to the football games, we would buy the student ticket.”

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