Band Marches on with Virtual Competition


Photo by Meah Copeland

Written by Meah Copeland, Reporter

 Although many fall sports have been postponed, the Marching Mules have continued practicing and are about to virtually compete. In the summer, the band was practicing online and had multiple training sessions. They had Green Dot training, diversity training from professors, guest speakers and invited clinicians to come in and help with the relationship of the band. They have also been preparing for the Festival of Champions.

  The Festival of Champions is held once a year on Oct. 17, where high school marching bands get together and compete. The Marching Mules will be performing some songs for the awards ceremony. This year, it will be held virtually and the bands will play at their home stadiums. The judges watch the bands, critique their performance and give them advice on how to improve. The Marching Mules have been using a program called Soundtrap. They would take their sections and make sure that it lines up with the rest of the band. The sound and quality of the music is improved by using this program. Since the pandemic started, the University of Central Missouri was the first college to consider holding the event online, according to Julia Baumanis, the director of athletic bands. 

   Currently, there are about 100 high school marching bands signed up. This is the first time where high school marching bands were interested because it is being held online and across the world. 

  “I think that this is pioneering an entire movement, and we’re reaching out to people all over the world,” junior Jordan White said. “I think that it’s amazing that we can reach this many people. It also gives senior students to get the full experience, and there will be special senior recognitions. It will be a year to remember.” 

  After the competition is finished, there will be an awards ceremony held virtually. During commercials, they will have a musical minute with the band, different sponsors advertised, some professors will play music and the marching band will perform. The competition theme for UCM is movie music that empowers.

  “It’s going to be the first of its kind, and I think regardless of how it goes, it will be a good educational experience,” Tim Cambell, a junior instrumental music education major, said. 

  Baumanis said the Marching Mules will play “The Greatest Show” from The Greatest Showman because people are important, no matter what they look like or who they are. Another selection is “Ain’t No Mountain High Enough” by Marvin Gaye, who was a civil rights activist, because no matter what a person needs, someone will be there.The final song is the theme from The Avengers, which will be performed in honor of Black Panther actor Chadwick Boseman, who recently died. They will honor Boseman’s life and what he believed was right for our country. The students are coming up with some visuals and are considering the Wakanda Forever symbol. The Avengers are a team that promotes justice, power and protection.

  “By going virtually, we are giving them an opportunity and giving them something to look forward to because I feel like that’s a big fear for musicians right now. We don’t have anything to look forward to because it is not safe to be together in large groups. I think that this is a safe way to reach 12,000 people or more,” Baumanis said. 

  After the Festival of Champions, the marching band will begin a new project of recording the UCM fight song and other traditional school songs to put online.