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UPDATE: UO Marching Band put on "pause" after COVID outbreak

UPDATE: Oct. 15, 2021: The UO Marching Band has been put on "pause" by the University with consultation with Lane County Public Health. According to a statement from the UO, 14 members of the marching band have tested positive for COVID-19. 

Here is a statement from the University of Oregon:

Out of an abundance of caution, the University of Oregon is pausing all UO Marching Band activities including practices, performances, and other related activities after several members of the UO marching band tested positive for COVID-19.


The decision to pause band activities was made in consultation with Lane County Public Health. A total of 14 UO marching band community members tested positive. Those individuals are required to isolate. Marching band activities will remain paused through at least next week.


We will not be providing any additional information to protect the privacy of those involved.


ORIGINAL STORY: Because of COVID-19, the University of Oregon Athletic band hasn’t performed on a football field since the Rose Bowl in January 2020. Now, they have permission from Lane County Public Health to do pregame and halftime shows at Autzen stadium Friday night when the Ducks play Cal. 




Imagine being in a marching band and meeting on Zoom. That’s how it was last year. Eric Wiltshire is band director and Associate Professor of music at the UO. He said they’ve been practicing in person again this term and playing in the stands during Ducks games.

Credit Steven Burroughs


“They’re just excited to be back at it. Their work ethic is incredible right now,” Wiltshire said. “Every rehearsal they’re excited for whatever it is we’re able to do.” 

Wiltshire described the athletic band as a soundtrack for Ducks sports. He said it completes the collegiate experience.

“So, if you’re watching the football game, even on TV, you should hear the band in the background and know what’s happening in the game even if you’re not paying close attention because we’re right there,” Wiltshire said. “So you know when it’s a first down. You know when there was a big play. You know what was happening.” 

To comply with pandemic protocol, the band will run out onto the field at Autzen Stadium from the east tunnel. That’s something they haven’t done for nearly 10 years.

“ I think the students are going to have a blast with it,” Wiltshire said. “It’s going to be a lot of fun. It’s going to generate some good excitement and it’s not something we’ve done like I said since 2012.”

You can catch the UO marching band Friday night at Autzen and listen for them at the Ducks Volleyball and basketball games.

Copyright 2021 KLCC. 


Rachael McDonald is KLCC’s host for All Things Considered on weekday afternoons. She also is the editor of the KLCC Extra, the daily digital newspaper. Rachael has a BA in English from the University of Oregon. She started out in public radio as a newsroom volunteer at KLCC in 2000.
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