Several Mavericks will join a national music ensemble on college football’s biggest halftime stage: Halftime at the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday, Jan. 11.
Musicians and color guard members from the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) will join nearly 1,500 students from over 200 colleges and universities nationwide to take part in the Intercollegiate Marching Band (IMB). The virtual performance will premiere during halftime of the national championship game between Alabama and Ohio State. It will also be available for viewing on the IMB YouTube channel.
Joshua Kearney, DMA, Director of Athletic Bands at UNO said the initiative provides students at UNO and nationwide with the opportunity to join together to create something positive in an innovative way. “The UNO students participating in this endeavor are actively demonstrating the values of the School of Music on a national level – that music enriches lives of all people, music is a direct response to and function of the human condition, and that our students are being prepared to face the challenges of living and learning in an ever-changing world,” he said. “Our students are leaders and stewards for their city and Maverick community. I am so very proud of them.”
Lydia Kirkland, a flutist in her third year with the Marching Mavericks, said she was grateful to be able to put on her uniform once again and represent her school while doing something she loves. “Marching band is something I look forward to, and this year, due to the pandemic, we couldn’t do some of the things we would normally do,” she said. “Participating was a really fun experience that I hope I get the opportunity to do again.”
Students participating in the halftime show were asked to record themselves performing a piece of music. The recordings will be stitched together into the final show that will air during halftime of the College Football Playoff National Championship game on Monday, Jan. 11.
While many of the bands have been sidelined for the year, UNO Bands have found ways to safely keep the music playing in the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic. During the fall 2020 semester, students were able to choose whether they would like to perform in-person with other members or participate virtually. For those performing together in-person, band members wore masks with slits cut into them in order to play their instruments.
An in-person performance was designed to keep each Maverick at least ten feet apart throughout the show and instruments had bell covers to reduce the amount of aerosols escaping. Safety protocols were informed by research conducted by the College Band Directors National Association.
Patty Gadea, a tenor saxophonist also in her third year of marching, has taken part in marching in-person as well as virtually for the IMB halftime show. Learning the choreography and performing music alongside nearly 1,500 other students provided a level of excitement and comfort in the midst of a year like no other. “Most of us have felt very isolated during this pandemic, so being a part of this halftime show gave me a sense of unity,” she said. “It gives me something to look forward to when there’s so much uncertainty.”
Taking safety precautions like wearing masks maintaining social distancing seemed daunting initially, but Kirkland credited the resiliency and passion of her classmates for pressing forward. “The majority of us had an open mind to try out anything in order to continue to do exactly what we love, which is creating music,” she said.
“I am very grateful to have been given this opportunity because I get to experience my favorite activity in a new and exciting setting with hundreds of other people who have the same passion. I am looking forward to the final product!”
Fans are encouraged to sponsor a student, band, section, or director through an online fundraising page hosted by the Intercollegiate Marching Band. Funds will be used to cover the cost of the production and donors will be recognized with their name in the video release of the performance.
About the University of Nebraska at Omaha
Located in one of America’s best cities to live, work and learn, the University of Nebraska at Omaha (UNO) is Nebraska’s premier metropolitan university. With more than 15,000 students enrolled in 200-plus programs of study, UNO is recognized nationally for its online education, graduate education, military friendliness and community engagement efforts. Founded in 1908, UNO has served learners of all backgrounds for more than 100 years and is dedicated to another century of excellence both in the classroom and in the community.