The Pride plays on: Music continues to spread joy


Gracie Terrall, News Editor (She/her)

Fear not, although football is lacking this year, the Pride of the Dakotas band still marches on. While they may not be accompanying the football plays in the Dana J. Dykehouse stadium, the Pride still has events this year. However, things look a little different.

In order for the Pride to remain operational and still perform, they had to implement a few different measures to keep students safe.

“We have changed how we store instruments so there aren’t a bunch of students packed in to retrieve their instruments at once,” Athletic Bands Director Kevin Kessler said. “Our drill is specially written so that they are constantly six feet apart.”

Piccolos and all brass instruments—trumpet, trombone, mellophone, tuba and baritone—adorn nylon bell covers to help block the air released from them.

According to William Reynolds, senior music education student and trumpet section leader, the covers can affect how the musicians play.

“It’s been hard adjusting musically for what goes on when you put the bell cover on an instrument and how to correctly tune it,” Reynolds said.

According to Kessler though, the sound quality from an audience perspective has not changed.

Although preventative measures have been taken, for three-time drum major and senior music education major Liz Pauli, the Pride doesn’t look too different in terms of rehearsal.

“We rehearse outside and are always at least six feet apart anyways; our drill may not look as cool, but it hasn’t changed too much,” she said.

Without football halftime performances to show off their musical talents, The Pride of the Dakotas has organized other events this semester.

They will be playing their show “Women of Rock” at 8 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 26 in the Dana J. Dykehouse stadium. While tickets are limited to close family members to reduce the number of people in the stadium, the show will be live-streamed so people can tune in at home.

“Our entire livelihood is based around performing for other people and being in close proximity when performing, ” Reynolds said. “We can’t really do that anymore.”

For those that wish to see the band in action, on the first four Fridays in October, there will be live performances at the Sylvan Theatre and near the Weary Wil and Dirty Lil statues at the north end of the Union.

For these performances, the band has split up into four sections of 55 performers. With two performance locations, people can successfully social distance while watching a section of the band play.

“They’re free, they’re open to the public, so if people want to come and see, we would love to have as many people there as we can safely distanced,” Kessler said.

Despite all of the adjustments and unconventional performances, the musicians in the Pride are eager to get back to playing for an audience.

“Everyone is so happy to be making music together again,” Pauli said.