NewsCovering Kentucky


University of Kentucky marching band uses special masks to practice during pandemic

Posted at 11:06 PM, Aug 26, 2020
and last updated 2020-08-26 23:37:55-04

LEXINGTON, Ky. (LEX 18) — Every member of the University of Kentucky Wildcat Marching Band is now required to wear a mask during practice, even while playing an instrument.

It's not a problem for drummers, but band members who play instruments like the clarinet or the trumpet need special masks that allow them to play while covering their faces.

The masks have slits that fit the mouthpiece of an instrument.

"The mask seals tightly around the mouthpiece so nothing can exit through that seal," said Marching Band Director Cody Birdwell.

The band has also provided bell covers for instruments and is enforcing distancing rules.

The changes took a while to get used to, said Katie De Witt, a junior at the University of Kentucky.

"We're all willing to deal with the masks and deal with all the changes because it allows us to be here and it allows us to do band," she said.

Still, much about their fall season is unknown, said Birdwell, who isn't sure if the marching band will have the chance to perform at a half-time in Kroger Field this year.

But the band has done pop-up outdoor performances around campus, and Birdwell said they'll continue to perform in any way they can.

"We will be able to show people years from now what the Wildcat Marching Band did during the pandemic of 2020 even though it might not be in Kroger Field under the lights," he said.