The show must go on: The Carolina Band getting ready for 100th season entertaining Gamecock fans

Social distancing and mask-wearing will be some aspects the band will adhere to this fall

COLUMBIA, S.C. (WOLO) — As the Gamecocks gear up to get back on the gridiron Saturday, another game day fixture will be back as well: the Carolina Band.

However, the COVID-19 pandemic has brought some changes to the band, but it won’t mute the Mighty Sound of the Southeast from making some music this fall.

For the last hundred years, the Carolina Band has been filling Gamecock home games with a thundering sound that fires up the crowd.

But even in the middle of a pandemic, the show must go on, and with that, comes a new part of the garnet and white uniform: a mask for every member.

“When the wind instruments are playing, obviously they are unmasked, but as soon as we stop playing, the masks go right back up. If we’re just marching or doing some visual aspect of what we do, the masks stay on,” said Dr. Jay Jacobs, the Director of the Carolina Band.

When the band gets ready to play at Williams Brice Stadium, fans may notice that the band might look a little smaller.

To help with social distancing, the 300-member band has been split up into two groups that will play at different parts of the game.

“Those have equal amounts of students, equal amounts of sections, and so we put people in those bands based on people who are roommates together, and just to prevent as much transmission between the groups as possible,” said Kelley Powell, a senior Drum Major for The Carolina Band.

Much like their football-playing counterparts, the Mighty Sound of the Southeast will only play in front of 20,000 fans per game this year, but they say they won’t let the size of the crowd bring them down.

“I think that’ll just inspire us to work harder in the stands, if that’s possible, and I think everyone in the crowd will have a better view and acoustic experience of the band,” Dr. Jacobs said.

Band members said they were anxious to get back to Williams Brice Stadium this fall, saying they are eager to bring their thunderous sound back this fall.

“We’re hoping the band is going to bring the excitement and energy that we always do at Williams Brice Stadium, and we’re excited to see the Gamecocks play football again,” said Micaela Dixon, a senior mellophone section leader for The Carolina Band.

The band will kick off their 100th season as the Gamecocks battle the Tennessee Volunteers on Saturday at 7:30 at Williams Brice Stadium.

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