Fine Arts- BMB

Bearcat Marching Band member Claire Smith runs with fellow band members during Freshman Convocation Aug. 27, a welcoming ceremony for the class of 2025. With new protocols, band members are not required to wear masks outside while playing, only inside with specialized masks meant for playing. 

With the 2021 fall semester in session, Northwest will begin to see its own performers doing what they do best. Social distancing has disappeared for audiences while masks will still be required by audiences and performers. 

There are COVID-19 guidelines, such as face coverings, these departments will have to follow. Katheryn Bilbo, an associate professor and artistic director of the theatre department, has been working tirelessly to adhere to Northwest COVID-19 guidelines.

“Students and faculty are required to wear masks for both rehearsals and performances,” Bilbo said. “This year, there are no social distancing requirements for the actors and the audience.”

The theatre department also has to comply with the campus’s guidelines for hosting performances. People will have to submit a form with the specific dates, times and number of attendees before it can get approved. After the University reviews and approves it, the performance is allowed to proceed.

The Ron Houston Center for the Performing Arts is available for full capacity for theatrical productions. 

Last year, only a small number of attendees were invited to performances of the plays, with virtual options for those not in-person, but this year, all Northwest students and the public are able to attend the plays. The theatre department has a list of all theatrical productions available at the Northwest website on the performing arts page.

With help from the mass media department, the theatre department avoided a significant lapse in productions. It was able to film and livestream the plays last year.  

Bilbo is ready for this year’s theatre department to get back out on stage. 

“I’m very excited as we look forward to another productive year; this time with full audiences and the ability to create theatre with fewer difficulties,” Bilbo said. 

The marching band also has similar guidelines to maintain this year. While indoors, members are required to wear special designed masks, which were provided to every Bearcat Marching Band member. The new masks include a small sewn area for them to have easy access to their instruments. While performing outside, BMB members are not required to wear masks but will have social distancing measures between each member to ensure their safety.

Senior drumline Bearcat Marching Band member Ali Stevens is excited about the upcoming football season and being able to march again.

“It has been over 600 days since I’ve been on the football field in front of fans, to say I miss that feeling is such an understatement,” Stevens said. “I am thrilled to have the opportunity to perform and entertain this year, especially since it’s my last semester. The feeling of playing a halftime show with my band family is such a one-of-a-kind, exhilarating experience. I’m beyond excited to get back out there and do what I love to do.”

With Bearcat Stadium set to be seated at full capacity this upcoming football season, Bearcat fans are excited to see our top tier marching band performing again.

Northwest Missouri State University has shown strength over this past year and a half, but students are ready to enjoy the traditions they have missed.

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