UWL’s Screaming Eagles band to transpose COVID’s sour notes into sweet music

Screaming Eagles
It will be a while untile the UWL Screaming Eagles Marching Band will be able to perform together as a 165-member unit, but practicing in pods of 50 will have to do until then. (UWL website)

LA CROSSE, Wis. (WKBT) — COVID-19 forced cancellation of the football season for the University of Wisconsin-La Crosse Eagles, but the UWL Screaming Eagles Marching Band promises a note-able season of its own.
Band members will attend a shorter camp this week when they return to campus. But they will be tuning up and getting into marching shape for several virtual performances.
The Screaming Eagles plan to participate virtually in the Gundersen Health Foundation’s online Steppin’ Out in Pink walk Saturday, Sept. 12. The band also will host its Band Day with area high school bands virtually Saturday, Sept. 19.
What’s more, the band hopes to post performances on YouTube and possibly perform on Facebook Live.
The 165-member band, which is open to students at UWL, Viterbo University and Western Technical College regardless of major or academic focus, initially is restricted to playing in groups of 50 or less.
The group will take all COVID-19 safety precautions that health officials and professional organizations recommend, said band director Tammy Fisher.
The band’s modified camp will take place over 3.5 days, from Sept. 2-5, instead of the usual 10 days, she said.
The full band will step out during two sessions Friday and one on Saturday — except these will be instances in which being out of close step will be a healthy alternative to immediate synchronization.
Noting that the band will be physically distanced when playing in unison, Fisher said, “We’ll be spread out in pods of 50.”
Fisher, who also is an associate music professor, expressed hope that the band eventually will be able to perform with its normal spacing sometime this school year.
“We’re just doing the best we can at this point,” Fisher said. “Students are excited to have the opportunity.”