FAYETTEVILLE — The College of Arkansas males’s and ladies’s basketball groups have been capable of play in Walton Enviornment this season.
The Hogwild Band has not.
Due to coronavirus security protocols set forth by the SEC’s medical job power, the one members of the Hogwild Band to play at video games are 4 rotating drummers — David Brill, Jase Cornett, James Crane and Nicholas Soderquist — together with Ethan Peters on bass guitar.
The opposite band members need to put on masks and can’t play their brass devices.
Nonetheless, the Hogwild Band has been in its regular spot within the area at each recreation, although restricted to 32 on a rotating foundation from its complete of greater than 100.
“It’s undoubtedly disappointing not to have the ability to play, as a result of that’s what we’re used to doing, what we’re purported to be doing,” stated Maria Tackett, a junior from Skiatook, Okla., who performs the trombone. “After we came upon we couldn’t play on the video games, we thought, ‘What can we do to make up for that?’”
The band members, who put on matching pink Razorback shirts, keep concerned on the video games with a routine of dances and chants they carry out to music they usually would play, such because the Arkansas battle music “It’s Arduous to be Humble” and the “William Inform Overture”. Recordings of the songs are performed over the sector’s sound system.
“We’ve collectively choreographed the dance strikes,” Tackett stated. “We’re not dancers, nevertheless it’s enjoyable.
“With crowds being smaller, I really feel just like the Hogwild Band must make up for that noise, so we attempt to be as loud as attainable. After I watch our highway video games on TV, I don’t hear something. Nobody’s cheering, there’s no music. We’re loud and I really feel like we actually get into the video games at dwelling.”
The band’s efforts at maintaining enthusiasm among the many crowd — capped round 4,000 per recreation this season — should assist based mostly on the boys’s and ladies’s groups data in Walton Enviornment.
Arkansas’ No. 13 girls’s crew completed 12-1 at dwelling, together with victories over No. 1 Connecticut and No. 6 Baylor. The one loss was to No. 2 Texas A&M 74-73.
The Razorbacks’ No. 12 males’s crew is 15-1 at dwelling going into in the present day’s regular-season finale in opposition to Texas A&M, together with an 81-66 victory over No. 8 Alabama. The Razorbacks’ solely dwelling loss was 81-68 to Missouri, ranked No. 12 on the time.
“I feel Bud Walton has one of the best pandemic crowd within the historical past of pandemics,” Arkansas males’s Coach Eric Musselman stated. “I’ve solely been part of this one, however our crowds have been nice.
“We really feel it. We feed off their power.”
Musselman stated he’s grateful for the Hogwild Band members serving to Arkansas preserve a home-court benefit, although they’ll’t play their devices.
“It’s like us going on the market with no basketball, however we love that they’re nonetheless on the video games,” Musselman stated. “We couldn’t respect it extra. It’s nonetheless a university basketball surroundings in the midst of a pandemic — and we’re doing it safely.”
Jeff Summers, an teacher within the Arkansas music division, is in his first yr as Hogwild Band director after ending his doctorate on the College of Miami. He stated although the band isn’t allowed to play at video games, it nonetheless is a optimistic expertise.
“For a number of the youngsters, it could be the one in-person factor that they’ve in any respect, so it’s a social outlet for them,” he stated. “With the ability to be round different folks helps give them power and excites them.
“It helps that our basketball groups are actually good, too.”
Earlier than the season, Musselman despatched a textual content message to Summers that was forwarded to the band.
“Hogwild Band, even should you can’t play your devices, we nonetheless want you,” Musselman stated, fists clenched whereas sitting in his workplace carrying an Arkansas uniform. “Deliver that power and enthusiasm. See you at Bud Walton.”
The message resonated with band members.
“I received an enormous kick out of that,” stated Mason Thomas, a junior baritone participant from Glenwood. “I assumed it was a extremely variety gesture to have the top coach of the basketball crew attain out to us as band members and categorical his assist for us and what we do on the video games.
“It made me actually completely happy and inspired me to proceed being a part of the band.”
Tackett stated Musselman’s message was appreciated.
“We’re Hogwild Band members, however we’re additionally actually huge followers of the basketball gamers and Coach Muss,” she stated. “So it was so nice that he considered us. You may inform what he stated was heartfelt.”
Together with chants and dances, the Hogwild Band additionally enjoys heckling opposing gamers.
“I noticed on Twitter that somebody stated we’re one of the best hecklers within the SEC,” Tackett stated.
Summers, who performed within the College of Texas band, stated he’s been impressed by the Walton Enviornment ambiance.
“For 4,000 folks, once they get into it, it’s fairly electrical,” Summers stated. “There’s a bit twinge of frustration like, ‘Man, if solely we might have 19,000 folks right here, how significantly better wouldn’t it be?’”
After victories, Musselman comes over to the coed part and the band — protecting a secure distance — and calls the Hogs with them.
“I feel Coach Musselman may be very real in his actions and really uplifting,” Thomas stated. “To see him come over to the coed part and the band and hype us up after an enormous win, which means loads to us.”
Thomas stated he’s hopeful the pandemic will probably be beneath management subsequent season to the purpose the Hogwild Band can play at video games.
“I attempt to look on the brilliant aspect, and I feel we’re trending in a great route,” Thomas stated. “I’m actually hopeful by subsequent season the science will assist us having the ability to play once more.”