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Update as of April 14, 2020

Dear Members of the U of M Alumni Summer Band and UMBAS,

I hope this finds you well as we all navigate through these unprecedented times together. I hope everyone is staying safe, keeping healthy, and practicing social distancing. 

The purpose of this message is to update the status of the University of Minnesota Alumni Summer Band. If you haven't heard, I was honored to be chosen as the director of this ensemble during the offseason and have been planning and preparing for this summer. Since September 2019, I have been in discussion with Brett Benson, Joe DeLisi, Professor Betsy McCann, and board members of UMBAS (University of Minnesota Band Alumni Society) to ensure a smooth transition of leadership that will positively impact the ensemble. I can assure you that I have been looking forward to directing this ensemble since last July, when I had the pleasure to conduct a rehearsal with you all. As of the end of this February, we had five performances already scheduled for this summer, and the repertoire was very close to being finalized until the COVID-19 outbreak started wreaking havoc on our everyday lives. With that said, these are the following updates as of Tuesday April 14, 2020.

Professor Betsy McCann notified me that the University of Minnesota will be officially moving all in-person classes, seminars, and events to online formats for the summer. This means that the MRH in TCF Bank Stadium will NOT be available to use as a rehearsal space. We, along with the UMBAS board, discussed other options for a rehearsal space. However, we decided that it would be in everyone’s best interest that we cancel the 2020 season for the U of M Alumni Summer Band. 

I know this comes as very disappointing news, but we want to ensure the health and safety of our alumni, friends, family, and community partners. I can assure you that no stone was left unturned when it came to formulating alternative plans. In the end, if it is unsafe and unfit to rehearse on a university campus, it is unsafe and unfit to rehearse anywhere else. As Governor Tim Walz has recently mentioned, there is evidence that social distancing is working with regards to a mitigation strategy. Let us continue this so we can get back to making music as soon as possible! 

Regardless of this news, I can fully guarantee my commitment to continuing the great legacy and tradition of this ensemble. I look forward to making music with you all as soon as it is deemed safe again. With that being said, I am excited to announce that we are working on an alternative option for individuals to participate in a summer band related event via a virtual video project. These are unprecedented times but we do have technology available to salvage this summer season as much as possible. Once we have more details and information we will let you know how you can participate. 

In the meantime, take care of yourself, family, friends, and each other. I am proud to call myself a Gopher alum, and one thing that is certain is that Gophers come together during difficult times. If you have any questions or concerns, I would be happy to answer them. Please email for any questions regarding summer band.

Ski-U-Mah and Go Gophers,

Roy Pienaar

Director, University of Minnesota Alumni Summer Band

Summer Band: Text
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