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New column debuts in e-Report today: Take "A moment with ... "

11/17/2011

Kent Covert and his trombone
"A moment with ..." is a new Q-and-A column featuring Miami employees.

Today, take "A moment with ... Kent Covert."

If you tune into the Macy's Thanksgiving Day Parade next week, you just might catch a glimpse of Kent Covert running alongside Miami University's marching band. Covert, assistant director of application services for IT Services, is also the assistant director of the marching band. Covert (Miami ’90) talks about his 26-year affiliation with the band.

Q: When did you become involved in Miami’s marching band?
A: I’ve been assistant director for the last 14 years, but I’ve been with them for a total of 26 years. I played the trombone in the band while I was an undergraduate student at Miami, and began volunteering with the band after I graduated and became a full-time employee with IT Services.

Q: What is your role with the band?
A: I don’t do much work on the field. I handle many of the behind-the-scenes logistics and much of the administration work, such as finances and planning. The director, Stephen Lytle, and others do more of the creative and music work. Although, I still play my trombone at basketball and hockey games as part of the pep band.

Q: What kept you working with the band all these years?
A: I really enjoy it. It allows me to connect with the students. This definitely helps me with my job in IT Services. I don’t get to interact with students much in my job in IT Services. But in interacting with the students, I see how students react to what we are doing in IT. I learn about things we need to correct or improve on our end. Students are our business. In addition, I feel that working with the marching band is my small way of contributing back to the university in ways that I can’t with my normal job.

Q: Explain your role in IT Services.
A: I manage the majority of our programmers in IT Services. We work with myMiami, Niihka, Banner, and many of the applications at Miami. I’ve been with IT since 1991. My supervisors over the years have been very good allowing me to work with the band. My hours are 7 a.m. – 4 p.m., and then from 4 p.m. – 6 p.m., I work with the band—sometimes later. It does take a lot of time, and I use up some of my vacation as well.

Q: Miami's marching band performed in the 2003 Macy's parade. Did you go?
A: Yes. It was wonderful! The thing that amazes you is the sheer number of the people at the parade. The number of Miami fans who were at the parade amazed me: Parents holding up signs, etc. It was nice to see so many people associated with Miami. This trip the band will be seeing a Radio City Music Hall Rockettes show and take a dinner cruise. We have more than 100 parents going with us.

Q: What’s the most difficult task the students have to master to get ready for the parade?
A: The biggest piece of the parade is the performance at Herald Square. We perform two-three minutes and, because we are the “Santa Band,” we are the culminating performance of the parade, the last performance, and responsible for introducing Santa. It is very important. It also is a very small space for 250 plus band members to perform. We are used to having a very large football field with markers. There are very few visual cues on Herald Square. It makes it very interesting. Our students are ready though. They are excited.

Do you know a Miami employee with a story? Send your suggestions to e-report@muohio.edu

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Kent Covert, bottom right, of It Services is also assistant director of Miami's marching band.

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