We all know that the past year and a half has been a rollercoaster of uncertainty and stress, but music has let us connect virtually due to the restriction of in-person performances. Last year, the E.O. Smith’s band and orchestra held all their performances as virtual recordings. However, as we slowly make our way out of last year, new opportunities arise.
As of this October, it was decided that the band will hold their first in-person performance in the gym. This is due to the limited space for social distancing in the auditorium. “So for this year, things are a little up in the air at the moment as we are still keeping a close eye on the pandemic,” said Mr. Pandolfe, the E.O. band teacher, who provided an update on opportunities for this year. “We are keeping several options open for different performance modalities including options to do a live recording, live stream, or live performance (with a limited audience). We will still plan to do Eastern Regionals and New England Music Festival. There are other dates that we discussed for the spring but have not yet confirmed the dates.”
The band and orchestra held their first performances on November 18th, two days after the choir held their first. Future dates are tentative at best and will likely change. Mrs. Webster, the orchestra teacher, also gives more information about this year: “The orchestra is very fortunate that Covid-19 restrictions have not affected our performing ability. Since we don’t expel air from our mouths to create sound like singers or wind players, our day-to-day rehearsals and performing haven’t changed much; the only difference is that the musicians are wearing masks.” Still, challenges exist, she said: “When their conductor is wearing a mask, it can be a little more difficult for musicians to read directions. A musical conductor conveys musical direction and expression not just through their gestures, but through their facial expressions as well. The mask can cover a lot of emotion that a conductor may be showing their ensemble.”
It will be challenging to schedule confirmed dates for in-person performances because of the uncertainties of social distancing, masks, and audience restrictions. However, more opportunities such as music festivals and UCONN performances are, as of now, open to the public.