COVID-19 has musicians in love spirits, but high hopes
From Mozart to Beyonce, music has been a powerful industry for generations. Unfortunately, with COVID-19 on the rise, the lack of participants signing up for music classes is at an exponential decline.
“Singing [in groups] is one of the worst things to do during COVID,” said Anthony Maiese, choir teacher at ELHS. Mr. Maiese explains how singing is high up on the list of “what not to do” in the COVID era. Through
deep breaths and having to project voices, there is just no way for singers to fully express their music safely. “In order to do it right, it’s dangerous,” said Mr. Maiese.
The choir class has experienced many hardships during this time, including only being able to sing for 30 minutes per class and having to stand 12 feet apart in the auditorium. “It’s awkward. It’s weird. But, especially in these times, hopefully people will have a new appreciation for their music,” said Mr. Maiese. Not only is the choir facing struggles, but the band and orchestra is as well. Grace Barnhart, a senior in marching band said the new year has impacted the sense of camaraderie in marching band. “With the cohorts, it’s kind of tough to feel connected. We don’t see them anymore,” said Barnhart. Barnhart has been playing the trumpet for the past eight years and has enjoyed every moment of it. She and the band are greatly disappointed to see their playing time go from 75 minutes to 30, if they’re lucky.
The band students have special masks with flaps for their instruments, so they can play safely. Along with the masks, the instruments with bells, such as the trumpet, have coverings to help decrease the air escaping the instrument. “They’ve done the best they can with the resources we have,” said senior Ashwini Sahasrabudhe, a cellist in the orchestra. Sahasrabudhe loves playing together as an ensemble to hear the sweet melodies, but when her orchestra has only six players, it sounds more like a casual chamber group than a symphony. Students and teachers alike are concerned for the future of music, but the band is keeping their hopes high.
“This year the band is bigger than it has been in the past four years,” said Angelica Fadrowski, the band teacher at ELHS. Sign- ups in the band have been increasing in contrast to the other ensembles. “It is one of those things where we have to go above and beyond for recruitment, though,” said Ms. Fadrowski. “I try to be as positive as I can.” Ms. Fadrowski runs the TRI-M Music Honors Society at ELHS where she advocates recruitment, especially for grades eight and nine, where ideas of how to get more students involved in music around the community are shared.
“Don’t give up on music,” said Mr. Maiese. He is worried that students, especially ones new to music, will think this year is how music class usually looks, which is not at all ideal. However, COVID-19 has brought musicians closer in so many different ways: reducing stress during this time, having virtual concerts, outdoor chamber ensembles, and a newfound appreciation for music.
“Music is bringing people together when they couldn’t be together,” said Sahasrabudhe.