Band, Choir Make Adjustments

Due to the pandemic, performances for band and choir are much different this year.

Madison Alaniz , Staff Writer

From the looks of it, this year’s performances for band and choir might look a little different. Instead of traditional performances, the groups may have to perform virtually. 

Head Band Director Jacob Bubb said, ¨Like everything, it will be different. As a band, we have had to do a lot of reimagining of what instrumental music looks like this year. We are still committed to providing meaningful performances for band members and their families. For the band, the payoff for all the hard work is performing, so we are working to make it happen.”

For every activity, they’re all hoping they at least get a few games or performances in. While the band has not been able to compete in any competitions, they have performed during home football games. 

Bubb said, ¨The most important thing to me is safety, but I think, like most folks, in person learning is more effective for me. Virtual class is tough. One of the best parts about being in a band is being around your friends and playing music as an ensemble. We can somewhat simulate that virtually, but there is no real replacement for in person rehearsals with an ensemble.”

Choir has also had several obstacles. 

 Choir Director Michael Sellman said, “With our performances being an indoor activity, it puts us at a higher risk category. Virtual concerts aren’t really a viable option for us. There are lots of videos of ‘virtual choirs’ and they are fantastic. Unfortunately, what those videos don’t show are the thousands of dollars worth of audio visual equipment and the time and skill required to edit and mix the singers’ recordings. The kids are certainly capable of performing their music individually, but there are so many technological limitations and compatibility issues to consider.” 

It is very hard for the students to get used to virtual performances and practicing at home without a director. For some students, it has really been a challenge for them.

Bubb said, ¨In honesty, preparing and performing virtual performances are a lot more work for the students. Getting everything to line up requires everybody to play through their part perfectly, which is much more challenging when you don’t have others around you playing the same music as you. I think if the students were forced to perform virtually, they would rise to that challenge, but I think everyone is hoping to be able to perform in person – even with modifications.” 

Sellman understands the limitations of performing this year. 

Sellman said, ¨The kids are certainly capable of performing their music individually, but there are so many technological limitations and compatibility issues to consider. As for a live-streamed concert, where students are physically with each other, we would encounter problems with performing safely. Singing in masks is certainly better than not singing at all, but it severely changes our sound. In short, it’s ok for an educational setting but it’s awful for a performance setting. The studies I’ve read have all suggested that singing is a safe activity but only when a mask is worn.”