On August 12, Choral Director, Dr. Ianthe Marini announced new choir operations in ordinance with physical distance protocols. The Schwob Singers have moved from their regular rehearsal space to performance venue, Legacy Hall, as well as implemented staggered entry and the newly-commonplace distanced seating. However, the choir faces challenges as in-person practice is no longer allowed.
This decision was reached as a result of increased concerns regarding aerosol emissions through singing. The Saber spoke with returning students about these changes.
Some were disappointed that they would not be able to work as a group just yet. Though, they were not shocked by the announcement and believed that the choice not to sing together was ultimately a fair decision.
Emily Earnest, a Music Education major said, “Inevitably, I am disappointed that it is not yet safe to join together and sing. However, due to the circumstances, I was not shocked, and I believe that this choice to work on music remotely is very wise.”
Some students said they would miss being in rehearsal because the sense of community in choir is such a different experience from solo work.
Overall, however, student responses indicated that they trusted the Schwob in caring for their safety, and that they were glad they had options with public health in mind as opposed to outright canceling.
Chris Graham, another music student, felt that “a lot of the fine arts professors, such as the ones at Schwob, understand the danger of the current pandemic well,” and he was confident they would return to campus safely.
When asked how they might adapt to learning choral repertoire remotely, most believed that, though in person instruction is the most beneficial, the changes are necessary sacrifices.
Returning Junior, Cassidi Jackson, said, “Because we were thrown into quarantine in the middle of last semester, adjusting to practicing remotely won’t be as hard this semester. Obviously, we all miss being in rehearsal together.
“There’s nothing greater than the physical presence of your peers standing next to you,” said Jackson. “For me, it’s easy to adapt to remote practicing, but nothing will ever compare to rehearsing together with my friends.”
As for class itself, instead of rehearsing, students will participate in score study and musical analysis in order to deepen the time spent with their pieces. Moreover, students are excited for the day it is finally safe to share with one another again.
In preparation for the upcoming semester, Dr. Marini expressed the following: “My extraordinary gratitude goes to the choral students of the Schwob who are approaching this semester with a mature and positive outlook, and with the grace and compassion of seasoned professionals. I could not be prouder.”