By Julia Duggan
Two months ago, the College’s Mayo Concert Hall was filled with an audience listening to students perform a variety of musical instruments and songs.
Today, it’s empty and silent.
After President Kathryn Foster announced in March that classes would be taught online for the rest of the semester due to the pandemic, all on-campus events were cancelled, including concerts that many music students have been preparing to perform at for months.
“I was not surprised that the concerts were cancelled,” said Shrish Jawadiwar, a junior music and political science double major. “But I was (heartbroken) to know that I would not be performing at all this semester, especially since this would have been my last time performing with the senior class of 2020.”
Throughout the year, music students take a variety of classes that teach them various styles of music, such as jazz and classical. The students are then required to show their understanding of the material by performing a concert.
Other concerts that were cancelled include any Concert Band, Wind Ensemble, Orchestra, Jazz Band Choir, Corrale, Collegium, quintets, quartets and all studio ensemble performances.
“All events that I would have participated and performed in were events I was immensely looking forward to,” said Nick Napier, a sophomore music education major. “I am hoping to return to campus soon, to reunite with friends and colleagues and make up these concerts.”
Perhaps the most impacted among the cancellations are the Senior Recitals, which are a series of concerts each music education and performance student must do before graduation. However, the concerts are optional for other music majors and minors.
Normally, the Senior Recitals happen throughout March and April, but only four seniors were able to perform this semester before the pandemic caused the College to cancel all events. Now, the music department is working individually with every senior whose recital was canceled.
“I am really proud of how we handled it especially as music majors,” said Meghanne McBride, a senior music and Japanese language and culture double major. “It is really hard to suddenly just drop everything like this. I think it is safest for everybody, and it is morally the best decision to not have concerts like this until we have more safety.”
But not all hope is lost for the music students, as they’re still busy performing online.
On April 16, the School of Arts and Communication posted a YouTube video of several student vocalists and members from Concert Band and Wind Ensemble performing the College’s Alma Mater, which was written by Franklin Grapel ’33. Each performer recorded themselves playing or singing the song from their homes, which Eric Laprade, an assistant professor of music, then edited together.
Ryan Haupt, a sophomore music education major, edited a video of the Pep Band performing the College’s “Victory March” that he posted on social media for everyone at the College to enjoy.
“I’m glad that through this period of uncertainty and chaos, we are able to still come together and make music, albeit virtually,” Haupt said. “Music has always been a source of comfort for me and the Pep Band, and I’m glad we can still make it.”
Even while in self-isolation, students continue to practice at home in anticipation for when they can someday meet in person and play together.
“Make sure you keep your skills up, because the first rehearsal we’re going to have back together as an ensemble is going to be really special, and it’s going to feel so much more natural than everything with the new performances,” Haupt said.