Covid Affects Arts Classes
Updated: Nov 24, 2020
By Caroline Horne--Eagle Assistant Editor
Last February, hearing a choral group practice together while walking through the halls of Tech B, unmasked, would not have been anything out of the ordinary.
Visiting the band room would have entailed lots of visible smiling faces, instruments everywhere, and music filling the air.
Last spring, while teachers and students were leaving the building, they'd notice a musical cast, or the One Act team rehearsing lines in the auditorium.
But to many, last February seems like light years ago.
“I always thought my senior year would consist of me being with my friends and doing what I love for one last time, but with this delay on the season, it has changed my entire outlook. I can’t really predict how the future will turn out,” said Ally Bryant, a senior and drum major for the Screaming Eagles Marching Band.
This year, all fall sports have been postponed until February. As marching band is part of the fall sports line-up and COVID-19 restrictions have minimized in-person practices, the normal autumnal rush of band camps and Friday night lights has been postponed, as well.
“That sense of being a part of something larger than yourself has been diminished, and things that we took for granted and were simple are now complicated,” Rocky Ankeny, band director, explained. “Everyone understands that it is for the safety of all involved, but we really do miss being together as a big family.”
According to Ankeny, in-classroom students are able to play their instruments with bell covers and ten feet of social distancing, to reduce the risk of spreading disease. However, band is not the only program affected by the restrictions.
“There is very little singing happening in (choir) class and students are doing a majority of their singing at home. With so many students opting for virtual instruction, they must sing at home, but even the students coming into class do their singing assignments at home,” said Laura Bacigalupo, choir director.
Singing in the classroom has not been reintroduced on campus because of the increased production of respiratory droplets when singing, which may contribute to the spread of COVID-19. But through the eyes of Eliza Quesenberry, senior, different does not have to mean worse.
“Choir has been a safe haven for me to grow as a musician in a fostering environment,” Quesenberry says. “I’ve made friends in choir that have influenced me artistically, and choir has shown me a new direction that I can take in my future.”
Not only have COVID-19 restrictions and plans had an impact on the choir and band programs, they have also changed the theater program.
“I was really looking forward to seeing my theater friends and going to competitions and hanging out with them one last time before graduating. The program has meant a lot to me because I've always loved theater,” Jackson Nicholson, a senior on the One Act team said.
Underclassmen and upperclassmen alike mourn the loss of their 2020 One Act season.
“Competition was one of my favorite things about One Act last year. We truly became a family in that Auditorium, and I highly doubt competition would be feasible this year,” sophomore Heidi Eames said.
Even the Art Department has had to make unprecedented changes amidst the pandemic.
“We normally have ‘class’ supplies for students to use to produce their artwork. So, projects are limited to smaller pieces in their sketchbooks that the student can make with sometimes very limited supplies at home,” said Lori Law, an art teacher.
According to Law, it’s more challenging to grade students on quality of composition, and it’s less feasible for them to complete larger, more challenging projects with the resources found at home.
“We have had to move toward an art appreciation approach as opposed to a hands-on creating approach,” Law says.
Twenty-twenty has brought a multitude of changes to the high school experience, but many have resolved that the unshakable local passion for performing music and participating in the arts is one thing that will not change.
“Like everything else in the world these days, we have to take a different approach so that we can prioritize safety, but different doesn't have to always mean worse--we just have to make the best of it and remember that this is temporary,” Bacigalupo said.