COVID-19 restrictions move band and choir outside

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Mattie Boelkens, Reporter/Photographer

Due to COVID-19 and the regulations that the schools of MH have to follow, our band and most of our choir programs are having to practice outside in order to take off their masks. They decided to do this by spreading out 12 feet apart. Students and staff reflect on how these changes are impacting rehearsals.

Mrs. Hopper, Choir Director

The acoustics are just terrible outside and so you can be 6 feet apart and barely be able to hear the person singing next to you.”

— Mrs. Hopper

“Well, it’s definitely a challenge because even when we’re outside, unless we’re 12 feet apart we have to sing in masks. We have to worry about the masks muffling the sound,” said, Mrs. Hopper. “And also when we’re outside it’s just dead there’s no acoustic. The acoustics are just terrible outside and so you can be 6 feet apart and barely be able to hear the person singing next to you. In choir, you rely so much on being able to hear the people around you and being able to blend with the people around you so that’s definitely been a challenge.”

“So for choir and band we basically have the same guidelines, we have to stand 6 feet apart in masks to sing if they’re inside. If we go 12 feet apart outside we can take our masks off to sing. We can’t stay indoors without masks. And then if we sing inside spaced out, we only sing for 30 minutes and then we have to go outside or vacate the room for 20 minutes to let it air out. I think that’s all our precautions.”

“My smallest group, which is the regular chorus, only has 14 singers so we’re able to stay inside. My larger group has 40 singers in it and they have to go outside just about every rehearsal.”

“We’re outside every 3rd block, you can almost guarantee that will be outside. If I’m at the junior high which is on B days the junior high is outside every first and second block so basically first through third we’re outside” Hopper stated.

Zoey Croom, Section Leader

“It’s harder to hear everyone around you so it’s harder to blend. We have to keep masks on unless we are more than 6 feet apart and it gets harder to hear people around you so it’s harder to blend outside. I think it’s easier to sing inside unless you’re in that little halfway that echoes cause it sounds really pretty” says Zoey Croom.

“I feel like it’d be easier if one section could sing at a time in the classroom and everyone else goes outside. They could be working on their music outside but one group working with Mrs. Hopper on the piano to make sure they have their notes.  Then when we sing together outside so it’s more spaced out because it’s harder to be standing in the choir room altogether.”

“The directors only really teach inside, because as a section leader you learn your music before the class. We have a sheet so we know what we need to teach everybody and then we teach it to them. In a way, it’s harder for them (the directors) to deal with everything because they don’t know who’s gone virtual and who hasn’t.”

“With the masks on it’s muffled and if you’re farther apart you can take them off so you can breathe, but it’s harder to hear the section. I can’t sing with the mask because I breathe in a lot of air and then the mask gets pulled in and it’s harder for me to catch my breath. As section leader, it’s just very different than last year and we haven’t really gotten adapted to it very well yet but we’re getting used to it.”

Haylee Johnson, Section Leader

“Hard to say. In some ways it’s better in some ways it’s worse. It’s better because we can spread out and kind of bond as a section but it’s worse because it’s really hot outside,” says Haylee Johnson.

“I think that for the way things are, how’s it going is probably the best way we can find. Some rehearsals are outside so and the variety is nice. I think it’s harder on everyone just because nobody really knows what to do, so we’re just kind of trying to go day-by-day and figure out what works best for everybody. Well, it’s harder because of the masks. I can’t show people the way that I normally would sing something and also trying to understand each other is hard. Especially because we have to spread out 6 to 12 ft and so we can’t really hear each other,” Johnson says.

Gabrielle Moreno and Logan Ballard, Band

“It’s typically the same we just have to keep our masks on if we’re not playing or anything like that, but we’re used to practicing outside. We aren’t able to practice as long inside as much as we usually do and we have to wear special masks to play. Overall, kinda just limits the playing,” says Gabrielle Moreno.

“Some days it’s pretty hot out here rather than being inside with the air conditioning so that kinda takes a toll on your body just being outside in the heat for like an hour, hour and a half every day. The musician’s mask we have to wear and we have to play through just makes it difficult when you’re trying to breathe. Especially when you’re playing long pieces of music,” says, Logan Ballard.