By ALVIN WU ‘24
The COVID-19 pandemic has changed numerous traditions, but it has not been able to deprive Edison High of music. Though rehearsals are not quite the same as before, music directors and students have adapted to continue practicing and performing while staying safe.
The band currently has 81 people, which is down from 102 musicians last year, both due to reduced recruiting in middle schools and unease with in-person rehearsals. Despite these challenges, the band began rehearsing in mid-July and practiced on the football field by late August. As marching band members have to be spaced out 7 ½ feet to maintain formations, the band was easily able to comply with social distancing regulations. Of course, all students are required to wear masks, fill out a questionnaire certifying they do not have specific symptoms, and have their temperature checked.
Despite the pandemic the band has, fortunately, been able to operate fairly close to normalcy and perform at all Edison High home football games. They also participated in competitions by filming videos to be sent to judges at recording sessions that were open to audience members.
“It’s nice to be able to have something close to normal. As far as marching band goes, it’s not too far off,” Band Director Mr. Marc Denicuolo commented. The band was even able to hold shows at their normal length, retain the difficulty of their music, and entertain with a high-quality performance.
The Edison High School choir, with 110 members, has faced unique challenges during this pandemic. Students rehearse every day online using Zoom, but due to lagging in the platform, they can only sing individually while muted on the call. As a result, Zoom is not a viable substitute for in-person choir rehearsals. However, as Choral Director Mr. Kenneth Brown said, “Singing is an activity that can easily become a superspreader event if you’re not cautious.”
In order to ensure everyone’s safety, the choir has numerous protocols to follow in order to be able to rehearse in-person. Brown hopes to have choir students on the football field, socially distanced and wearing masks, as being outside will allow respiratory droplets to dissipate, reducing risk, while retaining the music experience.
Still, the choir cannot host a winter concert this year as it is naturally an indoor event. Brown hopes to have an outside concert in the spring on the football field, with careful observance of safety regulations such as social distancing. Recognizing that some parents will be reluctant to allow their children to participate in-person, the school will determine the safety of hosting the concert when the time comes.
Brown points out that we “have to take this environment seriously until there’s a cure or until there are therapeutics or until there’s a vaccine. We have to realize this virus is still spreading and it is very, very contagious.”